A Brief Word

Letz Burr Mill


William Rogers

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By the time of this copy of GEM is in your mailbox, we should also have a stock of our new Encyclopedia of American Farm Implements. (See our advertisement on page 59 of this issue). While we were at the recent Mt. Pleasant show, we had a great many inquiries regarding this new 400 page book, and along with that, many interesting comments about farm implements as collectibles. Even from folks not specifically interested in the book, we often heard comments about various farm implements becoming the collecting wave of the future. Some folks told us that certain implements have already begun rising in value because of demand. The tractors and engines are pretty well in the hands of collectors now. . . .it's becoming the exception to find one out in the woods or in a fencerow. . . .even ten years ago, this was often the case.

From a lot of people we heard comments such as, 'I'd like to find a Case plow to go with my Case tractor.' The same held true of John Deere, Oliver, and others. The pto-driven pulverizing plow that Massey-Harris built for a time is already a popular item. A few people are collecting ancient corn pickers, and the list goes on. For our part, we've kept the Red River Special 28x46 separator that came into the family in 1946, along with several small corn shellers, grinders, and even a couple of grain binders. One of them is an ancient Champion it has a drive wheel of wood construction over which is placed a metal band with drive lugs.

Our special thanks to everyone who stopped by the GEM display at the Mid-west Old Threshers Reunion. We had visitors probably running into the thou -sands during the five days of the show, and as always found it very rewarding to meet and greet everyone. We've learned of some hitherto unknown engines, and expect to have further information in coming issues of the Reflections column.

Also see elsewhere in this issue (page 48) our advertisement concerning the 1998 tour to Germany, Austria, and Holland. Actually, it is a two-week tour beginning in Zurich and ending after two weeks in Frankfurt. Then, for a bargain price, we have an optional ex-tension to the tour that will end up in Holland and the HMT, reputed to be the largest tractor and engine show in Europe. We're trying right now to get further information on the show, but of course it takes a bit of time, since all this is months away right now.

We've got all kinds of plans for the tour, and many interesting stops. There'll be lots of tractors and engines to see along our way, and we'll be spending an entire day in Munich, home of the world-famous Deutsches Museum said to be the largest technological museum in the world. There'll be a bit of (optional) culture along the way, and of course, the beautiful scenery enroute, including Zurich, Rhine Falls, Garmisch, Munich, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Linz, Passau, Bamberg, and much more.

We're limiting the tour to two coaches (about 80 people) because European hotels and restaurants often hold no more than that; many hotels don't have more than a dozen rooms and many restaurants don't seat more than 40 or 50 people. As a footnote, this tour will be covering all new ground with few exceptions. Our first stop at Roland Porten's Tractor & Engine Museum at Stuhligen will be a repeat of our earlier European Tour. Another possible repeat will be Wim van Schayik's fantastic engine and tractor collection at Langen boom in Holland. We under-stand it has grown considerably since we were there a couple of years ago. This gigantic collection has to be seen to be believed!

Obviously everyone is busy with engines and tractors at present, since the number of queries this month is rather scant . . . hopefully, this will change with the coming of autumn.

At this time of year we issue our usual caveat about draining those engines and tractors. Check and re-check. Here's a case-in-point: When draining our engines, we took out a half-inch pipe plug under the cylinder. It came out hard (for some reason), and seemed to have little water. On poking a finger in the hole we discovered an obstruction, finally figuring out that for some reason a part of the pipe plug had broken off, remaining in the hole. A little scale over the opening kept water from coming out. Lots of things can happen, so be sure to know that the engines are drained and dry! Some folks take no chances and put antifreeze solution in the cylinder over winter. Whatever you do, don't risk those precious engines to freezing!

Our first query this month is from:

32/11/1 Massey-Harris Pony Q. I have a Massey-Harris Pony tractor, s/n PGA3293A and would like to know the year it was built. T. A. Roberts, 1709 Dicey Rd., Weatherford, TX 76086.

A. We would too! In all of our many listings, we do not have the serial numbers for the Massey-Harris Pony! Can someone supply this list?

32/11/2 Letz Burr Mill Q. See the photograph of a Letz No. 6 burr mill I recently acquired. I am looking for information on this mill and would appreciate hearing from fellow collectors with information on this mill as well as the history of the company. William Rogers, 86 Independence Lane, Hannacroix, KY 12087-9702.

A. Can anyone be of help to Mr. Rogers in the restoration of this mill?

32/11/3 Family Tree Q. I am inquiring about information on the Judson gasoline engines, and was wondering if anyone has any pictures or information on the company, as I am putting together information on the Judson family tree.

Believe it or not, but every GEM reader has been using a product invented by Whit-comb A. Judson in 1891. . the zipper!

A. Judson invented the first dynamite used in the USA, and a Judson gave Col. Will Cody the nickname of Buffalo Bill, plus a Judson was the first to bring the Baptist religion to Burma. Any assistance would be appreciated. Richard B. Judson, W- 59853, Pondville Corr. Center, PO Box 146, Norfolk, MA 02056.

You're probably referring to C. S. Judson Company Ltd., at Winnipeg, Manitoba. This firm was apparently a large jobbing house and sold a great many Stover engines under the Judson trade name. Further details may be found on page 257 of American Gas Engines.

32/11/4 Heer and other Engines Scott Wilson, 1401 Wikiup Dr., Santa Rosa, CA 95403 sends along some information on the Heer hopper cooled engines as built at Portsmouth, Ohio. Also, he sends along a copy of an interesting letter his grandfather sent to his fiancee in 1914. At the time he was shopping for an engine, finally narrowing it down to a Foos engine, with the ' Fairbanks-Morse coming in as a close second. (We always caution folks to go through old papers etc. before throwing this stuff away. Sometimes there are some interesting items placed there long ago).

32/11/5 The Rudder Thanks to Bruce Hall, Route 90, King Ferry, NY 13081 for sending along photocopies of various pages of The Rudder, a marine magazine of the early 1900s. These magazines often have illustrations of unusual marine engines seldom seen anywhere else.

Mr. Hall would also like to correspond with anyone having information on a Loew four-cylinder marine engine of T-head design, probably built in the early 1920s.

(The Loew is a case-in-point of un-usual marine engines; this one is seldom heard of. We'd guess that there are very few still in captivity.)

32/11/6 International Oil Engine Company Q. See the photos of a Style E Kerosene Oil Engine made by International Oil Engine Company, New York, New York. It has a 3 x 4 inch bore and stroke. I would like to know what kind of ignition was used, or any other information I can find on this engine. Any help would be greatly appreciated. William M. Wallner, 2039 Laurel Road, Cave Junction, OR 97523-9674.

A. Page 250 of American Gas Engines shows a vertical oil engine from this firm, and research for that book determined that the engines were made at Danielson, Connecticut with the company offices in New York City. Beyond that, we don't have a lot of information, particularly on the engine illustrated here. Can anyone be of assistance?

32/11/7 Thermoil Engine Some time ago, Jacob Maley, 80 Factory Drive, Austin, IN 47102 sent this photo of a 3 HP Thermoil Engine as sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co. We thought GEM readers would be interested in seeing this rather interesting and unusual variety of the Thermoil.

A Closing Word

There wasn't time enough for this issue, but at the recent Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa the Novo engines were featured this year. Louis and Barry Tuller of Mt. Pleasant assembled a complete set of the early Type S engines, ranging all the way from the little 1 HP model up to the big 15 HP two-cylinder size. All were nicely restored, and this is probably one of the few times that a complete set of Novo engines has been on display and running, all at the same time.

We keep hearing of more and more model engines appearing on the scene. While some folks are very excited about model work, others have little inclination in this regard. Much of the reason is that storage space and transport of  full-size models is not a major problem in the United States. In contrast, England for instance, has very limited space, and even people of reasonable means usually do not have the room for storage of larger units. Couple this factor with the English propensity for model building, and it's much easier to understand why model making has always been very popular in England, as compared to here on our shores. Nevertheless, model making has continued to gain in popularity, and recent issues of GEM have shown some very nice models.

This fall ye olde Reflector will begin assembling the Standard Catalog of Tractors for Krause Publications. This will be a big book, and hopefully will become the definitive history of the farm tractor. If anyone has tractor illustrations, especially those rare and elusive ones, we would be most grateful if we could borrow them, run them through the scanner and return them to you.

By the way, digitizing illustrations is the new wave. It consists of converting an image into little dots or pixels and feeding the stuff into a computer. The latter then can print out this image on a high-resolution printer, and in many instances we can end up with a better image than the original! It's also possible to go into the image on the computer screen for editing, and then save the new image. Much of the material for our new book will then be fed to our publisher over a phone line and directly into their mainframe computer.