Kitten Reports on Kitten

Kitten engine

Renus Urbelhor

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Jerry Kitten, of Slaton, Texas, who is a 'triple great nephew' of steam engine business founder Florens Kitten, is digging into the past and coming up with a lot of information about Kitten engines.

For one thing, he has a copy of the patent papers issued to Florens dated August 20, 1889, for 'new and useful improvements to steam-boilers'. Kitten stated:

'My invention relates to an improvement in steam-boilers; and the objects of my invention are to place inside the fire-box a fire shield formed of a plate or water-bars, so as to compel the products of combustion to pass from the grate-bars in the rear end of the fire-box forward toward the front end of the boiler, and then upward and back under the crown-sheet and forward through the flues; to secure the crown-sheet of the boiler, made of a single piece, to the fuel-head at its rear edge and to the top of the front wall of the fire-box at its front one, and to construct a boiler which will generate a greater quantity of steam in a certain time and with a certain quantity of fuel than other furnaces of the same size.'

He asserted that the boiler was 'especially adapted for traction-engines' but also 'suitable for any and all places where a boiler is needed'.

Jerry has sent us pictures and information, showing that the earliest Kitten boiler had the exhaust in front, with no steam dome; the second one had exhaust in back, no steam dome, and half-canopy, and the third had a steam dome with exhaust in back. He also sent a copy of a photo showing a portable engine next to Florens' house, with a steam dome.

Jerry understands that some company 'filed' against Florens for making a reverse flue, 'but as it turned out Florens had the patent!' He has sent along the directions for setting the slide for the Kitten, as sent out by the factory. It follows:

Directions for Setting Slide Valve

Set Pitman to center forwards and backwards and get slide valve rod to a stand still. If the pitman stays below center when the slide valve rods stands still, then the eccentric stand must be lowered.

'If the rod stands still when pitman is above center, then the stand must be raised. If the slide valve has too much lead or opens too much on center, then the reverse bar must be made longer or the reverse stand must be raised.'

When adjusting the opening of the slide, Jerry advises Kitten owners, the slide should be open half-way. He says that the accuracy of the casting for the opening varies to some extent but the makers were trying to get a half-inch-wide opening and half of that is one-quarter. So, he says, the one-quarter-inch opening of the slide valve should be the same in all four positions.

He adds: 'When it is timed right, the second notch makes the Kitten sound as though it has TWO engines.' He calls it 'tricky design in the valve system.'

If you need help, call him. His number is (806) 828-6244. He's with Kitten-Mosely Fertilizer & Supply, Inc., Rt. 2, Box 6, Slaton, Texas 79364.


Year Mfg




Kitten-Mosely Fertilizer, Slaton, Texas


Leroy McClure, Colchester, Illinois


Lloyd Sanders, Kokomo, Indiana


Lawrence Troesch, St. Meinrod, Indiana


Al New, Pendleton, Indiana



Eiffel Plasterer, Huntington, Indiana


Lubbock County Museum, Lubbock, Texas


Graveyard Headstone



Billy Kennedy, Grafton, Ohio



Robert Lerly, Mountville, Pennsylvania



Paul Stolzfoos, Leola, Pennsylvania






Neil McClure, Colchester, Illinois






Hubert Reynolds, Boonville, Indiana






Bill Ruttledge, Dyer, Indiana



R. E. Alexander, Bourbon, Missouri



Wallace Freeman, Kentucky



Eiffel Plasterer, Huntington, Indiana



Edaville Railroad, South Carver, Massachusetts



Charles Scafer, Argus, Indiana



Eiffel Plasterer, Huntington, Indiana

Above is Jerry Kitten's listing of Kitten engine owners - so far, he has located 20 of the engines, and is still looking, so let him know if you are aware of others. All of the ones he has located had the 'new' style boilers.

Sawing firewood in Weber's bottom about the year 1910. This rugged crew took time out to pose for a picture, which is owned by Edward Ruhe The steam engine was owned by Herman Jasper, John Meyer, John Weber, Sr., Gehard Ruhe Herman Witte, who called themselves 'The Big Five.' Pictured across the back from left are Herman Witte, Herman Niehaus and Frank Meyer. Seated from left are John Weber, Martin Shipp, Joe Weber, Harry Ruhe, Joe Meyer, Charles Limp, Gehard Ruhe and Ben Weber. The three in front are Herman Jasper, John Meyer and John Weber, Sr. The blurred person in the lower center with dog is Herb Ruhe. John Meyer's wife's maiden name was Kitten