By Staff

CHESTER THOMAS SAWYER, 86, of Bird City, Kansas passed away
September 27, 1981 in a hospital in Denver, Colorado after a short

Chet will be remembered by his many friends that he visited
during several different antique engine shows. He loved to visit
and discuss the many different problems he experienced during his
life of farming and custom threshing.

Chet started his early threshing experience by operating a grain
separator for a custom thresher man who had three different outfits
during the fall threshing season. Later he had his own outfit and
did custom grain threshing until the combine replaced the threshing

He was a charter member in organizing his antique shows: The
Tri-State Antique Engine & Threshers Association at Bird City,
Kansas, and the Antique Steam Engine show in Wichita, Kansas. He
was president of the Bird City show for 16 years.

His many steam engine friends will miss his presence at steam
engine shows.

Submitted by Melvin Wright, Secretary, Tri-State Antique
Engine and Threshers Association.

LEWIS JOHN DITTOE passed away November 23,1981. Lewis had moved
to Dresden, Ohio in 1920 and owned and operated a garage. He was a
skilled mechanic and it is said he could have ‘built’ a
car. He loved his work and he worked hard. But the land and the
farm life were always in his blood. In 1959 Mr. Dittoe retired from
the garage business and in 1960 bought a small farm on the
outskirts of Dresden. The acreage was 14 and extended to the
Muskengum River. He spent all his time there and bought two or
three steam engines this was Mr. Dittoe at his happiest to fire up
his steam engines. Many people came to watch.

When his dear wife passed away, he sold the family home and with
the help of his son, Gene, renovated the standing structure, a
‘barn-style’ home into a beautiful red barn home. It was
lovely! He was very happy there. He lived alone, planted crops,
picked apples and most of all worked on his steam engines. He
showed them in parades in Zanesville, Ohio, Dresden and also at
steam engine meets in Cadiz, Dover, Glenford, Bloomfield and in
some areas in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Dittoe also had built his own saw mill and at times sawed
wood. He also used a threshing rig. He will be missed by many.

Submitted by Laurel D. Runals, 18008 Diagonal Road, La
Grange, Ohio 44050.

ARTHUR A. NORTON, 90, of Syracuse, New York, died recently. He
was a charter member of the New York Steam Engine Association of
Canadaigua and a charter member of the Pioneer Gas Engine
Association of Fairville.

Arthur helped bale hay with a horsedrawn sweep. Threshing was
done with a steam engine when we were married 63 years ago. We
farmed our 114 acres with horses and made maple syrup for 42

Arthur was a director in the New York Steam Engine Association
for three years and ran the drag saw at the show for 20 years.

He will be missed by many at the shows.

Submitted by Myrtle Norton, 4254 Norton Road, Syracuse, New
York 13215.

JAMES E. SLOAN, of Dover, Ohio, passed away December 24, 1981.
Jim was president of the Tuscarawas Valley Pioneer Power
Association, Dover, for the past seven years. He served the
association well, improving and enlarging its show each year. Prior
to his terms as president, he was vice-president. He also was in
charge of the small gas engine area where he displayed his
collection of one cylinder engines. Jim was an oil and gas well rig
operator for 40 years.

Submitted by Verle E. Baker.

GEORGE E. PRISELER passed away August 6, 1981 after a long
illness with cancer. He would have been 74 years old on August 10,
1981. Although he never had his dream come true by owning a steam
engine, he was an avid fan, and always hoped some day to own an
Avery 18 HP undermounted steamer like his dad owned in 1914. He
also liked gas engines, owning a Stover 5 HP and a New Idea
Vari-Speed 1 to 2 at the time of his death. He had both of these
engines restored and running.

We attended as many steam shows in this area as we could each
summer. I think we attended the first show put on by Pontiac way
back in the 50’s.

George also owned and operated a Corley sawmill as a sideline to
his farming operations. His many friends and business associates as
well as his family mourn his death.

Submitted by Mrs. George E. Priseler, 5846 Telegraph Road,
Pecatonica, Illinois 61063.

JIM SWALES, 88, died peacefully on December 25, 1981. In 1907,
at the age of 14, he started out on a lengthy threshing career with
a new 15-45 HP Case and a 28′ steel Case thresher. From 1918-19
he served on the mine sweeper ‘Nairobi’ as a stoker. He
farmed actively until he was 83 years old and kept his old 28′
Case in service for straw for his cattle herd.

He personally witnessed the famous Winnipeg Exhibition until its
demise in 1914. A lot of living history has now passed on as Jim
had personal conversations with many important men at the

He had conversations with a Case representative who had been in
Kansas when the Case Company was experimenting with the 150 HP Case
pulling 20-bottoms in virgin sod. Apparently, the engine had plenty
of power (212 HP on brake) but they had insurmountable problems
with hot bearings, gears cutting out and studs breaking off all
over the boiler as it wasn’t built to take the tremendous
strain. This representative came to solely watch the 110 HP Cases
plow as they scaled down the 150 to 110 HP size to try and rid all
the problems of the 150.

Jim also talked to one of Case’s designing engineers who
came to watch every Case engine’s performance. Apparently this
designing engineer couldn’t get back to Case’s drawing
board feet enough, as he didn’t like the open prairies, engine
smoke or dust.

Jim always had many interesting stories to tell of his
experiences and of the people he met throughout his life. Jim
volunteered many years of hard work at Austin’s Manitoba
Agricultural Museum. His pride and joy at the museum was operating
a 1904 25 HP Case and 40′ x 62′ Case wooden thresher which
had been donated in 1956. The engine and thresher had always been
shedded and were in perfect operating condition with all original

The past two years I had the pleasure of Jim’s company in
helping restore some of Jerome Increase’s very old and rare
machinery. Jim was a perfectionist when it came to original colors,
original parts and lathe work machining. His whole life was
dedicated to the operation of the steam engine.

He leaves absolutely no family so it’s a regret to close a
final chapter on a book so full of history.

Submitted by Jack W. Beamish, Box 271, Hamiota,

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