The Passing of a Steam Giant

Joe E. Richardson

The late Joe E. Richardson, a giant in our steam engine world.

Content Tools

712 Chaps Road, S.E.Rio Rancho, New Mexico 87124

Our steam engine world lost a giant with the passing of Joe E. Richardson, 86, of Orofino, Idaho, who died of pneumonia May 27, 1993. He will be sadly missed by his many friends across the nation and Canada. Reference is made to Joe's obituary previously published in this magazine.

Joe was raised on a farm. He was a rather shy person who did not care for publicity or to have his picture taken. When Joe was four years old, he walked into a blacksmith shop where a flying metal splinter hit his eye resulting in the removal of his right eyeball.

His father had a Case 75 HP steam engine and a 30-60 Aultman Taylor gas tractor which were used for threshing and other farm work. Joe was fond of the old Aultman Taylor tractor; therefore, a 30-60 HP 1913, Model #578 was rebuilt, restored and added to the collection at considerable expense.

Joe and his son, Dale Richardson, have one of the finest collections of late model Case steamers ever assembled. Other than the Case portable, all engines have butt-strap boilers. The collection was started in 1961 and consists of: Case 110, 1913, Serial #29572; Case 80, 1917, Serial #34387; Case 65, 1916, Serial #33319; Case 50, 1920, Serial #35108; Case 6 portable, 1909, Serial #10273.

They also have a 2' scale model 1915 Case 65 steam traction engine from Tiny Power, built by Charles Arnold, which is a real 145 lb. working jewel.

Considerable expense was incurred in rebuilding the engines to Joe's standards. Except for the Case 80 which has its original bunkers, new hand-riveted coal and water contractors bunkers were made for the other engines. All of the engine boilers were repaired where necessary, like new flues, etc., by the boiler works of the Union Iron Works of

Spokane, Washington. The Washington Machinery Company of Spokane rebored the cylinders, made new pistons and rings, many new gears, reversing gear, new crankshaft for the AT tractor, etc. New castings were made for any missing parts.

The Richardsons have always had a completely equipped machine and carpenter shop. Joe liked to work with wood and he was good at it. Joe made the second cab for the Case 110 after the carpenter put the first roof on backwards. Both Joe and Dale did a lot of the restoring work on the engines. Joe had almost enough engine parts to build another 110 Case, including two good butt-strap boilers. He was always good to help his fellow engine men with tools, parts and advice, sometimes in person. Joe had a fine reference library stocked with books, catalogs, magazines, etc. He was a real steam buff.

This beautifully restored 1913 Case 110 #29572 belonged to Joe and Dale Richardson, Orofino, Idaho. It was originally used for plowing in the Edmonton, Alberta, Canada area. The rivets on the original boiler were badly rusted. Another 110 Case engine was purchased in British Columbia, Canada, which had been stripped and used in a saw mill as a skid engine. The second boiler was installed in 1969-70 along with a complete set of new and rebuilt gears. Castings were made for the other missing parts.

The Richardsons have two nicely restored Case carsa 1914 and a 1916 five and seven passenger touring. Dale and his wife Brigitte took the 1914 Case car to the 1992 Rollag, Minnesota, engine show featuring the International J.I. Case Heritage Foundation Expo #6, and also to the Brooks, Oregon, engine show.

Joe was a successful businessman having owned and operated the Riverside Lumber Company at Orofino, Idaho, with over 100 employees for many years. He was no man for writing letters. He believed in making full use of the telephone in business and communicating with friends. When he was through talking with friends after an hour's conversation, he would hang up without saying goodbye.

When it came to his steam engines, Joe was a very generous man. A stranger called on Joe and told him he used to run a Case engine like one of Joe's. Joe pulled the engine from the building and let the stranger fire it up and play engineer. During the steam engine shows Joe and Dale put on, they let other qualified people operate engines and run their equipment. Joe and Dale took their 110 Case to the Brooks, Oregon engine show twice which was quite an undertaking. The last time was for the 1990 Case Heritage Expo #4.

Joe Richardson and his 1917 Case 80 #34387. This engine was purchased from the Case dealer in Longmont, Colorado, where it had been in storage for many years. Originally used very little for threshing.

1917 Case 80 #34387 heading for parade with two loads of logs from Richardson's lumber mill. Engine was owned by Joe and Dale Richardson of Orofino, Idaho.

Joe put on his own engine show for many years, with exhibitors attending mainly by invitation. One of his shows we attended, which was typical of all of them, was held on a Saturday. That evening Joe hosted a lovely dinner dance party at the luxurious Konkolville Steakhouse and Lounge. Music for the evening was provided by the Latah County Old Time Fiddlers, with 21 musicians from Moscow, Idaho. Everyone had a wonderful time. Joe paid the entire bill for his 172 Saturday evening guests and hosted another dinner at his expense Sunday evening at the same place for his 60 remaining guests.

Joe Richardson telephoned me as the result of a story in the 1971 May-June issue of the Iron-Men Album magazine about the shipping of my Case 65 outfit to Twin Falls, Idaho in 1969. Joe invited me and my wife to visit the Richardsons for several days. I had a good time being guest engineer on his 80 and 110 Case engines. Since then, we have visited Joe, his wife Marie, Dale and Brigitte many times. The Richardsons are wonderful hosts under their ideal circumstances.

Reference is made to an article about Joe and his engines in the July-August 1972 issue of Iron-Men Album.

Joe and Dale Richardson restored and owned this nice 1913 Aultman Taylor 30-60 #578 which was originally used for threshing and plowing near Shelby, Montana.

Joe and Dale Richardson owned this nicely restored 1916 Case 5 passenger touring car purchased from the late Professor Stroud of Hutchinson, Kansas.

The late Joe Richardson (right) and son Dale with their 1913 Case 110 #29572. Dale had just reassembled the engine after repainting in 1990.

This beautifully restored 1914 Case 7 passenger touring car belongs to Joe and Dale Richardson. Dale and his wife Brigitte have shown this car at several shows.

The 1993 Central States Threshermen's Reunion was action-packed. Here you see a 110 HP J. I. Case, owned by Graham Sellers of Coldwater, Michigan, on the Prony brake. Look inside for more pictures and a show report sent by Mark Corson.