Antique Acres in Action

Antique Acres members

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Route 2 Sumner, Iowa 50674

Antique Acres members on hand for the unloading of the Filer-Stowell, Wolf-Linde steam engine-compressor were from left to right: Harold Pries, Pat Donovan, Charlie Robinson, Gary Kupka, Dean Brandt, Warren Bellinger, and from Shirey Co., Larry Lovell and Mark Distler.

1987 will see a new addition to the collection of 'Heavy Antiques' shown at the annual August power show. The membership has become proud owners of a Filer-Stowell steam engine, coupled directly to a Wolf-Linde ammonia compressor.

The engine-compressor combination was purchased in November of 1985 at the Rath Packing Co. liquidation auction at Waterloo, Iowa. Removal took place during the fall of 1986.

The Rath Packing Co. was founded in 1891 and was at one time one of the largest employers in the Waterloo, Cedar Falls, area. During the early '40s and into the '50s, the plant employed over 5200 men and women, and slaughtered 2,500,000 animals per year. Wages paid averaged over $7,200,000.00 per year during this period.

The Filer-Stowell, Wolf-Linde unit, installed in 1913, was a vital part of the refrigeration system at the plant and ran continuously until the '50s when it was used as a pump down machine.

Because of the influence the Rath Co. had on the metro area through the years and the large number of people who worked for the company, the members of Antique Acres thought it very important to preserve this vital part of the company's heritage. This way future generations may be able to view the engine in operation and realize the many ways steam power made America grow and prosper.

When erected, the machine will be at home with two other Corliss engines, a 450 HP Murrey and a 225 HP Bates.