Women at the Throttle

article image
Bill Lamb takes a moment to recall outstanding women engineers.

3982 Ballard Avenue Cincinnati, Ohio 45209-1716

When Bill Lamb in Lexington, Kentucky, saw my essay on Doris
Lindenmier, he wanted to compliment the women engineers he has
known. In an earlier article, Bill named excellent engineers who
were men, and now, in this piece, he identifies excellent engineers
who were women.

I drew the pen-and-ink sketch to accompany Bill’s article.
It shows a younger Bill at the throttle of a Gaar-Scott engine.
Bill is now eighty-eight years old and still looks very much like
my drawing, except that his hair is gray.

In his visits to steam shows around the country, Bill Lamb has
observed expert engineers who were women. ‘I’d like to
mention them in the Album because people might make the mistake of
thinking only men run engines or that only a man can run an
engine,’ Bill said.

‘Erna Wright had a Baker engine,’ Bill recalled.
‘She brought it to Big Jim Whitbey’s show in Fort Wayne,
Indiana. She could belt it up as well as anybody. It looked like
she and the engine knew one another.’

‘Mildred Ary,’ Bill continues, ‘had a Gaar-Scott
single cylinder. It looked like she and the engine talked to one
another. She could balance it on the teeter-totter. She showed me
how little I knew about engines.’

‘Pat Holcamp at Mount Pleasant knew everything there was to
know about threshing rigs. She could feed the bundles or run the
engine equally well. There in Iowa, the Hoffmaster sisters, Anne
and Joyce, had a Reeves. They were good with engines both of them
were excellent engineers.’ Bill remembered the meticulous care
which the Hoffmasters gave their engine.

‘A man by the name of Bailey,’ Bill continued, ‘had
a Baker I rebuilt for him in northern Kentucky. He kept it on John
Vogel’s farm. Tina Irwin, Vogel’s granddaughter, said she
would help me if I would show her how to run an engine. It turned
out she was real good as an engineer. She and I used to go to
Danville, Kentucky, to run a Case 65. I’d say Tina is as fine
an engineer as I’ve seen.’

‘Carrie Farmer at Greenville, Ohio, knew what to do with a
throttle,’ said Bill. ‘I was firing a locomotive at
Connersville, Indiana, one time, and a man volunteered to help me.
We got to talking, and I asked him if he had a daughter named
Carrie. Sure enough, he did! She had a good teacher.’

Bill added, ‘I taught Marianne Leicty how to run engines.
She was a good learner.’

‘The women engineers I’ve named are just those I’ve
taught or seen at shows,’ Bill concluded, ‘but there have
been plenty of great engineers who were women.’

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment