Many readers of THE ALBUM will recall the story of the big Avery
40 which Louis David of Northville, Michigan, found out in the
sand-hills of west-central Nebraska. This is the story of another
Avery, for Louis apparently decided that if one Avery was good, two
would be better. However, he could never find another so big, but
last year Charles Harrison of Fredrick town, Ohio, told him of an
Avery 20 that could be bought up in Canada.
So with Justin Hingtgen of LaMotte, Iowa, he set out to locate
it. Finally after day and night driving– they literally drove the
tires off Justin’s new car–they found the pot of gold at the
end of the rainbow. It was owned by Roy Ross of Innisfail, Alberta,
who is known to readers of the ALBUM as the writer of several
articles. Mr. Ross was willing to sell, and arrangements were made
to have the Avery loaded on a flat-car for shipment to Alvordton,
Ohio. Louis started back home, feeling perfectly sure that he would
have an engine for his son to run at the June Reunion of the
National Threshers, when his son would have a short leave from his
service at a Texas airfield. But ‘the best laid plans of mice
and men’- and Mother Nature entered the picture here as the
villainess who was to prevent the carrying out, of his plans. Of
course Spring always comes late to the far-north countries, but the
Spring of 1954 set some sort of a record for tardiness in arriving.
So roads remained soft much later than usual, and as Louis was
counting the days before the Reunion he was also running up a big
phone bill, checking on road conditions at Innisfail. He even went
so far as to call the Canadian Weather Bureau to see if they could
foretell any improvement in road conditions. At last it was decided
to truck the engine to Calgary, a distance of over 60 miles, since
the loading dock at Innisfail remained inaccessible.
So at last the engine was loaded and on its way to Ohio, but
2000 miles is a long, long way, especially if you are on a freight
train. So the 1954 Reunion came and was soon over, with only one
Avery for Louis to run. But on the Friday after the Reunion Le Roy
(Blaker) drove over to the railroad freight yard, and lo and
behold, there, ‘as big as life and twice as natural’ was
the long-waited Avery. Louis was called at his home and lost no
time in getting down and having it unloaded, only a few days after
This Avery making her debut at the 1955 NT A Reunion has a
double butt strap boiler in excellent condition, a brick arch. It
is a high boiler type, with wide gears and heavy wheels. It carries
a Canadian certificate and license for 175 pounds. As compared with
the Avery 40, which weighs 23 tons, it is a lightweight of 16 tons!
Louis expects that he and his son Gerald, who has now completed his
term in the Air Force, will be proudly running the two Averys at
the 1955 Reunion of The National Threshers Association at
Montpelier, June 23, 24, and 25.
Enclosed is a picture of the Avery 20 developing 87 hp. on Labor
Day, 1954, at the Blaker farm.
P. S. To keep the record straight, it should be mentioned that
Louis already owned an Avery 18, which is at his home at
Northville, and since buying the Avery 20 he has made another trip
to Canada and bought still another Avery 20 near Winnipeg,
Manitoba. This engine is also at Northville along with the Avery
P. S. You should have seen the freight agents eyes when Louis
handed him two 500 dollar bills and $172.00 besides. Freight bills
like that aren’t too common.