15 HP Keck-Gonnerman

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R.R. 13, Box 209 Brazil, Indiana 47834

David Weder, 16, and his sister Annie in front of their father's 18 HP Gaar Scott #14530 which they operated during the Highland, Illinois show. It is certainly nice to see teenagers take an active role in the steam hobby.

How many times have you driven several miles to a steam show to find the show has gotten smaller over the years, or the engines are not mechanically able to pull a load, much less put on a good steam show?

The show at Highland, Illinois, will not disappoint you. The group that puts on this show strives to have different engines and equipment at each year's show, and this year will be no exception.

1902 15 HP Keck-Gonnerman owned by Joe Graziana of Wood River, Illinois, at the Highland Show. This is the only 15 HP Keck-Gonnerman that is still around.

Highland had roots in steam long before steam was considered a hobby. One of the engines at the show that is a part of this history is an 18 HP Gaar Scott #14,530. The engine was purchased new by a Mr. Berker and was run for several years when it was decided that a new boiler was needed. The engine was taken to the Luetwiler Boiler Shop at Highland. Bert Luetwiler, who ran the shop, was a third generation boiler repairman who repaired all types of steam engines. A good amount of his business was the repair of Gaar Scott steam engines. The reason for this was due to the fact that sending an engine back to the Gaar Scott factory in Richmond, Indiana, to be rebuilt would mean an expensive railroad bill plus the cost of the repairs. As a result, Bert Luetwiler had a large stock of patterns to make new parts for most of the repairs needed on Gaar Scott engines. Mr. Luetwiler did many types of boiler repairs but did not build complete boilers, as many companies were still in the business of building new boilers.

Rick Apple of Castalian Springs, Tennessee, is one of the visiting engineers and is doing something he truly enjoys running a 22 HP Keck-Gonnerman on a good pull at Highland, Illinois.

In 1937, Gaar Scott #14,530 was mounted on a brand new boiler built by Murray Boiler Works of Kentucky. The cost of boiler and Luetwiler's labor to mount the engine on the new boiler was $800.

In 1956, Gaar Scott #14,530 was sold at auction to Erwin Weder of Highland, Illinois. The engine is now owned by Don Weder, who is Erwin's son. The engine is now shown at the Highland Show by Don's children, David and Annie Weder. Not many teenagers would want to be on a hot dirty steam engine for three days (especially a teenage girl!). This brother and sister proved they are more than equal to the task. Annie tried her hand at driving some of the other makes of engines at the show. The sawmill at Highland makes the dust fly all three days of the show. The head sawyer, Joe Graziana, keeps a good variety of steam power belted to the mill.

A couple of Okie steam engineers lend a hand at Highland. Chady Atteberry of Blackwell, Oklahoma, is on top of the Harrison threshing machine. Steve Dunn of Cleveland, Oklahoma, is on the ground.

Highland, an equal opportunity show, proves it by letting in engines with that four-letter word, Case. Jim Russell of Oblong, Illinois, on his father's 50 HP Case engine.

Part of the steam line up at last year's Highland show. The members bring different engines each year, plus the show should have a few engines which are new to the area.

The show has a medium sized rock crusher which can certainly test the mettle of a steam engine. It seems the crusher can be started easier with a double cylinder engine than a single cylinder. One engineer at Highland who belted his single cylinder engine to the rock crusher and was starting it from a dead stop, thought he had mistakenly belted up to a tree.

The Highland Show is fortunate to have a good field for steam plowing and several plow engines are there to make good use of the field.

Illinois law requires that a boiler inspection be done every two years. The inspection is done by the district boiler inspector, who works for the state fire marshal. A new twist to the inspections is that the boiler inspectors are now using ultrasonic testers at the inspections. I do not foresee the boiler inspectors giving the 'kiss of death' to very many boilers based on these tests; however I expect some engine owners to become much more aware of their boiler condition.

About half of the engines at Highland were due for inspection last year, and all of the engines passed with flying colors. The exhibitors at Highland do not mind the yearly visit of the boiler inspector, as the engines are regularly maintained and are routinely washed out.

If you want to attend the best steam show in west central or southern Illinois, don't miss the Highland Show September 11-13, 1998. You won't be disappointed!