Young People's Page


| January/February 1970



Threshing shows badges

Courtesy of F. M. Robertson, Resthaven Home, Morrison, Illinois 61270 Pictured is my old threshing shows badges that I have collected up to the present time. Two of them are 15 to 20 years old, but most of them have been collected in the last few years. I

F. M. Robertson

Torque Power Live Steam Models Hyattstown, Box 144-D R. F. D., Ijamsville, Maryland 21 754

I'm living in an old folks home now and don't get out much anymore. I want to thank all who sent me badges, pictures and booklets on their threshing shows. They all help pass the time.

By the time most of you get this issue of the Iron-Men Album it will be during the Christmas holidays. During this time we should all remember that the celebration of Christmas was not started as a promotional gimmick for department stores but as a sign of hope for all mankind. I certainly hope that all of you have a wonderful holiday.

I would like to devote this article to our steam engine hobby past, present and future.

Let's go back seventy (70) years ago when the steam engine was our main source of power. People at this time used the steam engine to make life easier, to travel to places faster, to do the farm work, saw the lumber and provide electric power. With man's ever increasing drive to find something easier the gas engine soon took over the work that was once done by the steam engine. Yet, even when this happened the steam engine was not forgotten. There seemed to be some unexplainable power that the steam engine had over the people that worked with it, for they never lost their love of the steam engine. Even though, they would never refer to the steam engine as something they loved. More often they were referred to in a rather distasteful language especially when an engine wasn't operating properly. But that was their own fault. For as much as they cussed these engines out, they wouldn't give them up until forced to do so by progress. What hurt the steam engine the most was not so much the invention of the gas engine, but the depression and World War II. Although I didn't live during this time, this is what I have been told by those who did.

Before the depression, there were hundreds of steam engine companies in existence. American farms, industry and railroads used steam for power. During the depression many farms went under, businesses failed and the railroads could not afford to pay the large number of people required to operate the locomotives. The industries that survived changed to gas power in order to cut down on operating costs. The farms were the last to change to gas. The farms that didn't go under could rely on their neighbors for help in operating their engines.