Pictured above is Willis with his J.I. Case scale model steam traction engine. He spent many months building it, but has been rewarded for his efforts as he received a ''Gold Hammer Award'' and the ''Bench Award'' for excellence. The gold hammer is shown
Sometimes my desk gets piled high and, more often than should, letters have a habit of slipping down into the 'stack' and getting lost. By the time I get around to answering the mails no letter, no return-address to write to. Then the folks at the other end of the line think Joe's got the swell-head and is too stuck-up to write.
I'm thinking of those good people in England - I'm still hunting for their letter - who wrote last summer, asking about the true, original colors of the old Case Tractors. I laid their letter aside to attend the big Tri-State Gas Engine & Tractor Show in Portland, Indiana. Some of the 'Case Experts' there told me that Russ Flora's big 20-40 Case of 1917 vintage had the original colors. Knowing that the Englishman's terminology for color shades and names no doubt varies from that of 'us Yankees', I though the only way to be accurate would be to take a color photo of the Flora Case. Which I did, but, as mentioned above, couldn't find the letter and address from England in order to send it. So, if our good English brethren still want a reply to that one, if they would please write again, I might still be able to furnish an answer.
Also from Herbert Reese, author of SEVENTY YEARS DOWN THE ROAD, we heard several times, concerning his most interesting book. We've been reading it, now and then. I often wound up reading portions to my wife, so graphic were some of the paragraphs and stories which she got a bang out of, too. For those who like reading about the Good Old Days when traveling in old vintage Over lands, Model-T's and the like, over our hazardous early-American mud pikes Herb Reese's book is a must. Herb tells it like it was in a hard-working, get-the-job-done way, as only an enterprising Yankee can do. The many rough engineering jobs Herb tackled, his up-country hunting experiences, sleeping outdoors beside the broken-down jallopy along a lonely country road, cobbling a burned-out rod that enabled his party to limp on to the next village garage - all these make interesting experiences in a day long before the AAA, the paved super-highway, and the Highway Patrol.
Just one episode alone, where Herb shot a deer and stuffed the 'dead' critter into his car trunk to fetch home, only to have it jump out very much alive at him after he arrived and unlatched said trunk - is enough to send the shivvers up and down the human spine. If you like good, rough-and-ready reading about the days when iron men drove wooden-wheeled jitneys to do big jobs of road grading and early-day paving the Herb Reese book will furnish some mighty good entertainment.
We have been hearing from J. Scott Campbell, Director of the Elwood Historical Club, Inc., held each summer at Elwood, Indiana. Mr. Campbell has been urging all good steam engine lovers who endear the steam traction and threshing engine, to write to their congressmen, asking that our government issues a special commemorative stamp in honor of that great iron horse. O, better still, if thousands of our readers would write to the Office of the Postmaster General, Washington, D.C. 20260 as suggested to Mr. Campbell by our Secretary of Agriculture it might help get the job done. Wouldn't it be a thrill to lick a postage stamp that had a picture of a beautiful Case Engine, or some such American engine on it! But, if you're like me, you'd probably buy all that the local post office would sell you, just to keep stashed away as a collector's item. Many times, when I go to the post office for stamps, they tear off some beautiful commemorative stamp which I prefer to keep and this could be another reason why I don't get all my correspondence answered on time, if at all.
We did hear, only yesterday, from friend Milo Blauvelt of Bremo Bluff, Virginia. Milo wanted to tell me how he liked reading about the 'Joe Dear' in the GEM. (Pardon me for mentioning a gas engine magazine in a steam magazine column. But I couldn't get around this one.) Milo writes, 'Dear Joe: I've heard you mention several times in the pages about the 'Joe Dear', but now I was able to see it in your article. I built me a small tractor, several years ago, using a 9 - 12 horsepower Wisconsin Engine. It has plenty of power.'
How I envy Milo's horsepower! And me with only my 1 horsepower Delco to locomote my prime mover, the 'Joe Dear'. We are living in the age of spray cans spray your hair to change its color, spray for bugs, spray your spark plugs against moisture, spray-paint your car to a brighter finish, we do every but pray with spray.
For a long time now I've been hoping some genius would invent a can of spray that would increase the horsepower of a gas engine. If so, I'd buy the first can and begin spraying the old Delco on the 'Joe Dear'. I'd probably buy half-a-dozen cans and keep right on spraying till the Delco increased from 1 horsepower to say about 12 horses then I'd be up in Milo Blauvelt's class, I would. Maybe I can coax that Delco Engine genius, Junior Sarver of Arcanum, Ohio, to develop just such a can of spray. But until that is done, I will limp along with the 1 horses that motivate the 'Joe Dear'. And if such a spray can isn't invented, I'll go right on limping along with the one horse and the other one cut half in the middle.
Milo Blauvelt goes on to write that he's bothered with dizziness which makes walking difficult. He says he engineered a small, light three-wheeled conveyance, powered by a little gas engine, which enables him to get about quite handily in his condition. But, he asks, ' Do you think they would permit me to drive my little three-wheeled conveyance around over a threshing reunion ground to see the engines?' Of course, Milo, they would be most happy to have you come in your tri-wheeled jitney. They might even envy you, and next year you might see more folks with tired legs riding similar mechanical gad-abouts to see the engines in comfort. When I first began attending steam engine reunions, I always took along my dear friend, Homer Halladay. Homer had been crippled by polio when a lad, and I pushed him around over the grounds in his wheel chair. Everyone was so kind and respectful, and Homer made friends of all the steam engineers and onlookers. So, Milo, don't stay home. Fetch along your tri-wheeler and who knows you might take first prize for some kind of new, innovative light-weight ''foreign''
But better still, why not try taking Lecithin each day. You'll like its flavor, and it works miracles in many ways to clear cholesteral from the blood vessels and can correct some forms of dizziness thereby. Also you could begin taking Wheat Germ capsules for the strengthening of the heart - all of which Billy Byrd, our Iron Man in this issue, began taking and came out perfect in his latest engineer's physical. The 'Doc' told him he was the healthiest fellow he'd seen for a man of his age. How's that!
Last Sunday we attended Easter Sunrise Services, along the beautiful Great Miami River at Troy, Ohio. The view of the peaceful Miami was most inspiring at that early hour, as were the Miami County historic courthouse, and the old steam power plant with its stack belching black smoke in contrast to the many gathered to sing praises to the Risen Lord. We were happy to see so many of various denominations there, and such a generous sprinkling of young people among the crowds. Everyone came, just as they were in slacks, dresses, some with overcoats up around their necks, others in shirt sleeves. I was one of only two there who kept my hat on, not out of disrespect for the Lord, but rather to honor Him by not sneezing at that early, frosty hour when so many were mingling their praises with the mist from the Great Miami close by. As we cast our eyes out over the peaceful, but high Miami River, we couldn't help being thankful that it was not raging as were some of our great American rivers elsewhere throughout our land. And our hearts went out to many in those less fortunate places who couldn't worship the Risen Savior as were we, but were probably having to leave their shattered homes because of the rampaging waters.
Later, at the morning church service, our pastor read the Scripture Lesson from the little red paperbound volume carrying the Books of Luke and Acts which the Key 73 Crusade is passing out in its efforts to reach every home for Christ this season. I have been reading from the little red book, and find that it gives the Gospel Message in graphic, modern style which anyone who never read a page of the Bible before could readily understand and become interested in. Ask your church, or some member of your local Key 73 Crusade group for one of the volumes. They would be glad to give a copy to youj, as it's their purpose to furnish one for every home, free of charge. The little volume is published for the Key 73 Crusade by The American Bible Society. Although I still prefer some of the older Bible translations, the modern day style can get to some who otherwise wouldn't try to read The King James Version or any of the other older translations.
The Bible says, 'In that day the Lord will pour out His spirit upon all flesh.' It looks like this prophecy is coming true in our day. Many young folks who otherwise would be using drugs or racing down the highways in hot-rods, are passing out Bibles free and are attending church, Sunday School and prayer groups. From many denominations they come, to mingle as one Christian Group. Even on college campuses, the change is being noticed. Where only a few years ago, rioting and destruction was disrupting our college and university campuses, students are 'now attending classes with serious motives at heart. They have had their eyes opened. They have outgrown the rioting stage and discovered if they are to acquire their goals, they must work for them and not destroy property owned by the public.
Although I live in Stratford, I cannot find anyone who knows anything about these engines. Perhaps some of the readers could comment on the valve gear.
Everywhere, one can see an improvement in our youth a transformation almost like a miracle from what students were doing just a few years ago. This is an encouraging thought, especially in this day of such dreary news 'from the rest of the world. And this alone can show us what our nation could really be if everyone believed in the miracle of the Resurrection Morn. In the Book of Acts, it tells how Peter and Paul and just a few believers actually turned country after country upside down as people became converted from their heathen wasy. How tragic it is to read about factional religious wars seeting in far corners of the world, when we know that God has done in hearts of our youth here in America. Jesus said, 'Don't look here or there for the Kingdom of God. For the Kingdom of God is within you.' God's spiritual laws are as inviolate as are the laws of physics. If a man tried to build a steam engine without knowledge of the laws of thermo dynamics, the boiler would probably sputter and blow up without doing a lick of work. But an engineer, using his knowledge of the laws of heat generation and combustion builds his engine and his efforts are rewarded with a machine that blesses mankind in labor returned.
Jesus said, 'Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.' And what a difference it all makes - following God's law and worshipping together on Easter Mroning, or ignoring that law and fighting each other in the false name of so-called religion.
One of the leading Bible expositors of all time, the late Dr. Donald Gray Barnhouse, once said, 'God is the foremost junk dealer of all time. He takes in all the discarded human wrecks and restores them, like new again.'
From a junk-heap, man rebuilds an engine from human bondage, God restores a soul.