1923 Case Engine Restored

Retiree, Harold Stark, helps restore Noel Ertel's 65 HP Case engine No. 35637.

Six steam engines

Starting with the smallest, and working our way upward, the 1' scale model belongs to the Arden Talbert family of Minden, Nebraska, who put on a show with Harold Warp's Pioneer Village in the middle of August each year. The 2' scale belongs to Joe Dittrick of Kenesaw, Nebraska. Matheny thinks that Dittrick used Cole's castings for this model. The scale is the property of Gilbert Finnigsmier, also of Kenesaw. This engine is a Ternings engine. The 1/3 scale belongs to Robert and Benjamin Matheny of Kearney, Nebraska. The scale's owner is John Sanger of Franlin, Nebraska, and it was built by Tom Terning. And finally, the full size 191465 HP Case belongs to Robert Matheny. All models are working models running on wood and coal. 

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3215 S. Meridian St. Indianapolis, Indiana 46217

The following story describes the restoration of the Case engine pictured on the lower half of the back cover. ED.

This Gaar-Scott 18 HP double cylinder engine #15110 was built in 1915 in Richmond, Indiana. Owner is Noel Ertel of R.R., Metamora, Indiana, who regularly shows it at Darke County (Greenville, Ohio) and Pioneer Engineers Club (Rushville, Indiana) shows.

Photo was submitted by Harold I. Stark, 3215 S. Meridian St., Indianapolis, Indiana 46217. Stark tells the story of the restoration of another of Mr. Ertel's engines.

Six steam engines taken at the 4th annual Platte Valley Machinery and Antique Association Show in Kearney, Nebraska last June. The photo was sent by Bob Matheny, who provided the description of engines in the lineup:

The Noel Ertel's 65 HP Case engine #35637, with Harold Stark aboard. See article in this issue for Stark's account of the restoration of this engine. Ertel lives in Metamora, Indiana.

In August 1981 after the Rushville, Indiana Show, Mr. Noel Ertel of R.R. 1, Metamora, Indiana removed his 65 HP Case engine #35637 from a barn near Sunman, Indiana, where it had been idle some 15 years. Its last work was running a sawmill.

When Mr. Ertel retired in October 1980 from Hillenbrand Industries in Batesville, he decided restoring this engine would be his #1 retirement project. I had helped him in January 1980 making rims, guide bands, and spokes using original hubs to return his Gaar-Scott 18 HP (the engine on the front page of this issue) double cylinder engine #15110, made 1915 in Richmond, Indiana, to steel wheels. This replaced rubber tires.

He asked me to help him with restoring the 65 HP Case. I agreed as I had retired in October of 1980 from Allison Div. G.M.C. and thought it would be neat having a part in returning this engine to first class condition.

We thought everyone would be interested in all the tasks accomplished over a two year time span.

All 47 flues were replaced, all rust and grease was cleaned, smoke box ' in front of flue sheet was replaced; new grates, new ash pan with draft doors. Front wheel guide bands were missing, so new ones were rolled from 1' thick x 2' wide steel and fitted; rear drawbar was returned to original as some parts had been cut away to make firing easier in the sawmill. A Pickering governor replaced the Judson as it was quite worn. The LH rear axle collar and 1/4' pin was most difficult to remove as was the engine flywheel.

Both rear wheels were pulled out as far as possible to make cleaning and painting easier. A lot of time and elbow grease was spent in this endeavor.

The clutch pinion shaft sleeve and idler gear were bored, fitted with bronze bushings and rebored to fit shaft sizes with figure 8 oil grooves.

New coal bunkers with water tank were made by Mr. Harold Wood of Wallace, Nebraska and were obtained in November 1982 just before winter snowfall. This 1900 mile trip was made in 3 days. Mr. Wood suggested and furnished chrome plated hydraulic cylinder rod stock for a new piston and valve rods. Measurements were taken from Mr. Wood's 65 Case cab to build a new one to original Case dimensions. This was done and installed November 1983 just before pictures were taken, and the Case was put away for the winter.

Gaar-Scott in 3 sizes: In the back, Mr. Ertel's 18 HP #15110 (as on front cover); next, a size model of it built by Mr. Stark; in the foreground, a 1/12 size model of a 32 HP heavy plow gear engine also built by Stark.

The boiler and all engine parts were painted with 3 coats in 1982 and striped. Even the Case eagle on the smoke box door was done in the Case colors and stand proud.

All the plumbing was replaced, brass items polished, boiler was hydrostatic tested to 305 P.S.I, prior to steaming for the first time in 17 years in September 1982.

This engine was manufactured by J. I. Case in 1923 per the serial #35637. It was not sold until 1924 as Mr. Ertel has the bill of sale listing this engine, a water tank, and separator-thresher.

We took some pictures every week or so to record the progress from start to finish and gave them to Mr. Ertel so he could look back in time and see what the old girl was before we breathed new life into her.

Now we expect some critical comments from J. I. Case 'Experts' on the yellow pin striping, but this engine had it as original. Under the grease on the engine frame was the yellow over green, this was carefully sanded thru, and no evidence of white over green was found nor indication that it had ever been repainted.

Mr. Ertel and myself are very proud of the completed engine, and I am happy that he asked me to assist him with this project.