| January/February 1977

Box 241, Bird City, Kansas 67731.

I have been a reader of  I.M.A. Magazine for many years  and when a new issue comes, all other activity ceases until  I have read all of it, including the want ads. Also enjoy the  articles and pictures of the old engines rescued from the junk  piles which will soon be restored to near new condition.

I have a story about a Junker being restored at a time when a good used engine could be bought quite cheap. Better start with the beginning of our threshing business. When I was nearly 19 my brother, S. V., who was 2 years older, and I, bought our first threshing rig. A 16 HP Russell #11182 and an Advance separator. The price was $600.00. It had been badly used but with a lot of work, we had the rig in fair shape and had a well paying run the first year, 1910.

About 1912 we had a blacksmith shop, also a garage in south central Nebraska with the shop fairly well equipped. Sort of a one horse place, the same as most shops at that time. The local Case dealer came in the garage one day and asked if we had a pair of tires that would fit his car. (We were selling a few tires which were not the best grade.) We found the tires and he said he had an 18 HP Gaar-Scott engine northwest of town that he would trade for the tires. We traded and some time later steamed the Russell and pulled our prize to the shop.

We knew that it had been badly wrecked and soon found that the cylinder head was blown out, piston rod broken, cross shaft bent, connecting rod bent and the front end broken, throttle gone and no injectors; also a few minor parts gone. We did not know the cause of the wreck but knowing the reputation of the former owners thought there may have been alcohol involved. They had run it only a few days after buying it from the man who bought it new in the early 1890's. We knew this man and he was a good operator.

We did have some experience working on steamers, but more ambition than know-how.