50 Case engine, belted to 28 x 46 Case machine and its strawpile, at Wade's Oct. 5, 1963, Tracy California. Courtesy of Jack K. Williams, 1121 Hilltop Lane, Modesto, California
1121, Hilltop Lane, Modesto, Calif.
Another year has nearly rolled rapidly by and with it a lot of steam activity on the West Coast and elsewhere across the country. Since nearly all the other shows have reported, ray report is due on its annual basis.
Another large show was started out here in California and it is my hope it will continue to be a regular and growing event. We are in need of more activity of this kind here. To start out with, Mr. G. A. Humann, of Gerber, California purchased a 28x46 Case separator and 8-foot John Deere binder, up in Oregon and hauled them in the fall of 1962. He cut 5 acres of seed alfalfa with the binder and during the winter he overhauled and painted the machine. When March 1st came, he was ready to thresh the alfalfa, but rain then, and for 7 or 8 more weekends in succession kept him from threshing until May 5th, at which time my twin boys and myself drove up to Gerber to help out, on a windy, blustery day that threatened wind, rain and whatever else in bad weather. The boys pitched bundles and tended the grain wagon (pickup truck), also pumped water from the water wagon into the engine tanks. I pitched bundles and changed off with Paul Humann firing the engines - the Advance 20 and 16 Russell engines were used alternately and the machines worked beautifully. About 1,000 pounds of good quality seed was the net result. We all sat down to a fine dinner at noon.
Later on, the same month I steamed up Mr. Miller's Aultman-Taylor engine and got it out of the shed for the summer months. It worked fine as usual and it was fired several times during the summer months. I also dropped in on Glenn Weagent of Stockton, to see what his steam shop was doing - he always has something in steam in operation. Come August and I again journeyed north on the train to Silverton, Oregon and Harvey Mikkelson's 10th annual steam threshing bee and the annual business meeting of the WSFA. I stayed with the Carl Kirsch family of St. Paul, and these fine people certainly make one feel right to home-have stayed here for a weekend or so the last 3 years now and Carl has a fine 45 Holt crawler tractor and a 25 Best crawler tractor, both restored to original appearances and in top running condition. He only needs a wink of an eye or suggestion and away he heads for the big shop, drops the cranking bar into the holes in the flywheel, primes her up with a little gas and gives a couple of heaves-bang and away either of them start right off. Al Hermans of Portland also has a 25 Best stored here, and it is also completely restored and in good company-both the Best Tractors flank the Holt. Al's 25 Best and Carl's Holt 45 were also over to Harvey's, plus Al's 21 inch Sterling hand-feed slat carrier threshing machine. Friday we helped Harvey get the last of the equipment ready to go, and already, a bunch of Steam Fiends were on hand helping with the last minute adjustments and repairs. The little 8 hp Russell engine was being finished in the shop. Roy Heinrich was just finishing up a complete refluing job on the 50 Case engine-had been nearly a week on it at various times. Wally Getman, Al Hermen, Harry Fischer and myself sawed up a pile of firewood, with Guy Thompson's little 8 hp Russell and buzz saw-he lives at Goldendale, Washington and he too, helped at the saw.