Lovers of steam and antique equipment lost some dear friends

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Tom Downing, of Ellwood City, Pa. submitted this photo of the late Lee Brown, of Perry Township. Downing said it appears Brown had just left his home farm at the top of the hill, on what is now Armstrong Road. He is driving a Fordson tractor and towing a wooden Frick thresher.

Hello, friends of steam everywhere.

Not much activity in the hobby of late, even though the weather as been blessedly warm so far this winter, but lots of winter to go at this point.

Several readers have asked about articles (or the lack of them), so I thought I’d try to grind out some news. My health has been giving me some trouble lately as I am now on dialysis three days a week. Sort of takes a chunk out of the day, but not much physical stress. The most surprising thing is the way it has affected my mental processes. Lots to do, but hard to set priorities.

Circle of life

In addition to that, the Grim Reaper has been busy lately in my circle of friends. We have mentioned the loss of Allen Bupp Jr. and Sr. this fall, and the sudden and shocking loss of our trucker and long time buddy Jim Lewandowski. He was our major go-to guy for hauling steamers and other heavy loads. He was especially fond of crawlers, especially Internationals. We are still trying to figure how to replace him in several fields.

We also just lost toy magnate Charlie Baird of Beaver Falls. Charlie was perhaps better known nationally than locally, even though he founded a local toy show, too. He designed and hand built some six model combines, which were on display at the funeral home, along with seven of his collected Oliver tractors out on the lawn, and a Farmall for good measure.
His friends and family really gave him a grand send-off.

I got a chance to shake hands and chat briefly with Sam Moore at the funeral home. His “Let’s Talk Rusty Iron” articles continue to be remarkable, like the recent one on the Pontiac tractor. Shame there isn’t one Pontiac left to play with, but with low production, numbers and an early design, it is not really surprising.

Meanwhile, time moves on, with various building projects at the several show grounds, paperwork for the year end and so on. I don’t know of many steam projects underway, but JS Company tells me they have lots of business lined up ahead, so some engines are being restored.

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