The Case


| May/June 1961



Two pulleys on the machine

My neighbor's threshing rig which operated with twin belts and two pulleys on the machine. The old man with long hair on his face is the one that got the rig and his name is Knute Broughton of Minneota, Minnesota

E. J. Mathews

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.