| March/April 1971

  • Sawmill engine
    Me and the 24-75 hp. Port Huron sawmill engine I have owned fifty years. Photo was in April, 1970.

  • Sawmill engine

I had a lot of fun and useful work with my 2 hp. vertical steam engine, and I bought a new Dutton 3 hp. vertical boiler for it in 1913, and used it to run a buzz-saw, large wood turning lathe, feed grinder, and corn sheller.

My first experience running a steam traction engine came in the Fall of 1916. I was helping a neighbor fill silo and was hauling bundles of corn for the silo filler. The owner of the engine said he had to go to town to get some 'cylinder oil', and left the engine in charge of the water boy. The engineer got tanked up on his 'cylinder oil' and did not return. The water boy told me to tie my horses and help him with the engine. Of course that pleased me as the engine was a new 19 hp. Port Huron 'Longfellow' the year previous. I stayed with it and ran it on other silo filling jobs that season.

Well, the steam bug had gotten in my system and I bought a 10 hp. Nichols & Shepard steam traction engine the following March. Then in July 1917, I bought a 16 hp. D. June & Co. engine made at Fremont, Ohio, to start my threshing career. I needed some engine parts so wrote to Fremont for them, and got a reply from Wood Bros, of Des Moines, Iowa. They wrote they bought D. June & Co. out in 1907. Early Wood Bros. engines used the same smoke-box door and curved spoke flywheels patterns as the D. June had.

That Fall (1791) a group of 19 of us farmers bought a large type 'A' Inter national silo filler and I ran it for them for many years afterward.

The next March - 1918, I traded that D. June engine for a used 16 hp. Port Huron engine with 20' wide drive wheels. I still have the good boiler from that engine, although I have traded it off and bought it back three different times.

That Summer - 1918, a fellow thresherman was about to lose his four year old 19 hp. 'Longfellow' and wanted to trade for my 16 hp. Port Huron. He said he would trade with me for 300 dollars. We both were threshing about three miles apart and traded engines in the middle of the road the next morning. When I saw Albert Hoxie - the Port Huron Agent - a few days later, he told me I made a thousand dollars in that deal. Mr. Hoxie sold more Port Huron steam threshing outfits in the three South-Eastern counties of Lower Michigan than all other makes combined.


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