2013 Steam Schools

Learn the basics on steam engine operation by attending a steam school in 2013.
By Beth Beavers
February 2013
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Instructor Butch Biesecker talks safety with students.
Photo Courtesy Rough & Tumble Engineers Historical Assn.
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Seven steam schools will put steam engines front and center this year, connecting those with a fascination with steam engines to the resources and education to turn their interest into a new hobby.

Steam schools place a special emphasis on safety, focusing on the ins and outs of safe operation and maintenance basics. Experienced steam engineers provide instruction in classroom settings before moving to hands-on instruction. If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to register – most courses fill quickly. Whether you’re new to the hobby or a seasoned veteran, these courses provide invaluable experience and lessons to help keep old iron alive and safe for everyone involved. FC 

Did we miss your club’s steam school? Contact Beth Beavers at bbeavers@ogdenpubs.com or 1-800-682-4704 to get your club included in future listings. 

Illinois 

13th Annual Central States Threshermen’s Steam School 
When: May 18-19 
Where: Threshermen’s Reunion Park, Pontiac 
Tuition: $50 ($40 for additional family members)

The course is designed for beginning and intermediate engineers, with an emphasis on safe engine operation. Camping, coffee, donuts, lunch both days and all classroom materials are included. Class size is limited to 50; must register by May 1. 

For more information: Bob Stadsholt, 717 Lara Rd., Normal, IL 61761; (309) 452-8223 (home) or (309) 838-9902 (cell); email: bstads@comcast.net.

Iowa 

Midwest Old Threshers Reunion Steam School 
When: May 4-5 
Where: Midwest Old Threshers show grounds, Mt. Pleasant 
Tuition: $50 

The course stresses classroom and hands-on experience. Materials and two noon meals are included. 

For more information: Terry McWilliams, Public Relations and Marketing, 405 E. Threshers Rd., Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641; (319) 385-8937; email: info@oldthreshers.org.

Heritage Park of North Iowa13th Annual Steam Engineer School 
When: May 18-19 
Where: Heritage Park of North Iowa, Forest City 
Tuition: $40 

Materials, breakfast, lunch and refreshments are included. Free primitive camping is also available. A test similar to the test required by the State of Minnesota for a Hobby Steam Engineer’s License will be administered at the conclusion of the seminar but is not mandatory. Class size is limited to 50. Online registration available. 

For more information: Jerred Ruble, Director of Shows, Heritage Park of North Iowa, 754 342nd St., Hanlontown, IA 50444; (641) 797-2697; email: ruble@wctatel.net.

Minnesota 

Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion/University of Rollag Steam School 
When: June 15-16 
Where: Steamer Hill, Rollag 
Tuition: $50 

The course stresses classroom instruction and hands-on experience using a wide range of steam equipment, including stationary, traction, miniature and railroad engines. The class is certified for Minnesota, North Dakota and Ohio steam hobby licenses. WMSTR is the only training approved by the State of Minnesota not provided by a state-run entity. Materials and two meals are included. Class size is limited to 70; early enrollment is suggested as the course typically fills by May 1.

For more information: Tom Hall, University of Rollag, PO Box 999, Moorhead, MN 56561; (218) 233-1771.

Pennsylvania 

Rough & Tumble Engineers Historical Assn. Steam School 
When: May 18 and June 1 
Where: Rough & Tumble grounds, Kinzers 
Tuition: $75 

The course emphasizes safety, maintenance, operation and hands-on experience. Classroom time is half of the first day, with remaining time dedicated to practical hands-on experience, including cleaning, inspection, maintenance and operation. Students will be introduced to operating railroad engines, a steam roller and various steam traction equipment. All materials are included. Class size is limited to 28, age 14 and older; applications are being accepted now; early application is suggested as school fills quickly. Must be a Rough & Tumble member or join prior to steam school. 

For more information: John Johnson (717) 442-4249; email: steamschool@comcast.net.

Virginia 

Somerset Steam & GasEngine Assn. 15th Annual  Somerset Steam School 
When: April 13-14 
Where: Fairfield View Dairy Farm, 14375 Blue Ridge Turnpike, Somerset 
Tuition: $75 

The course is divided into classroom and hands-on sessions with a focus on education, familiarization and safety in operation and maintenance of steam engines and boilers. All materials and two noon meals are included. Class size is limited to 20. 

For more information: Gil Roberts, PO Box 492, Somerset, VA 22972; (540) 672-3429; email: info@somersetsteamandgas.org.

Wisconsin 

Wisconsin Historical Steam Engine Assn. Steam School 
When: Sept. 27-29 
Where: Rock River Thresheree show grounds, Edgerton 
Tuition: $65 

Subjects include steam theory, boiler construction, safety, maintenance and operation with hands-on experience. All materials, coffee, donuts, and lunch on Saturday and Sunday are included. Free primitive camping is available on the show grounds. The American Society of Power Engineers test will be offered (but is not mandatory) on Sunday for an additional fee of $55. Class size is limited to 50; preregistration is required. 

For more information: Jeff Bloemers, Wisconsin Historical Steam Engine Assn. Steam School, W 4597 County Road F, Waldo, WI 53093; (920) 287-1146; email: jwbsteam@gmail.com.


— All Photos Courtesy Rough & Tumble Engineers Historical Assn., Rough & Tumble.

Beth Beavers is the associate editor at Farm Collector and Gas Engine Magazine. Contact her by email at bbeavers@ogdenpubs.com or find her on . 


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