O.S. Kelly Company

Springfield traction engine

Content Tools

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

Springfield traction engine with owner, Forest Pense of Nebraska. Springfield Engine and Thresher Co. built stationary, portable and traction engines in 6, 8, 10, 12 and 20 HP. Company literature advertises the boiler was made of the best charcoal iron for the shell and the best flange iron for the heads. Each engine was equipped with a brake capable of stopping the engine with a full head of steam.

A few issues ago in IMA, Dr. Robert T. Rhode of Cincinnati, Ohio, was kind enough to have his printer make prints from his woodcuts of an O. S. Kelly engine to share with us.

I thought the readers might enjoy seeing one of O. S. Kelly's steam engines 'in the flesh' and a little history about the company.

In 1882, the threshing firm of Rhinehart, Ballard and Company was acquired by O. S. Kelly of Springfield, Ohio, and reorganized as Springfield Engine and Thresher Company, which later became the O.S. Kelly Company. Mr. Kelly was also associated with the O. S. Kelly Western Manufacturing Company of Iowa City, Iowa.

Front view, Springfield traction engine. Note wooden spoke wheels in front, metal in back. This engine, in fine condition, is ready to work.

The O.S. Kelly steam engines had many attractive features: one-piece boiler barrels made out of one long sheet unlike many manufacturers who riveted the barrel together in two sections, stay bolts were 7/8 inch and placed every 4 inches on the crown sheet. Another interesting feature was that each engine had a crosshead pump and an independent pump. Both pumps could be operated at the same time from the platform by the engineer.