Reader Contributions: Four Steam Photos

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Some steam photos capture the power of old engines, and some capture their vulnerability. Like this one, of a Harrison 'Jumbo' engine that fell through a bridge.
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A Huber engine, with a left-hand belt pulley, and her hardy work crew.
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A spring front axle M. Rumely steam engine set up in the woods as a sawmill.
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More portable sawmill work for a spring front axle M. Rumely steam engine.

Reliable friend Larry Creed of Brazil, Indiana has sent us more photos and this: ‘Many thanks are due Gary Yaeger, Cornelius Paulus, Eldon Held, Richard Countryman, and John Hooper for the great old photographs they send IMA. Scott Holp put together an especially nice article for the Darke County Steam Threshers show. I have picked out some of my old steam photos I think you will enjoy.

‘Previously I sent you a photograph of an Advance engine, which fell through a bridge. Photograph #1 in this set is of a Harrison ‘Jumbo’ engine that fell through a bridge. The engine is an ‘old style’ Jumbo 14 or 16 HP, which has the belt pulley on the left side. The steep angle of the bridge floor behind the engine indicates that ‘Old Jumbo’ and the bridge fell several feet. The front and back wheels are chained to prevent the engine from sliding off the bridge into a considerable pool of water. The engine is drained, as a handhole plate is lying in front of the rear wheel. The only damage that can be seen is the smoke stack base, broken where the stack bolts on. The stack was cast iron and I doubt that it fared well on the trip down. Anyone surviving an accident such as this without a major injury is certainly lucky. I am sure this would be a ticklish day’s work getting the engine back up on the road.

‘The second photograph is of an ‘old style’ Huber, with a left-hand belt pulley. The engine is being fired up and appears to be sitting in a barnyard. The engine has rolled-up canvas hanging from the canopy to protect it from winter weather. The crew looks to be a hardy crew of men. As my friend Chady Atteberry would say, ‘Not a tee shirt, pair of shorts, nor a tennis shoe among them.’ It does not make much sense to spend countless hours and considerable expense to restore an engine to original condition, then dress like we’re going to a family picnic when we operate it at a show.

‘The third photograph is of an old spring front axle M. Rumely steam engine. The mill is set up in the woods, as you notice a tree on either side of the belt.

‘The fourth photograph is of the same engine with the sawmill at a different location. They are sawing some good-sized logs that would have made the Rumely ‘talk.’ Notice that in both pictures the engineer is leaning against a front wheel with one leg crossed in front of the other. Lyle Hoffmaster, who has an affection (or affliction) for steam engines built in Indiana starting with the letter ‘R,’ once said he thought the old spring front axle Rumely engines were probably as good an engine as could be obtained at the time.

‘One last thought I would like to share: on Labor Day weekend there are many good shows to go see. A fine show is the Rock River Thresheree held at Edgerton, Wisconsin. This is a very active show and the addition of the J. I. Case Heritage Foundation Annual Exposition should make it even better. The show has a steam-driven pile driver that is operated continuously, and a great flea market.’ FC

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
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