STORIES FROM STEAM MEN

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Pictured is a Russell Engine, No. 12990, owned by the Fish burn brothers of Mexico, Indiana.
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This is a picture of a little 16 HP Port Huron Wolf Compound that I own. She has everything in accessories that the later models possessed such as remote governor control and blower control both at the engineers position. All gearing is remarkably square

18 W. Wash. St., Newnan, Ga.

Another large mill had Uncle Luke as their engineer. A good man
and mechanic but he liked to bird hunt and would slip off for a few
hours and shoot partridges during work hours. While he was away one
day the main bearing on the engine ran hot and caused the mill to
be shut down several hours so that was the last of Uncle Luke’s
steam days.

The city of Manchester has a Erie Bell engine that would not run
right with a load so the new night man decided to fix it and did a
good job after writing to the factory and getting the
specifications on that engine. Well, he did a good job and the
general supt. said, ‘I don’t understand, Mr. Jones is a
good engineer and he never could make the engine perform like you
have, what in the world did you do to it.’ Uncle Frank
answered, ‘He is a good man but not a good engineer.’ The
same was in every line of work, everyone took pride in their work
and tried to improve their craftsmanship on every job even if he
had to stay around on his own time for hours to watch a factory man
do a certain job so he could do it next time himself.

My dad tells of moving a small Watertown portable with mules and
somehow the 1 inch blow off valve was knocked off when the rig
straddled a stump. The boiler had may be 25 or 30 pounds of steam
still showing from the last place they had threshed. This threw the
hot water and steam on the mules and caused them to run away and
all that saved the day they got off the road in soft ground and
almost stuck the thing slowing it down so they could handle the
mules.

I almost forgot about Old Man Burnside who ran a large engine at
this large planning mill that bought lumber from the 5 surrounding
counties. The saw millers would haul in their lumber goods on
mostly Model T Ford trucks. They all knew about the profitable side
line of hauling whiskey and lots of them did, so the planning mill
boys never ran dry if they had a dollar for a gallon.

Well, Old Uncle Sid Burnside and his darkey helper was suppose
to take out the top row of 4′ flues in the boiler one week-end
and roll in new ones. The Monday morning shift found Uncle Sid and
the colored man still drunk, the old tubes laying all around and a
5 gallon jug with about 2 gallons of the best peach brandy you ever
saw sticking out of the shavings near their reach. Things as bad as
this had happened to Old Sid before so he was hired back in a month
or so, so he could pull another good one later.

I hope this will cause some of the old timers to tell us some
good stories that we enjoy in the Iron-Man each month.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment