Bob Hornsby

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Sm JS Bob Hornsby.jpg

Former BLS Secretary, Eastern USA Region from 1978 until 1998.


Bob wrote the following to IBLS on 7 April 2013.

  • I was secretary from about 1978 to 1998 (98 for certain). When Carl Purinton and I attended the first IBLS meet at the Los Angeles Live Steamers, I was secretary. And it wasn’t too long before that when I took over – about 1978.
  • I replaced the late Barney Barnfather.
  • Keith Taylor replaced me. No one replaced Keith because information was so readily available on the internet that Keith resigned as did the others.
  • As for the articles I wrote for Live Steam magazine and Modeltec magazine, I can’t remember them. I wrote one last year for Live Steam about the incompatibility of couplers, but I was not secretary. I remember writing one about the back-to-back wheel dimension for the 7-1/4” gauge people. This issue was eventually solved. I remember writing one about how the 7-1/2 inch gauge mix-up got started. Unfortunately, I do not remember which magazine I wrote certain articles for or when. I do know that I wrote several articles. I corresponded with many. Sorry I could not be of more help to you in this respect.

Here is a history of the BLS secretaries on the east coast. It stared with Carl Purinton until 1962. Then Edgar (Ed) Kruckeberg 1962 to 1972. Then Barney Barnfather from 1972 to 1978. Then me from 1978 until 1998. Lastly it was Keith Taylor from 1998 until 2004).

As for other BLS-IBLS secretaries, I know Austin Barr was secretary for the southern area which was an unofficial area. This happened because Barney said something that upset many in the south so they elected Austin Barr. He retired from that position after I became secretary. I well remember other BLS secretaries but their names slip my memory. I recall Dwight Durkee and Harry Dixon on the west coast. There was a gent in Canada who held the position for some time. The name Jack Kerr rings a bell. When he stepped down because of health issues, no one replaced him. Actually, I need a memory refresher! I can’t remember the names in the central part of the BLS region. I would know names if I heard them.

I’ve known Carl Purinton since 1964. We traveled the country to various live steam club meets. Carl was a neighbor many years. He introduced me to the Live Steam Hobby and helped me build my first locomotive. Because Carl and I were so close, I learned the history of the Live Steam hobby in the USA, around the world and became familiar with many old timers, having had the pleasure of meeting many of them.

From Bob Hornsby, 27 April 2013:

If you are injecting some humor into the hobby, here is a photo for you. It was June of 1969. Dick Symmes and I took our 3-1/2” gauge locos to the New Jersey Live Steamers spring meet. Apparently, someone stopped us and asked for a photo. Here it is. Dick is on his locomotive with his tongue out and I am acting silly. To this day, I don’t know who took the photo, nor can I remember why we stopped for the photo.
Bob Hornsby and Dick Symmes pause for a light moment in 1969. Photo courtesy of Bob Hornsby.

From Richard Symmes, 27 April 2013:

I remember this trip to the NJLS track very well because it was the weekend that Judy Garland died. It was all over the newspapers. I had seen her in person the year before, when she played the Back Bay Theater in Boston.
I just saw my locomotive run today at Dick Boucher's track in Georgetown, Mass. Larry Urbanski is the current owner. It ran ok, but had some issues. I first purchased it from Al Rothermel in 1967. He completed it in 1948 from Friend's castings. So it has some history to it.