Steam Cure for Rheumatism

| May/June 1985

  • Tiger

  • Tiger

13324 Balfour Huntington Woods, MI 48070

This is a true account of an unexpected threapeutic remedy for rheumatism.

In mid-July, I was firing the 18 HP Gaar-Scott Steam Engine belted to a Peerless 36 x 56 Separator; the wheat was good yield 25 bushels and with ten wagons and teams hauling grain, the two baggers had a workout because two pitchers on each wagon kept the separator 14 foot feeder full. The Gaar-Scott with 56 two inch fired easily so life was at its fullest pleasure as I savored the recently consumed thresher's dinner. The rural cooperative spirit always prevailed and the farmers' wives competed to provide the most delicious threshers' dinners, trying to outdo each other, to be recognized as the best cook.

Gaar-Scott used this tiger in advertising engines, but the manufacturers probably never imagined their product would be used for curing rheumatism!

On one of my frequent trips to the coal pile, I saw OP Josh leave the farm house a couple hundred yards away, but due to the time elapse, being busy with the steamer, didn't think about him until he appeared from behind the tank wagon a few feet to the side of the steamer. I noted with some sympathy his effort to step over the water hose running between the tank wagon and engine. Not being overjoyed at seeing him approach at this busy time, I mistakenly greeted him, 'How are you, Josh?'. I soon learned my mistake as he stopped to lean on his ornate, heavy brass head cane, panting a bit before starting to expound about his 'rheumatiz'. He worked his way around and parked his rear against the engine deck just to the right of the line to the firebox door. Now, if you have ever fired a hard working steamer, one thing least desirable is someone in the way of access to the firebox and injector valves. The Gaar-Scott had only a tree foot depth deck running across the width of the drivers and, with a tool box and seat on the right end and to the full left a fuel hopper, the in between space to the firebox door was limited. OP Josh realized he was in my way to the firebox, and with that engine working hard, frequent firing with a shovel load of coal was needed. Josh appealed his parking where he was on the basis of his extreme discomfort from the recent walk, so I made the best of it. Josh slanted that big brass head end of his cane up over his shoulder jerking it up and down occasionally to emphasize his plight. One big upward jerk of his cane, and the cure was under way. He struck breaking the water glass.

Now, if you've ever been around a boiler with 165 PSI steam pressure, see and hear two opposing inch diameter openings escaping steam and super heated waterit's something to behold. I became awful busy in a hurry to water soak a burlap bag to protect my hand to shut off the water glass valves and didn't take in the other events. However, Ray Wheeler on top a wagon load of wheat sheaves from his vantage point a hundred feet to the side of the engine, gave this account. He stated, Josh threw his cane up in the air, out of the steam cloud enveloping him, instantly sprinting from the escaping steam at a full run, envy of an Olympic runner, with a mad dash towards the house, vaulting rather than bothering to open the pass gate from the field.


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