Tuesday, December 29, 2009

McCormick-Deering Engine

This little throttle governed engine is an education in motion. The advances in gas engines during the early Twentieth Century made the operation of farm engines progressively easier for farmers, and this engine has a few important improvements to note. It uses a sparkplug instead of an ignitor, which is a much simpler system to maintain. Most hit-and-miss gas engines had only a mixing valve, but this throttle governed engine has a real carburetor. If you examine the plumbing you will note that the carburetor does not use a float, but it has an overflow line that takes gasoline back to the fuel tank. The crankcase is enclosed, but you should note the grease cups which are visible. Type M's, which were introduced in 1917 had a dry crankcase, and the bearings were lubricated by grease cups. There are still plenty of exposed moving parts to oil, and I think the most interesting gizmo is the handle on the fuel pump, which can be used to push fuel to the carburetor when it is dry.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Not My Victrola

Just in case you will be partying on New Year's Eve, an easy Fox-Trot is in order to practice your dance floor coordination. "What Could Be Sweeter" is courtesy of YouTuber 240252.

Here It Comes Again!

Back To The Old Grind!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Bonus Posting!

A banjo picker was at the party last Sunday, and unfortuantely, I missed most of his playing. I did manage to sit down and catch his last song before he put away his banjo.

Dahlgren's Got The Spirit!

We came home through the little town of Dahlgren Wednesday night and stopped to admire the old depot. Nice.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Apple Butter Party

Back in November, the next-door neighbors had their second annual apple butter get-together for friends and neighbors. It was an all day event that began with peeling,

Then, cooking in a copper kettle over an open fire.

Mrs. TBS took her turn stirring.

The Master of Ceremonies demonstrates how you check the consistency of apple butter.

Jars were filled,
and divided up among all the participants. Mrs. TBS pressure-cooked them after she got home, so they will keep. I feel a bit Plutocratic every morning with this delicacy on my toast.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Weekend Steam

Southern Pacific 4449 just made a Holiday Express run in Portland, Oregon, and it is a beautiful sight to behold. Watch the joggers. A lady jogger makes a couple turnarounds to scope out the locomotive, but the guy in the green shirt doesn't break stride at all to admire the steamer. I have always heard that a man can't resist looking at a beautiful woman, or a locomotive. As a happily married man, I have learned to avert my eyes at the proper moment for other women, but never for a steam engine. I am wondering about that guy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Crankin' It Up

This week we are highlighting another Puritone Christmas record, "Oh Holy Night" performed by Charles Hilton and the Harmony Quartet. Christmas is just one week away!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Some Good Advice Here...

This is a great old song by Eddie Cantor, one of the greatest entertainers ever; and he has sound advice for folks who would like to keep their lives in good order. This song has been one of my favorites for a very long time.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Not A Trace Is Left

This old hand colored photo used to hang in the farm house in the picture. I was looking at it recently, and tried to figure out when it was taken. My dad bought a 1951 Hudson in 1957, so I know it was before that, when we were riding in a Plymouth. I can see an open spot next to the catalpa grove where dad burned some outdated farm machinery; our milk cow; our New Idea corn picker;...and a tree that I remember my dad cutting down when I was a little guy.

That photo was taken before July 5, 1954, when this black and white picture was taken. The smell of this tree being cut up is one of my early memories. I wasn't quite three years old, but this event stuck in my head.

I took this photo in the late 1980's on a visit to the old home place. The corn crib was the last building left on our farm. That's Dad, EJ, and Mrs. TBS inside the crib. During my recent visit with Mom up in Iowa we drove by the farm but didn't stop to take any pictures. It is all just an open farm field now, without any sign that families once lived here.
This row of white pines was just north of the home site. I enjoy looking at this photo every winter, so I can remember how cold that old house was. I'm as sentimental as anyone about the good old days, but we sure are living more comfortably with insulation and high efficiency furnaces.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Studebaker Wagon

Our friend Duane, at Boonville, Indiana (Star of the Fairbanks engine videos.) showed a couple of nice old Studebakers this year. This 1957 wagon is extremely rare, and in very good original condition. It has the 289 V-8 engine.

The dashboard was a treat to behold. The switches are off in the middle, and up or down for high and low. The 1958 Studebaker Hawk I had long ago had the same type of switches. Just under the dashboard left of the steering wheel you can see the lockout for the overdrive. When I bought my Hawk, the first gear had been ripped out of the tranny, so I ordered a used one from Warshawsky in Chicago.. It was delivered by Railway Express, but the overdrive unit was shorter than the unit on my car. I learned how to disassemble a standard transmission, and overdrive unit, and put them back together so I could have wheels. My Hawk had a 4-barrel carburetor, and that made the engine more powerful than the drive train was engineered. If you floored it in high gear it would slip the 10-inch clutch. I guess that was OK, because it kept me from abusing my little hot rod. Anyway, it was good to see a vintage Studebaker that wasn't rusted out; they were bad about that.

Monday, December 14, 2009

How Are Those Carbon Credits Working Out?

I hope that all of the True Blue readers have been keeping up with the saga of the man-caused global warming fraud that was recently exposed. The main stream news people have been going on as if nothing has changed, and some in our Congress want to go after the whistle blowers. I have been watching the global warming hysteria with interest since it began because it affects the forestry profession. Twenty years ago I heard a presenter tell us that in fifty years, we would be growing mesquite in Illinois. We are almost halfway there, and I haven't heard any rumors of mesquite creeping north. If you are not alarmed by what is going on , watch the video above. The man asking questions at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference is a reporter with credentials to be in this meeting. He is shut down, ultimately by an armed guard so as not to embarass a global warming proseletyzer from Stanford University. It appears that the UN intends to cram carbon regulation down our throats by whatever means is necessary to line the pockets of the world's tyrants.

The Society of American Foresters has been blowing the bugle for man-caused global warming, too, and I am not alone in saying that the leaders in SAF have damaged the credibility of that organization. The leaders of SAF are deeply involved with universities and the US Forest Service, and government grants for research dollars have tempted the SAF away from common sense and sound science. There are many good reasons to grow trees, but I know that I can't change the world's climate by locking up carbon in timber. Trees are temporary, no matter how large and majestic they may grow. We can't come up with magical formulas to make forests "Sustainable." You can't cut more than you grow; it's that simple. The site, the weather, and the type of forest that grows there will determine how much is produced and the rotation schedule.

You might lock away carbon if you bury wood deep underground. This tree which was recently exposed may have been buried hundreds or thousands of years ago. Spruce logs are sometimes unearthed in glacial lakebeds in southern Illinois, buried in glacial outwash ten thousand or more years ago. The carbon in those trees may still be locked up, but on a geological time scale, it is just an interesting footnote.

Eventually the carbon based molecules will be displaced, and the wood will either rot or be replaced by stone. The logs in this petrified forest were buried in sediments, then eventually uplifted and exposed by erosion in a desert totally alien to the environment they grew in; and all that climate change happened before we came along.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Not My Victrola

Posted by Zefrenm over on YouTube.

Another Monday

Back To The Old Grind!


Mrs. TBS and I had important business up north this week, going up early one day, and returning the next. We were very lucky and were followed north by a southernly flow of warm air that held the blizzard off of Chicago until we exited stage south. EJ took us to a great pizzeria in LaGrange while we were visiting.

EJ has set up housekeeping in a new-to-him bungalow in one of the Chicago 'burbs. You will recognize the aluminum Christmas tree if you have listened to our Hoosier Hot Shots record that is down the page. That is his Columbia phonograph on the left end of the walnut table.

"Well, Old Man, do you know what this is?" I didn't.

"It's a record caddy, for your kind of records!" I must be slipping.
GSC asked about the woodwork in the bungalow in his comment. It is a charming home that has been altered very little since 1916 when it was built.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

65 Years Ago....

Click over to Theodore's World.

Weekend Steam

AndrzejMastalerz posted this interesting video. He did not provide much info, but I think it is safe to assume that these engines are on their way to a scrapper. The banging noise is not in time to the movement of the rods, so I think it is something hanging down and banging on the crossties.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Crankin' It Up

I tried to look up the date of "Oh Little Town of Bethelehem" on 78Discography, and the Puritone label is not listed. Because it is electrically recorded we know that it is no earlier than 1925. Straus & Schram was a Chicago based mail order store.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Close Shave

This pecan tree had a very close call. Last September we had a powerful thunderstorm roll over us, and luckily for this tree, it was well soaked by rain before a lightning bolt struck it. The wet bark conducted the strike down along the surface, and as far as we can tell, the inner bark and sapwood were not injured. Some of the outer bark was blown off, but no real damage is evident. I was on the internet at the time, and this tree is only about fifty feet from where I sit at our computer. A hit that close delivers a very impressive, but brief sound and light show. I unplugged the modem and the 'puter. Better late than never.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Hard Part

Regular readers know that I love tipping over trees; that's the fun part. After you have a tree on the ground, the hard part begins. Before we had a hydraulic splitter I loaded some pretty hefty chunks in the trailer for splitting at the house. Now we can park the splitter right next to the tree and make little ones out of big ones pretty fast; that makes processing much more tolerable. The worst part of the chainsaw business to me is cleaning up the sticks. Out in the woods you can just leave them lay, but in the yard the tree top has to be worked down, loaded up, and hauled out. We try to delay jobs like this one until late fall when the grass has quit growing. If you do one of these in the summer you have to put on a big push to do the cleanup, then smooth out the holes before the grass gets away from you.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tom Thumb

Way back when I was a teenager I saw an IHC Tom Thumb like this engine for sale... for the unattainable sum for me, of $35.00. I don't really know what collectors these days are paying for highly desirable engines like this one, but I do know that you would be hooted down if you offered only $1000. A Tom Thumb is still out of reach for me; some things never change.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Here Comes Monday!

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

We are really getting in a holiday mood at True Blue Sam. We looked up Christmas songs on YouTube and settled on a great Yogi Yorgesson Christmas song (posted by MickeyClark) that we know you will enjoy. If you want/need your very own Yogi CD to make it through the holidays, go to www.yogiyorgesson.com, and make the call. We bought the Yogi Yorgesson Christmas CD over the phone last year, and received great, speedy service from Mr. Howard; his phone number and e-mail address are on the Yogi website.

Easy Shopping

If you have a kid or adult who is hard to shop for, click on the Russell engine on the left sidebar and study the catalog for Kester's Collectables. George casts these wonderful toys in aluminum, cleans up the castings, paints and assembles them himself.

These toys are destined to become collectors' items in the future, and they are loved by kids, even in our computer age. George Kester does not do sales online, so you will have to peruse his website catalog, then call him to place your order. Christmas will be here soon, so place your order in time for George to paint your model and put it in the mail.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Weekend Steam

ChessieStorm is a YouTuber I ran across while looking for good steam videos. He has posted over 500 videos, mostly short ones showing a variety of rolling stock on the move. These three videos are of Union Pacific locomotive 3985 going up the Big Sandy Valley in Eastern Kentucky in November, 1992, as it traveled to Elkhorn City to pull the Santa Train on the Clinchfield. ChessieStorm captured some good sound. Steam whistles do sound good in the mountains.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Crankin' It Up

Christmas is only three weeks away, so we are going to help you get in the mood with a wonderful slide whistle rendition of Jingle Bells by the Hoosier Hot Shots! According to 78 Discography, the Hot Shots recorded this lively number on Novermber 17, 1936. The aluminum Christmas tree is from around 1960; the Brunswick is from around 1920; my warped musical tastes come from the 1950's. Merry Christmas! Say it often!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Spread A Little Christmas Cheer!

Soldiers' Angels is sending packages to 140,000 miltary personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they need your help! Click on the Wrapped in Holiday Spirit banner to donate. I saw on the news yesterday that APO and FPO packages need to be shipped this week to reach soldiers by Christmas, so do not delay.

November e-Postal Scores!

Danno has posted the results for the final Mr. Completely e-Postal Contest of 2009; click over to his blog and study the score sheet. Merle gets bragging rights for being the most enthusiastic entrant; he had twelve separate entries. If you have not been shooting these contests, start thinking about doing so next year. You will note when looking at the scores that you can shoot these contests with anything you have and your targets will be scored. A monthly trip to the shooting range will improve your skills and provide fun and fellowship with your range buddies, and the other online entrants.

Abenaque Engine

This beautiful Abenaque engine was featured by Engineering Johnson in a post nearly three years ago. We videoed it last September so we could share the mechnical entertainment with you. This engine is fired by an ignitor rather than a spark plug, so there are several extra parts dancing around at the end of the camshaft and on the head.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

This Baler Caught My Eye

This Minneapolis baler is a real jewel, and the owner keeps it in operating condition. Taking the baler to the hay or straw was a great advancement in farm technology, and it is amusing to watch machines such as this one at Boonville, Indiana being used as stationary balers to process the straw from threshing.

I did not realize that Minneapolis made a baler like this, powered by a V-4 Wisconsin engine, but it did not surprise me. It was kind of like running into a brother of an old friend.

My parents had a Minneapolis combine of the same vintage as the baler when I was just a little kid. It too was powered by a Wisconsin engine rather than a power take-off shaft from the tractor. I don't know for sure, but I think that these machines hit the market while there were still many tractors in the fields without a power take-off. The big problem Dad had with his machine was that chaff would collect under the metal shrouds around the air-cooled cylinders. The chaff had to be cleaned out on a daily basis when using these machines or the engine would overheat, and possibly catch fire.

That's Dad on the combine, my sister in front of it, and myself on the tractor seat. I ran a forage harvester for a major seed company every summer during my college years. It was a small custom built machine for harvesting alfalfa and clover research plots, and it was powered by a Wisconsin V-4. Every morning my routine included pulling the shrouds off the engine and cleaning out the chaff. It's funny how a lesson I learned before I was five years old stuck with me and came in handy many years later.