From the Lodi (Cal.) News-Sentinel
J. J. Hochhalter, jeweler and optician of Steele, N. D., currently visiting with Alex Lebedoff, 409 W. Walnut Street, Lodi, remembers when he used to feed straw into the fire pit to create a head of steam for an engine.
Of his memories, and with minor improvements of his own, he has created a small model of such a steam engine tractor which is attracting interest wherever shown.
Yesterday (Jan. 12, 1955) Hochhalter had the model, the second he has built, on display at the G. G. Hust & Son shop on N. School Street. He and Hust had been school chums back in the Dakotas.
The little model weighs 16? pounds, is 7 inches wide, 12 inches high, and 20? inches long.
The bore and stroke is seven-sixteenths of an inch. Fueled with three ounces of wood alcohol it builds up a 75 pound operating pressure and will run for 30 minutes at a fueling. The boiler itself is safety tested to 145 lbs. pressure but it has a very efficient governor and safety valve.
Optician Hochhalter, who has been in the profession for 35 years many Lodians wear glasses he made took 30 years of planning before he started to make his first model. Two years went into its building, with its parts fabricated of scrap material.
The first model aroused wide interest both in North and South Dakota, in Minnesota and in jeweler circles. Shown at county fairs it would prove one of the most popular features.
The model brought to Lodi is the second such he has built. An old fire extinguisher provided the brass cartridge used for the boiler. A shell forms the piston chamber. A small bore rifle cartridge shell was used for the whistle. Odds and ends of sheet metal, plumber's fittings and brass and copper piping were also utilized. Only copper, brass and bronze is used where water or steam come into contact Distilled water, too, is used to make the steam.
It is complete with clutch and brake as well as operating mechanism and even boasts a tiny pressure gauge.
With it, Hochhalter brought a small model of a stationary grain thresher, complete with moving parts such as the conveyor belt, bundle chopper and the like. Hooked by pulley to the little steam engine tractor it works like a charm.
In fact, it works just like the rigs that used to roam the vast wheat fields of the Dakotas back in the early days.