Trivia…

Higgins, Texas

It was with regret that I learned of the passing of B. B. Brown.
On our trip to San Francisco four years ago, we called on Mr. Brown
at their home at that time in nearby San Leandro. We had much in
common as concerns past experience with steam power. I was quite
impressed with the vast amount of history on all types of steam
power in his library. He was authority on old and modern steam
equipment. I have his correspondence.

The poem – ‘My Get Up & Go Has Went’ which appeared
with popular acclaim in these columns last year with ‘author
unknown’ is here corrected, – his name is A. W. Tew (pronounced
TO) and lives in Tucson, Arizona. My brother Lloyd met him there
not long ago.

I came into possession of Dave Morgan’s work, – ‘Steams
Finest Hour’ – a compilation of some 160 pages of photos of
steam locomotives many of them taken in action. This work adopts a
remarkable page size, 11′ x 16′, to create a pictorial
record of 101 of the finest Locomotives in U.S. and Canada, all on
double weight slick paper. It is published by Kalmbach Publishing
Company of Milwaukee, Wisc. You who buy it will wonder at its
modest price of $15.00. This work is fully descriptive.

It was some years ago, I believe, the question was asked,
‘who holds the world’s record for bushels of wheat threshed
in a day’s run?’ So far as I know, there was no positive
answer. I contacted several likely sources – including the Case
Co., – nothing positive. Not quite two years ago, in a letter from
Mr. Campbell of Campbell Farms, Inc., the place I thought the
record was made, he stated they had threshed as high as 4,300bu. in
a day’s operation but he claimed no world record. All this was
B.C. (before combines).

The largest threshing rig I ever saw was in N.W. Canada before
1910. I made a trip to Seattle. It was September and threshing
season in the Provinces was in progress. I had a friend running an
engine there, hence the side trip. This was a new ‘Cock O’
the North’ (Advance built at Toronto) 35 HP straw burner engine
and a 44 x 72 Separator, threshing from the ‘stooks’
(shocks to us). It was the first time for me to see straw used for
fuel. We in the Southwest couldn’t fire with straw due to
ingredient known as Silica, causing clinkers. The owner, Hans
Anderson, was a veteran operator in the Provinces. He was threshing
daily averages of 3,400 to 3,700bu. in 50 bushel wheat, requiring a
crew and teams in proportion to size of machine. Mr. Anderson said,
the separator weighed just under 12,000 lbs. It ran as smoothly as
a flour mill. The popular size separator in Kansas was 36’cyl.
with some 32′ and 40′ sizes in use.

Kansas is rightly called the wheat state. As far back as 1901,
Sumner County, where we lived, raised 10 million bushels. And, the
State has raised up to 290 million bushels in a single year.
Wichita was the largest distributing center of threshing machinery
in the nation. Kansas was no place to run ‘rattle trap’
machinery. And, the operators who made money kept their rigs in top
condition.

Mr. Blaker says, quote: – ‘I removed the piston and found
the piston rings and metallic packing between cylinders in very
poor condition. The spring that holds the Woolf valve up to its
seat was weak’ – end of quote. From 1900 to 1905, a great many
Woolf Compound engines were sold in Kansas. I never knew a man to
buy the second Woolf Compound when Kansas Engineers found same
conditions Blaker describes. ‘Mr. Engineer’ wondered how
long this condition had existed. He had no way of knowing without
taking his cylinders apart for examination. THAT did it, and long
before 1910, Woolf Compounds were hard to find on any make of
engine. I was at Mt. Pleasant Reunion last September, – a fine show
– approximately 60 threshing engines and many splendid models. Just
one Woolf Compound shown.

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