917 Elm St., Clarkston, Washington 99403
I have taken the Album for about twelve years and enjoy the
threshing stories, especially those from North Dakota. My folks
moved there is the spring of 1905 and homesteaded in Battineau
County, about five miles southwest of the town of Maxbass.
About two years later father bought a second-hand Nichols and
Shepard 18 Horse Return flue engine and a 32×52 Red River special
I was water monkey most of the first fall except about the last
two weeks when I fired with straw.
The next summer we did some summer fallowing. That fall father
tended the separator and I ran the engine.
We threshed by the bushel, 6 cents for oats, 10 for wheat, and
18 for flax. Things went very well that fall. I am not sure, but I
think we had about a 40day run. We usually made four sets on a
quarter section. We would hook the separator to the front of the
engine and run backwards to the next set. Some engineers claimed
they have moved in 12 minutes, but I never could do that well.
Father was very particular. He had to have the separator level side
ways and a little low at the rear end.
The last fall we threshed, near the end of the run, the flank
shaft bracket on the differential side broke. I don’t know what
caused it unless a rock got in the gear.
My uncles had finished their run and father borrowed their
16-horse Huber with the fly wheel on the left side to finish our
run. I had a little trouble lining up at first but soon got used to
The little Huber was easy to keep up steam and had the best
throttle and clutch I had ever used.
That was the last fall father and I threshed. The next fall I
ran a Minneapolis for a man by the name of Chas. Jones for about 20
days, and that was the last of my steam engineering.
The next spring I went to Montana and spent the next 46 years at
the plumbing trade.
This is a picture of a small steam engine. It is not a model. I
did not have a plan at all. The only thing that I did was cut a
piece of cardboard the size of the D valve and one of the steam and
exhaust ports in order to get the length of the valve travel. The
link is similar to the Stephenson using two eccentrics
The boiler is plate. Flue sheets are
3/8‘. 1” water leg. Fire box is
11×13, has 9’ flues, all flat and are stay bolted. It was
tested with 245 lbs. cold water.
I made patterns of the cylinder pillow blocks and fly wheel and
had them cast. It has 2 bore, 3 stroke. The governor I made all
parts from brass and steel. It had ‘ Pemberthy injector. I was
about 4 years building it in my spare time.
I am sure some of the Album readers have seen it at Chris
Busch’s threshing bee at Colton, Washington.
‘Every Man is sure of death and taxes and that he’ll
have to shave when he wakes up in the morning.’