Steam Engine Line-Up

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Saturday morning steam engine preparation at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.
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Above and right: Matt Birky, Solon, Iowa, operating a 1915 Woods Bros. 20 HP engine owned by Mel and Judy Kerr, Macomb, Ill. Matt was running the Woods on the Baker fan at the 2006 Midwest Old Threshers Reunion.
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Below and right: A 1908 Colean 30 HP, no. 436, steam engine owned by Larry Nelson, Muscatine, Iowa. This Colean is one of five known to exist.
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Right: A 1914 Harrison 20 HP, no. 2165, owned by LeRoy McClure, Colchester, Ill. This Harrison is the only known Jumbo.
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Left, above and right: An 1889 Russell 6 HP. This Russell is owned by Steve Perrenoud, Farley, Iowa. Steve’s sons, 7-year-old Cole (left) and 4-year-old Cassey (right), enjoy cleaning the Russell’s flues.
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Below: A New Huber, also owned by LeRoy McClure (left), receives some fine-tuning by LeRoy and his friends. The New Huber 30 HP, built in 1910, no. 9309, is the only known double-cylinder engine.
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Below right: The New Huber 30 HP.

You could never get tired of hearing about the
Mt. Pleasant (Iowa) Midwest Old Threshers Reunion. A place where
people come not only to see the best in antique machinery, but also
to reunite with old friends, it is an experience that can only be
described as going back in time to the good old farm days.

The 2006 show was my second year at Mt. Pleasant. Coming from a
farm background, I long for those good old farm days: Life just
seemed so much better on the farm. I don’t know how to explain it,
but once you have farming blood in your veins it never leaves.

As for the people at the show, they are great – from the
volunteers, to the exhibitors, to the spectators. It’s like a farm
family. Everyone is helpful, friendly and happy.

This year I made an effort to snap some photos of the steam
engines. When I was growing up we never owned a steam engine. My
dad and grandpa went from horse-drawn implements to gas tractors. I
can remember the old wagons in my grandpa’s barn to this day, and I
can just imagine what they would have done with a monstrous steam

In review of the reunion, lets start with Larry Nelson,
Muscatine, Iowa. He is the proud owner of a 1908 Colean 30 HP, no.
436, steam engine. He actually owns three of the five Coleans known
to exist. Larry’s other two Coleans are an 18 HP and a 25 HP. Kent
Graham, Bennett, Iowa, was operating the Colean during the 2006 Old
Threshers Reunion. Kent began his steam career in 1968 when he
started attending shows with his parents. He has two daughters who
are seriously involved with steam engines. He noted one daughter is
14 years old, which he thinks is great, since he owns three steam
engines himself.

Matt Birky, Solon, Iowa, has been operating steam engines for 20
years. He had the honor of operating Mel and Judy Kerr’s 1915 Woods
Bros. 20 HP engine for the second time.

An 1889 Russell 6 HP kept 7-year-old Cole and 4-year-old Cassey
Perrenoud, Farley, Iowa, pretty busy during the show. Dad, Steve,
stood back and coached the boys while they worked on their Russell.
The boys know it’s dirty work, but someone’s got to do it! Keep up
the good work boys.

Owned by LeRoy McClure, Colchester, Ill., a 1910 New Huber 30
HP, no. 9309, and a 1914 Harrison 20 HP, no. 2165, were a rare
breed. The New Huber is the only known double-cylinder and the
Harrison is the only known Jumbo. LeRoy is one of those dedicated
people; he’s been attending since 1953.

There are so many more steam engines to be seen at Mt. Pleasant:
This glimpse into the past must really be seen to be believed, and
you can experience it over the next Labor Day weekend.

Contact Midwest Old Threshers Reunion, Terry McWilliams,
405 E. Threshers Road, Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641; (319) 385-8937;

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