110 Case Engine Restoration and Other Engines

A reader shares memories of his interactions with Harold Ottaway, owner of a 110 Case engine, and photos of other assorted steam traction engines.

50-bottom plowing demonstration

June 28, 2003 at the National Threshers Reunion in Wauseon, OH. Spectators are crowded around the 25 HP, 30 HP, and 36 HP Rumely engines that have just finished plowing with a 50-bottom John Deere plow.

Kevin Small

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Reader Kevin Small of Portersville, PA chimes in again this issue, sending along memories of Harold Ottaway inspired by Chady Atteberry's article Steam Traction Engine Shows at Joyland Park in the March/April 2004 issue. Kevin writes:

I really enjoyed Chady Atteberry's article on Harold Ottaway and the Joyland Park shows in the March/April 2004 Steam Traction. I would like to add a little history about the 110 HP Case that Harold owned.  

I wrote a letter to Harold on a cold winter day in 1988 asking him about the early shows at Joyland and the 110 Case. A month or so later, Harold replied with a nice letter and some photos.

Harold bought the Case engine from H.M. Jones of Little Falls, Minn., in 1952. Jones did not own the 110, but he had the authority to sell it. Jones also owned a road-building company. He had a 110 boiler mounted on truck wheels that he moved from job to job to heat road oil.

This 1912 110 HP Case, no. 28654, sat at Mildred, MN, which was a small community just north of Pine River, MN. The 110 was last used on a sawmill. The mill was pretty well rotted out, but the engine was nice and fairly complete.

Harold wrote a letter to the Case company in 1952 and got a short history on the engine. This 110 was originally shipped to the Case branch house in Minot, ND in 1912. Jones told Harold that around 1944, his friend had bought the engine in the Minot area and had it shipped on a railroad flatcar to Mildred, MN. Jones also said they had a 24-inch brush plow that would plow under small trees up to 4 inches in diameter and the 110 pulled this plow at various times. Harold saw the plow in 1952, but he did not buy it. Harold then hauled the 110 home to Wichita, KS using the two trucks.

The engine was complete, but the water tank, coalbunkers, and the locomotive cab were replaced. The late Lloyd Cox helped the Ottaways with the engine restoration. Lloyd spent most of his life around 110 Case engines and put the engine to work on the prony brake and other demonstrations at Joyland every year.

The 110 was shown from 1952-1959. Then it was stored in Wichita for some 30 years. The 110 was purchased in 1989 by John Tysse of Crosby, ND, and Bill Krumweide of Voltaire, ND. It has returned to the Minot, ND, area and is shown each year at the Crosby show.

I was honored to meet Harold Ottaway for the first time at the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion at Rollag, MN in 1992. Harold had his 45-90 Emerson-Brantingham tractor on display for the "150 Years of Case" Expo. We talked a lot about the early Joyland shows and the 110 Case. Thank you Chady, for sharing your wonderful memories of Harold Ottaway and Joyland Park with us through the pages of Steam Traction.

I would also like to mention that in the August/September 1992 Engineers & Engines magazine article "150 Years of Case," Richard Rorvig of Rothsay, MN wrote, "H.M. Jones saved more steam engines from the cutting torch than any man I know of. I am sure the numbers would go well into the hundreds as he bought and sold engines to collectors as fast as he could so as to save as many engines as possible. I bought my first 25 HP Case from him for $225 at a profit for him of only $15. This certainly indicated where his priorities were."

Richard Rorvig is also a man who deserves honorable mention for being one of the early collectors of steam engines in the mid-1950s and early 1960s. Richard restored the only surviving 1907 45 HP Minneapolis tandem-compound steam engine for the late Norman Pross and he also worked on several other steam engine restorations of his own. Richard is an outstanding credit to our steam hobby.

I’ll describe the photos I sent:

The first shows the 1912 110 HP Case engine, no. 28654, in 1980 when it was moved from the amusement park to storage east of Wichita, KS.

The second and third are of a 1915 32-120 HP Reeves cross-compound Canadian Special. The engine, no. 7181, is located at the Tyler Ranch in Moore, MT.  It’s one of the favorites of my good friend Gary Yaeger of Kalispell, MT. After a long talk with Gary and the late Max Tyler, it became one of my favorite engines, too.

Herman Otten of Glengassy, Mont., bought the engine brand new in 1915 for $3,200 and used it for plowing. Then it was sold to a Mr. Lewis who used it in a sawmill. The late Charlie Tyler bought it in the summer of 1956. This engine is in 99 percent original condition with the exception of the two front sections of the boiler jacket around the barrel. The canopy was also repaired and some repainting was done, and Tyler also added an extra set of extension wheels.

In regards to Reeves boilers, I'd like to ask if any readers of Steam Traction have any information on the Titusville Iron Works. They built boilers for the later Canadian Special Reeves engines. All of the surviving 32 HP Canadian Specials and the Smolik brothers' 40 HP Reeves have Titusville boilers.

I would like to know when they started to supply Reeves with their boilers. Also, any specifications of Titusville boilers compared to Broderick boilers would be helpful. If anyone has any information on the Titusville Iron Works, I would sure like to read about it in Steam Traction.

The fourth photo was taken on June 28, 2003 right after a 50-bottom plowing demonstrations by 25 HP, 30 HP, and 36 HP Rumely engines at the National Threshers Reunion Expo. It was the150th Anniversary of the Rumely Co. Congratulations to the NTA and Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag, MN. The show was a grand success!

The fifth photo was taken at the Michigan Steam Engine and Threshers Club Reunion in Mason, Mich., in 2004. An 1890 6 HP Advance, no. 1196, owned by Lange Somerville and a 1905 12 HP Advance, no. 9824, owned by Tim Somerville, of Mason, Mich. Both engines are restored perfectly.

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