For as long as I can remember, I've had a fascination for steam engines. At every tractor show, I'm drawn to these big behemoths of iron and smoke. I love these pieces of old iron. "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder" is the saying that comes to mind. I believe every steam engine I see is beautiful.
Steam engine hooked up to a threshing machine at the 2015 NEMO Old Threshers Show, Shelbina, MO.
At one time, my stepdad thought that he wanted a steam engine. However, over the years he has gotten to where he doesn't like to be around the smoke that billows out of them. So now he pretty much steers clear of them.
At the tractor shows, I love to hear the engines blow their whistles at noon. It takes you back to the good old days when the blow of the whistle let the farm hands know when it was lunch time. The days of the threshing crews have ended years ago. I'm betting that it would be hard for me today to find someone that worked on those crews all those decades ago.
I see quite a few half-scale and sometimes quarter-scale steam engines at the shows. It's amazing that someone has taken the time to build them. They look and work just a well as their full-size counterparts. Sometimes I think that I would rather own a half-scale instead of a full-size steam engine!
I must be honest. I am clueless in the operation of these machines. I'm really kind of ashamed to say that, especially when I go to a show and I see young kids helping in the operation and maintaining of these steam engines, both full-size and half-scale models. They have the advantage, though. They're in a family that operates them, so these youngsters have someone that guides them along and supervises them so that he or she knows what to do.
I feel like I'm missing out on something special. Not everyone has the chance to work on or around these machines. Not everyone has the interest. I would love to go to a steam engine school and learn. There are several held every year, but all are out of state. I would love for one to be held here in Missouri, close to home. Maybe someday I'll be lucky enough to attend one. Maybe someday, someone won't mind showing a middle-aged woman the ropes on how to operate and maintain one. You've got to start somewhere in order to gain experience, right?
2015 NEMO Old Threshers Show, Shelbina,MO.