Project Update

18 HP Russell

18 HP Russell No. 12458 under steam for the first time in 25 years. Jim Haley at the controls.

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R. R. 2, Box 120 Odell, Illinois 60460

I just received my copy of IMA and noticed how thin it was. So I decided to do my part and write in and help fill the pages of my favorite magazine. I hope all the rest of you steam fans will do the same. Let's keep the articles on all the old engine (yes, even Case) rolling in. I'm also glad to see Anna Mae is not giving up. I always enjoy reading her column. Well, on to what's been going on since I wrote and told the story of our purchase of old iron a few years ago.

My 18 HP Russell rolled over for the first time in July. It sure was good to see the old girl come back to life after some 25 years of sitting idle.

The first show for the Russell was our home show at Pontiac, Illinois, the Central States Threshermens Reunion. The Russell performed very well for the first time out. Now I have to say to all my friends who have been telling me after I run my Russell, I will never run our 50 Case again, WRONG! I have to admit the Russell is a nice handling engine but Case will always have a soft spot in my heart. In fact, my next project is in the works already. This spring I saw an ad for a 75 Case skid engine. After a phone call to Mr. Russ Gelder at Zealand, Michigan, I knew I was back to the chase again. Russ had bought the 75 complete from Alberta, Canada, to build his skid 75 into a traction engine. Now he wanted to sell what he didn't need for his engine. I asked Russ to send me some pictures of what he had to sell. By this time my wife Sue was starting to worry. But I assured her I just wanted to see what he had. After I began to entertain the idea of buying the 75 and restoring it back to a traction engine, I started to become hooked. After checking with some friends to see if the necessary parts might be found, I made the trip to Russ's to view his engine.

Well, after I saw the old 75 close up with its 1910 short smoke box and like-new boiler, I began to weaken more. I took some friends, Tracy Powers, Troy Pawson, and Jim Schrock to help me keep my senses while I looked it over, but even with their help of statements like, 'It will always be just an old Case,' and 'Who needs a paper weight that big?' I still couldn't get it out of my mind, so I called Russ when I returned home from Michigan and began to talk of buying this 'paperweight'.

We soon settled on a deal that we were both happy with, and I started another project. Bringing this engine back to life will be a big job, but to have a 75 Case to play with someday will help keep me going. If anyone knows of any 75 Case parts out there, I would like to hear from you. I have found some of the parts I need, but still have a long way to go. I especially need the traction parts, wheels, gears, etc.

My brother John has also been busy. His 24 Minneapolis is very close to running and probably would be, but he too, got into another project. He bought a boiler for a 110 Case in Canada, and is now in the process of finding parts to put a 110 together. I will try to encourage him to write in and tell about it.

Well, I would like to close by saying that no matter what kind of engine you have, Case, Russell, Port Huron, etc., they are all good and you can have a lot of fun with them. I do have a lot of fun joking about what make is the 'best', but to me it's all in good fun. I really like them all! Let's keep the stories rolling in.