Blumentritt Steam Traction Engine

A rare and unusual Blumentritt steam traction engine from the collection of James Sylling
Bill Vossler
November 2011
Add to My MSN

James Sylling working with an 1876 Blumentritt engine for the 1952 centennial at Spring Grove, Minn.
Photo courtesy Dagny Sylling

Content Tools

Related Content

Homemade Ice Cream and Old Iron

The old iron hobby and homemade ice cream are a match made in heaven.

Rare Steam Engines

Steam traction engines featured at the Cedar Valley Memories show in Osage, Iowa.

Christmas on the Farm in the 1940s

Sam Moore reminisces about Christmas on the farm, growing up in the 1940s.

Great Times with Great Finds

The new Farm Collector special collector’s edition tells the good stories of Great Finds.

Among the treasures in James Sylling’s collection was an unusual steam traction engine: a Blumentritt, manufactured by Joe Blumentritt in Winona County, Minn. Blumentritt began at age 20 by building a 6 hp portable steam engine moved by oxen or horses, but his goal was to build an engine capable of moving under its own power. In the meantime, he designed traction gears and steering devices and made other improvements on the 6 hp portable.

Blumentritt built a large earthen dam on the creek on his property. With installation of a water wheel, he had power for his shop. He also made all of his own tools and dies. Eventually he built 6-, 12- and 24-hp double-cylinder Blumentritt steam traction engines that were operated from the side and fired from the front. “These engines were the first traction engines built west of the Mississippi River,” says Jack Norbeck in Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines. Very, very few Blumentritts are left today. FC

Post a comment below.


First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Every month Farm Collector brings you:

  • Windmills to cream separators
  • Hog oilers to horse-drawn equipment
  • Implements to engines to farm toys

If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.