I am enclosing a photo stat copy of a letter dated October 12, 1907 that I found in the personal effects of my late father. I thought you might find it interesting. The copy isn't too good because the paper was so old it broke into pieces when I unfolded it. To me, there are three interesting items in the letter, i.e., (1) announcing the new steel Case separator; (2) improved steel engine tender and (3)the new 32 h.p. steam engine.
My father brought the first steam traction engine to our part of Texas in the 80's - it was a 12 h.p. Case center crank engine and a wooden Case agitator separator. About the time this letter was written, he purchased a 15 h.p. Case engine with the tender mentioned in the letter. The tender was a round affair holding eight or ten barrels of water and 600 or 800 pounds of coal on top. It was mounted on two wheels similar to separator wheels. Each wheel was on a stub axle to which a steel rod was attached, extending along the side of the firebox of the engine. This was supposed to make the tender follow exactly in the engine tracks and it did - so long as the engine was going forward. But when you started to back up, it was something else. Incidentally, there is a picture of a Case engine with this tender in the T. H. Smith's fine 'Album of Steam Traction Engines'. When I was old enough to start firing the Case (about 1914), I had trouble in trying to set the engine. So I would take off from the separator in a circle and come in facing the separator to avoid trying to back that D- tender. We finally took the tender off and mounted tanks and coal box on the platform. Sometime later Case came out with the contractor's bunkers on their engines. These, in my opinion, were the best bunker arrangements on any of the various makes of steam engines I have handled.
The Case 32 h.p. mentioned, became the famous 110 in the years that followed. We never owned one but they were fine engines.
After the Case 15 h.p., my father had an 18 h.p. tandem compound Advance to a 32 inch Case steel separator and a 22 h.p. simple Advance to a 36 inch Case Steel separator. In the years before World War I, we used to have long runs but after the War the gas tractors began to show up with small separators and cut up the runs. Our last season was in 1925 with our rigs but I continued running an engine as late as 1929. I threshed as far north as Carrington, N. D., several seasons and have handled a number of different makes of engines. They were all good but I am partial to the Advance. It was powerful and easy to handle and keep up.
Every year at Harvest time I long for the smell of coal smoke and hot cylinder oil. I feel a little sorry for those who have never had the experience of threshing with steam. I enjoy every issue of your magazine. It brings back the days of my youth very vividly.
The best of luck to you and may you never cease to print the Iron-Men Album.
E. J. MATHEWS, 1609 Lenox Road N.E., Atlanta, Georgia
J.I.CASE THRESHING MACHINE CO., Home Office & Factory, Racine, Wis., Dallas, Texas, Oct. 12, 1907
G. T. Matthews, Vernon, Texas
The Texas State Fair and Exposition, which opens here October 19th and closes November 3rd, promises to be the best Fair that has ever been held. We hope that you will be here during the Fair, and we believe you will find much to amuse and interest you. We extend to you a very cordial invitation to visit our exhibit while at the Fair; make same your headquarters, have your friends meet you there.
We do not want you to fail to see our new building, which is the ONLY COMPLETE, UP-TO-DATE THRESHING MACHINERY BUILDING IN THE STATE. We are sure you will be interested looking over this building, as it is equipped with all the LATEST AND MOST MODERN DEVICES FOR HANDLING MACHINERY AND REPAIRS, and has THE LARGEST FREIGHT ELEVATOR IN THE SOUTHWEST.
We will show you, at our building and at our exhibit on the Fair Grounds, the VERY LATEST THINGS, such as our NEW ALL STEEL CASE LARGE CYLINDER SEPARATOR, WITH ADJUSTABLE SIEVES, CASE ALL STEEL LATEST IMPROVED SELF FEEDER, CASE ALL STEEL LATEST IMPROVED WIND STACKER, CASE ALL STEEL LATEST IMPROVED WEIGHERS AND BAGGERS.CASE PEANUT SEPARATOR, CASE LATEST IMPROVED METAL FRAME DINGEE-WOODBURY HORSE POWER, CASE LATEST IMPROVED SIDE CRANK SPRING MOUNTED TRACTION ENGINE, CASE LATEST IMPROVED STEEL ENGINE TENDER, CASE LATEST IMPROVED STEEL WATER TANK, CASE LATEST IMPROVED STEEL PLOW ATTACHMENT, CASE LATEST IMPROVED 32 HORSE POWER FREIGHT & PLOW ENGINE, and THRESHERMAN'S SUPPLIES.
See the WONDERFUL FEAT PERFORMED BY THE CASE ENGINE CLIMBING THE INCLINE. It is something that will astonish you.
We expect to give a souvenir to each farmer or thresherman who visits our exhibit at the Fair Grounds or our new building, during the Fair.
You will find our exhibit on Machinery Row at the Fair Grounds, and our building is at the corner of Pacific Avenue and Austin Street, extending through to Ross Avenue.
Yours truly, J.I.Case Threshing Machine Co., (s) W. C. Lemmon, Gen. Agt.