Pride in a Baker Engine

Baker Engine

Content Tools

W168 N12172 Century Lane, Germantown, Wisconsin 53022

I first attended a steam show at Pontiac, Illinois in 1975. There I saw huge tractors working at the sawmill, shingle mill, and threshing. The sound of those working engines sent chills up my spine and became a part of me at the same time. I was most impressed with a Baker at this show.

Many years passed before I was able to attend another show, this one at Sussex, Wisconsin. I saw three steamers, but there was only one that really interested me the Baker. She looked a trifle smaller than the other two, but she worked just as hard or harder while on the sawmill or threshing machine. The quiet sound of her engine was like the purr of a kitten and she moved with grace through the parade under the steady guidance of her owner and engineer, Charlie Smith Sr.

At the age of 82, Mr. Smith knew it was time to sell his be loved Baker, so in 1983 my husband and I bought her. (You see, I had met my future husband at Sussex in 1979 on the Baker, my future engine!)

I don't really know why it was the Baker that caught my eye that day in 1979. Maybe it was her silver nose that seemed to say, 'Hey, look at me, I'm the best, I'm a Baker.' But whatever it was, I'm proud to say she's mine.

I took a trip to Swanton, Ohio, to find out anything I could about the Baker and was able to talk with Chris and Louis Carson, the two great-grandsons of A. D. Baker. They were very helpful in giving me the date I requested. We had been told that the engine was built in 1912 but her engine number was too high to be built that year. The Carson brothers showed me an old ledger, and there it was #1511 built July 1, 1919, with a 21 HP engine and a 23 HP boiler. I was very happy to receive this information.

I am proud to show my Baker in parades and engine shows as a member of the Early Day Gas Engine and Steam Tractor Club, Branch 2, of Waukesha, Wisconsin.