Painting A Kitten

Joan Lindauer with Kitten engine

Joan Lindauer adds her own personal touch to one of her dad's Kitten engines.

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Ferdinand, Indiana, and Jerry Kitten, R. R. #2, Box 6, Slaton, Texas 79364.

The Sisters of St. Benedict had their celebration of being in Ferdinand, Indiana, for 125 years in the summer of 1992. This celebration was called the Summer Festival/Farm Show. Quilts Galore, and Antique Farm Show headlined the Summer Fest Events.

Just like red geraniums in Bavaria, quilts galore and more were on the monastery grounds on June 27 and 28. Featured this year were 125 quilts, one for each year the sisters have been in Ferdinand.

Meanwhile, the Ferdinand Benedictine Heritage Farm Show was also underway. As the sisters remembered their traditions of manual labor and of collaborating with the local folks, some of them worked alongside generations of farmers as they again used horses and wagons to bring wheat to the separator.

The farm show included antique tractors, an early powered wood saw, a burr mill to grind corn, plowing under wheat stubble, broom making, a steam calliope, a petting zoo and of course steam engines. The feature company was the Ferdinand Machine Works, which is more popularly called the Kitten Machine Works. At the show were four Kitten steam engines and two Kitten separators.

So you can see for a celebration this size the feature company equipment needed to be in showroom condition. The hours spent cleaning and painting brought to mind the story of 'How To Paint a Kitten Steam Engine.' You can see the end result.

First step is to clean and sandblast the engine so as to have good metal for the paint to adhere to. Then, paint the boiler black and the water tank gray.

The wheels, tool boxes, canopy, parts of pitmans, engine, flywheel, gears, and platform were red. Notice I said parts, not all, and still other parts were painted green.

Of course there were the finishing touches or signatures on each engine and separator; each one was slightly different than the other. To know the particular paint scheme the generations of farmers/mechanics remember how their fathers used to paint them when they worked at the factory.

Yellow is used on various places like the governor and name and flower designs.

We have one key ingredient that no one else has to paint a Kitten steam engine. Her name is Miss Joan Lindauer! Her father is Francis Lindauer who just happened to own two Kitten steam engines as shown here, #214 & #176. And Francis, well he was born and raised in Ferdinand where the engines were used. He is the #1 authority on Kitten steam engines.

Joan has been well schooled on painting the engines, as you can see from the pictures on the two engines they look like they are right out of the factory.

For further information on painting the Kitten, just call the Lindauers and ask for Francis, Mike or Joan.

Thank you, Lindauers, for taking good care of the equipment that was made in Ferdinand. A special thanks to Joan for the fine artwork!

Francis Lindauer of Ferdinand, Indiana, called upon his talented daughter Joan to paint his Kitten engines, #'s 176 and 214.