603 Paris Avenue Rockford, Illinois 61107
In 1956 I acquired a 16 HP Soule Steam Feed Works twin cylinder engine #162 from my cousin, Fred A. Smith Lumber Company, Schumm, Lumber Company.
In April of 1962, with information from George Hedtke of Davis Junction, Illinois, I located a 12 HP Russel boiler #16159 at Genoa, Illinois. The owner at the time was F. R. Orr of Momence, Illinois, from whom I purchased it.
In July 1962 I shipped the boiler to Ft. Wayne, Indiana. I was working in Rockford, but my home was in Indiana at the time. During the next two years I worked on getting all the piping for the boiler, as it had nothing or it when I bought it.
In 1964 I mounted the boiler and engine on a 1941 GMC truck frame, then it was stored for the next 14 years at the Arthur Brindel Farm, four miles north of Arcola, Indiana.
During the time the boiler was sitting, I completed five years in the Service and got married. After the service, we made our home back in Rockford, Illinoisnot much time to work on the boiler, as it was 265 miles away.
In July, 1978, I had the unit shipped back to Illinois, to my wife's cousin's farm at Poplar Grove, Illinois. It cost about ten times more to ship it back than it had to ship it to Indiana. The next year (1979) my cousin, Phil Poole, and I installed a new flue sheet and new flues. With the help of my father-in-law, James Karnes, we rebuilt the engine also, new valve rods, piston rods, new cross head bearings, the forward and reverse valve was planed.
With the use of Phil's spare parts on the farm, a gear off of an AC combine and right angle drive off an Oliver corn picker, and a chain drive from the engine, we connected the running gears of the truck. The engine will drive the truck about twenty miles an hour in fifth gear.
In 1980, I built the cab, installed coal bunkers, installed the two barrels for water, then painted the unit, and called the State to inspect it. It did not pass at this time. I had to change the safety valve, plus one hand hole was thin and I had to build it up with weld.
In 1981, I called the state back and passed this time for 100 pounds, # 10578. The engine was shown at the Freeport and Sycamore Shows in the summer.
During the summer I talked to a Mr. George Nelson of Hampshire, Illinois. Years ago he had worked for J. R. Kiernan's. He said that in 1923 or 24 he helped strip the wheels and engine off of the Russell boiler they wanted the boiler for a heating plant. I was told that the boiler was used for about 13 or 14 years for heat, later on they installed a stoker in the boiler. Kiernan's was a dealer for Advance Rumely and later on Minneapolis.
The above story was submitted in response to our 'Where Are The Engines' columns in which we asked steam traction engine owners to submit information on their engines for compilation. Ever though this particular engine is no, included in the final book, we thought it a story our readers would enjoy.