The Story of Frank 'N Steam

| July/August 1990

1170 Independence Street, Lakewood, Colorado 80215

I was born on August 21, 1915, and raised in Ontario, Canada. The 74 years have been good to me, until about six years ago when I was diagnosed with melanoma. I pray to hold on as long as possible. I thought the readers might like to know about the models I have spent my time building.

Born in the 20's, the steam traction engines were losing out to the gas tractors. My father liked the steam engine so much that he paid Mr. Henry Tait $15.00 a day extra for the steam engine to run the separator (thresher) to thresh about 30 acres of grain. This made quite an impression on me as I used to sit and watch this great engine puff and smoke, pulling that long belt to the separator. My big thrill was at 12 o'clock when the fireman would lift me onto the platform and let me blow the whistle to stop all operations so the hungry men could eat the largest amount of food I ever saw.

Before being discharged from the Navy in 1946 I had found my life partner, Mabel, who gave me three children. The eldest passed away recently from Multiple Sclerosis. Mabel has been a great encouragement to me in building and showing several scale models of the J.I. Case engines. Some of these great shows started when Mr. Porter of Ontario, Canada asked us to show the 1' scale Case engine and separator at Milton, Ontario in 1967. In 1971 we were invited by Russell Orth to show at Norwich, Ontario. We have missed only two shows thereafter, for 18 years, showing next to Jack McJannet of Ingersol, Ontario. It was the start of meeting some wonderful people and seeing some of the school kids I went to school with, in the 20's, in Burgessville, four miles away.

When I was able to retire I continued to work with steam, building working models of the J.I. Case 65 HP steam engine, so now have 1', 2', 3' and 4' scale engines. I have also built, without blueprints, working models of the 1' and 4' scale Case thresher. Three years ago we joined the J.I. Case Heritage Foundation and have met and been inspired by Helen and Brig Brigham, who through the past few years have given me encouragement to continue to live with my life threatening cancer by adding little notes on the Heritage Foundation correspondence. What busy and wonderful people! At our first showing at Kinzers, Pennsylvania, with the Foundation, we were transported with our granddaughter to and from the banquet with Helen. Our granddaughter still talks of that honor. We will not forget their courteous and thoughtful deeds.

At the J.I. Case Heritage Foundation Show in Manitoba, two friends from Calgary, Audry and Wray Broad, a former neighbor and classmate from the 20's in Burgessville, Ontario, came to help us through that show. As chance would have it, they traveled over a thousand miles from the south and as we entered Highway #1 Mabel spotted a trailer and van with an Alberta license stopped aside the road making an adjustment on the trailer. Yes, it was Wray and Audry 40 miles west of our final destination. We were all shocked and surprised to meet like this as we had planned to meet at the show grounds. Our 12 year old grandson was with us this trip. He was going to help run the engine, but fate took another turn and the ladies at the Case booth took precedence over our display. He helped (hindered) in the sale of tee-shirts, flags, etc. for the entire show.