Steam Cure for Rheumatism

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13324 Balfour Huntington Woods, MI 48070

This is a true account of an unexpected threapeutic remedy for

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.

We later found Josh’s cane way on the other side of
Ray’s wagon, former position sticking upright in the ground,
heavy brass handle reflecting in the sun. Harry, Josh’s son,
observed the sudden agility Josh exhibited because he had to dodge
him coming over the gate.

Harry said months later, that Josh’s recovery is still
prevailing and he’s now helping with the cow milking and other
farm chores.

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