THE DAY WHEN AN AMERICAN-ABEL TRACTOR WAS DISABLED


| January/February 1968



Winfield Alberta, Canada

It was in the early summer of 1907, June I believe, that David Reed, who had previously that spring purchased a second-hand, new the year before, complete American-Abel threshing outfit, also sawmill with planer. He had just finished his first sawing job when my father, who had a fairly low down wagon, had the job of hauling the husk to the next place of sawing on a homestead close to our place, west of the Blind Man River, northwest of Bentley. The roads or trails those days were not too good, but my father had succeeded in getting through with his load to beyond our place to within half a mile of the next setting. Mr. Reed and his assistant were also moving the engine the same day down to the river, crossing it in the morning which went quite well except for getting up a steep incline or bank after crossing the river. Here the engine, reversing itself, went back down the hill three times before they finally got up. Here they stopped for a little while to fix a check valve on the engine, where me and my brother met them close to a bend in the trail so the machine came into view all at once. A scene not to be soon forgotten.

The engine number 1777 was painted in white letters on the red dome on the boiler. All the other paint on the machine was still bright, so to me at the time it was the most beautiful thing on wheels. The owner, Mr. Reed, wasn't hard to look at either, standing as he did six feet of perfect manhood, as the saying goes.

Soon the outfit started moving. They had plenty of help, two on the engine, assistant wood bucker, four horses on the tank wagon, and I was alongside admiring it. I always did like a steam engine. The fireman invited me to ride on the tool box on the engine platform. I rode that way a little while, but preferring to go alongside, I was soon off.

On approaching a low soft place on the trail, they stopped to find a more solid crossing nearby. Here me and my brother started for home as it was soon dinner time.

The outfit proceeded on its way till they came to the worst place they had to cross. It was corduroyed part way across with heavy enough logs. Instead of putting more logs in the missing part, they tried to get across as it was, resulting in the engine mired down. Now on this particular size, the 22 H.P. simple the boxing cap on the main bearing nearest to the disk has only two bolts to hold it and one of these was already broken or missing. When they were trying to get out either backward or forward, piling in posts or rocks, anything for the drivers to get a grip on. They kept on until the remaining bolt snapped off, too, resulting in a bent connecting rod, also main shaft was sprung as it pushed out of the disk side bearing. The other bearing or pillow block on the flywheel side was broken in two, necessitating a new one from the factory. Some gear teeth broke part way across, too, and other smaller parts were damaged. After removing the flywheel with the aid of block and tackle, Mr. Reed took the main shaft to a machine shop at Ponoka to be straightened. Not having any wagon or horses of his own, he borrowed a wagon from us and a team from the man who he was to saw for.