Scale engine

Content Tools

3018 Bremen Street, Columbus, Ohio 43224

The three-inch scale engine is complete to the smallest detail including the famous Case eagle trademark on the front of the boiler.

Not many people can boast of keeping a working steam traction engine in their basement. But Forrest Love of Columbus, Ohio can. In fact, Love has two Case model 65 horsepower steam traction engines stored in his cellar.

There is a hitch, of course. The Case engines are miniatures.

Love, a retired electrician, has made a hobby of building miniature steam engines. His last project, a three inch working scale model, took ten years to complete. It is 1/4 the size of the original Case engine popular during the first part of the 1900s for farm work. The engine stands 32' high, 25' wide and 62' long.

Love began construction on the engine in 1968 based on plans ordered from Alexander Enterprises, Kansas City, Missouri. Working on the engine in his spare time, 'and sometimes I couldn't spare,' Love painstakingly built and painted the individual engine parts.

The boiler was constructed of 3/8' steel and hydro-tested to 200 pounds. The engine's working steam pressure is 100 pounds.

Love's first excursion into the world of steam engine miniature involved an even smaller version of the famous Case engine. Started in 1959, the first engine was built on a 2' scale and took five years to complete. One sixth the size of the original Case, it too is a fully working model.

Its construction was based on plans ordered from Charles V. Arnold, Junction City, Oregon, a company that has since gone out of business. The smaller engine's working steam pressure is 85 pounds and it was hydro-tested to 150 pounds. The model stands 20' high, 15' wide and 41' long.

Love's interest in steam engines began while growing up on the family farm in Delaware County, Ohio, in the days when the steam engine was the main mechanical work horse for farm chores.

The two Case miniature engines represent 15 years of work. The bigger three inch model stands 32' high, 25' wide and 62' long. The smaller two inch model stands 20' high, 15' wide and 41' long.

Fascinated by the large machines, Love hired on to a steam engine outfit as a teenager and worked as a driver for several summers. The first hand experience of working with the steam machines was the start of a lifetime interest.

In the early 1940s, hard times forced Love to leave the farm. He moved to the city and found work as an electrician. Love's interest in steam engines was temporarily forced to take a back seat to more pressing problems.

Once settled in a suburban home and a new profession, Love's thoughts returned to steam engines. A full size engine, of course, was out of the question since it would not fit in his yard. Then Love hit upon the idea of building a miniature. The rest, as they say, is history.

Love's next project is to build a water wagon for the bigger of his two miniatures. He also plans to tour several of the Ohio steam engine shows with his two miniatures during the summer.