Rt 2, Box 6 Slaton, Texas 79364-9501
There is a gentleman by the name of Ben Winter from Altamont, Illinois. So that seemed like a good title for a story to make a dream come true.
Ben was somewhat interested in buying a Kitten steam engine. I just happened to know where one was that needed a few parts. This engine is the one that Eiffel Plasterer of Huntington, Indiana saved from the scrap iron because as Eiffel told me, 'I couldn't stand to see it scrapped.'
Bill Renfo on left, Ben Winter on right with glasses. In the background is Kitten engine #218 owned by Lubbock County Museum. Engine was previously owned by W. H. Knapp from Ohio.
I told Ben that a few parts were missing and that if he wanted to buy that engine I would make the parts for him. We were able to make the parts because, as told in the story of 'The Kitten: From Wood To Cast Iron' in IMA May/June '92 issue, we now have the original patterns to make a Kitten steam engine.
The few parts were equivalent to 75 pieces.
As you can see in the picture, the top half of the Kitten was missing. It looked like someone took all of the parts that could be taken off easily and then sold them. There are not that many Kittens around so there couldn't be that much need for that many parts. Some of the parts that we made from the patterns are: fire grates, grate holder, steam door, hub cap, cylinder head, valve cover, valve slide holder, pitman including the ends, reverse stand, reverse rod, steam handle, slide valve rod, drain caps for boiler, hand holds, packing nut, name plate, reverse handle, steam ports, slide valve, valve handle, clutch handle, clutch handle bracket, two main bearing caps, complete clutch assembly, complete steam pump, pre-heater, pulleys for governor, pulley stand, exhaust nozzle, steering wheel, and a few parts for the platform, fire stokers plus all the piping, all the brass valves and cutoffs and bushings, all the bracing for the canopy, and an exhaust steam dome.
We had quite an undertaking but, as you can see, one of my dreams was to obtain the original Kitten patterns and then make the parts to restore this engine. Through a little research we found that the number on this engine was 211 so that is what we put back on the cylinder head.
So I would like to thank Mr. Ben Winter for helping the dream become a reality.
That reminds me: We recently traveled to Ferdinand, Indiana to attend a steam engine threshing show which gave me a new title for another storyyou guessed itabout the Kitten heritage. The title: 'The Secret Formula Unfolds on How To Paint a Kitten Steam Engine.'