A Typical Monday - Many Moons Ago

First attempts to convert from steam to gasoline power

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Geigertown, Pennsylvania 19523

Dear Anna May and Walt Townsend McNabb, Illinois You have a request in Nov. & Dec. GEM for letters from some old timers experiences of yester-years.

The year is in the twenties. I am old enough to remember the activities going on during an average day on a small business place of a wheelwright shop, saw mill, shingle mill, and cider press. My Dad bought everything in 1921 and operated all of this, different parts of the year.

Otis Astle of Oxford, Pennsylvania operating his 20-40 Case with opposed motor. One of the first attempts to convert from steam to gasoline power. Tractor has a steam engine style governor. Seen at Rough & Tumble Reunion, 1975, Kinzers, Pa.

Picture of a device made to fit a Model T Ford car, so it could be used for pulling sulky plow or other farm machinery. On the hub cap it reads [PULL-FORD]. Does anyone have one and who made it? Would like some information on it. I recently bought it up at Cozy Corners, Wisconsin.

Horses and wagons are here unloading logs. The pile is fairly high in June and July. Dad would mark each log as to the way they were to be sawed with the owner's initials.

Now the saw mill was oiled and oil cups of the engine filled in the 15 hp. screen cooled IHC engine batteries connected clutch pulled and gas pumped up in the bowl at the carburetor. Mother, brother, sister and dad are all pulling on the flywheels to start the days work sawing. With several revolutions the engine was running and Dad would engage the clutch on the engine. Then he drove big wooden wedges in back of the engine to tighten the belt.

By dinner time a big pile of lumber was piled along the lane or piled on a waiting wagon and Dad would measure the board feet and charge $10 for sawing 100C feet.

Most all the lumber was sawed at local mills, and planed where finish work required it. Lumber was shipped to Elverson and Birdsboro by steam locomotives, but wherever possible to use their own logs for lumber, local people did.

Dinner might be a little late on Monday. Mother was up in the wheelwright shop washing. She carried all the hot water from the cook stove from the house to the shop because a 3 hp. Famous IHC was hooked to a line shaft for wheelwright machinery and the washing machine could be run for nothing on the days Dad worked in the shop.

Mother started the Famous while turning the whole line shaft because it had no clutch on engine. The lineshaft had wood bearings. So you engine collectors can see mother had muscles in her right arm.

Then she would carry the wash down the lane past the saw mill to hang it up in the back of the house. We might have fried mush and molasses and home fried potatoes and pork for dinner. The home fried potatoes are ones cooked the day before and sliced and browned before we ate them. This saved some time on a busy day.

We will eat in the dining room today in July when it is 90°. With the cook stove burning wood to make dinner it is about 110° or more in the kitchen.

We have no electric, no ice man, so we enjoy good cold water piped from a local reservoir. We are lucky we have a battery radio, but we can't listen to it at dinner. We will wait till evening so we can all have time to listen to it. And thank goodness it is Monday. Mother won't put us kids in the wooden wash tub in the kitchen for our weekly bath.

Well now, Mother has the wash up and Dad is rested after dinner so they chased me out of the saw dust pile and every available help is pulling at the flywheels of the IHC to finish the afternoon sawing.

Dad must get that pile of logs sawed because he has to run the cider press in September with the 15 hp. IHC. He sawed the shaft off from the water wheel. He put a long shaft and pulley to the cider press so the engine can run both. The water turbine would not run a complete day on the cider press because of lack of water.

After supper we might go to the back of the mill dam for a swim. This is an old time story for one day. I hope it will interest you.