OTTO'S Russell PART 2

Lineup of Russell engines

Lineup of Russell engines at 1994 Greenville, Ohio, show. Otto's 10 HP and Otto are second from the left.

Content Tools

3390 S. CO. Road 250 W North Vernon, Indiana 47165

In the September/October '94 IMA I wrote about Otto Heffelmire's 10 HP Russell restoration. We finished work on it a whole day before the 1994 Darke County, Ohio, Show, which featured Russell equipment. We had hydrotested the boiler to 150 psi cold and briefly ran the engine around the shop on 100 psi steam.

Otto makes his living as a timber-man and supplies lumber to some furniture shops. He made the platform from one white oak plank 23 and a half inches wide and just over two and a half inches thick. He made a new slide block for the Woolf reverse out of black walnut. After testing the injector and crosshead pump, we loaded the engine and watched it move down the road to Ohio.

The Darke County Steam Threshers Association Show at Greenville, Ohio, had a fine turnout of Russell engines, eight in all, ranging from 6 to 25 HP. Otto's 10 HP was both the oldest and the only Russell with a Woolf reverse. It did well on the dynamometer and pleased about everyone who saw it. One gentleman spent the better part of 15 minutes looking for the glue seam in the platform.

In addition to Russells, the show had a variety of engines, ranging from a 25 HP Baker to a double Aultman Star. One of them, a 10 HP Advance, serial number 722, arrived on the same trailer as Otto's Russell. Barry Moorman had recently bought the good little Advance in northern Illinois. Lacking a clutch, the engine has a sliding square pin in the flywheel. It too did well on the dynamometer and proved an easy steamer.

After Greenville, the Russell came back to the shop for Otto's oaken coal box and water tank. It then went on to Rushville, Indiana, for the Pioneer Engineer's Reunion. Both the Russell and the Advance took turns powering Otto's portable sawmill. Otto likes to have about 60 HP on the belt to saw, but pulling down his own engine, he couldn't help but smile. He also looked happy driving it around the grounds with his wife Helen alongside, and a wagonload of grandkids behind.

He also showed the engine at the Greensburg, Indiana, Power of the Past Reunion. Otto has since bought the little Advance as well. He said he had decided to collect 10 HP engines built before 1900!

After the first story went to print, I received a letter from Mr. Lowell Boyce, of Aurora, Oregon. He told me about an old Russell engine, serial number 2402, which has a Marsh reverse, similar to that used on Advance and Advance-Rumely engines. Mr. Boyce says this engine even sounds like an Advance while under load! Closer to home, I am told that an old Russell engine, also with a Marsh reverse, belonging to the late Bob Hughes, was shown at Rushville years ago.

At any rate, Otto has become a full throttle steamer, sawing lumber at home with his oldest granddaughter as engineer. Of course, it took him over twenty-five years to get from having an engine to running it, but as a friend of mine likes to say, 'Things will be all right if we take it easy!'