Steam Fire Engine

1889 Steam Fire Engine pumping at the Scott-Carver Show at Jordon. This engine has been completely rebuilt by Ermin Morrell of Jordan.

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1511 Englehart Ave., St. Paul, Minnesota 55104.

The pictures are courtesy of Ray Lins, 2035 Opal Place, Eagan, Minnesota 55122.

On August 7th and 8th, 1976, the Scott Carver Old Thresher's Association held their threshing show and steam festival at Jordon, Minnesota. Fair weather prevailed this year with no sign of rain to bother activity, or to keep people from coming. In fact, most shows in Minnesota this year were held during what has been stated as the worst drought in the history of the state. It began in early April and lasted throughout the growing season.

I saw the show on Saturday, but Sunday is always the biggest day at all of the shows as more people attend. However, Saturday's crowd was average, and activity was very progressive.

Willard Bill Olander's 22 HP Advance engine and his 32 x 54 Case separator with wing feeder were in operation. Jim Molenhauer was the engineer and Bill Sobiech was the separator man.

Ermin Morrell's 16 HP Advance engine operated by Florian C. Karl was belted to a Gopher thresher, doing perfect work threshing oats.

It is interesting to note that this well constructed threshing machine was built by a company formed and located at New Prague, Minnesota during the 1920's. Even thought the machines performed satisfactorily, competition with the big companies was too great, and the company decided to discontinue the project.

Lumber sawing with Frank Boehne in charge was in operation most of the time assisted by Rudy Adams.

Engineers who participated, taking turns on the lumber saw and threshing machines, were Florian C. Karl with Ermin Morrell's 16 HP Advance; Jim Mollenhauer with Bill Olander's 22 HP Advance; Joe Sully with his 22 HP Advance; and John Shoening operating his 50 HP Case.

John Shoening of Mound, Minnesota with his 35-70 Minneapolis gas tractor, and Marvin Boettcher with his 30-60 Aultman and Taylor took turns on an eight bottom plow.

I was fortunate in meeting Ermin Morrell and Willard (Bill) Olander when they happened to be together.

Mr. Morrell related the purchase of his 22 HP Advance that was owned at Pollock, South Dakota, where it was used extensively for plowing in the first decade of the century. Mr. Morrell brought it to Jordan in 1920 where he used it to operate his 1914, 36 inch Buffalo Pitts Niagara second separator. However, the engine now is no longer in use, and was placed on exhibition at the show this year along with the separator.

Mr. Olander purchased his 1910 model 22 HP Advance engine from Casper Richter of Jordan in 1936, 'forty years ago'. It is still in fine condition under the care of engineer, Jim Mollenhauer. His 32 x 64 Case separator with wing feeder, was purchased new by him in 1916. It is still in top condition. Hillard Berg told me he has 'tended' this separator for the last eighteen years.

Both Ermin Morrell and Bill Olander are justly proud of the fact that they promoted and held the first steam threshing show at Jordan in 1964 which later became the Scott-Carver Old Thresher's Association.

One interesting exhibit at this show year is the Jordan Fire department antique steam pump. It is built with a fancy trimmed upright steam boiler mounted on a neat running gear. Instead of an engine it is equipped with a powerful steam pump which throws a large steam of water. Being equipped with a pump instead of an engine classes it unique, in that respect only. Otherwise it is exactly like other city fire engines that raced through the streets to the fires in the cities in the old days. I have seen pictures of them being pulled by three horses hitched abreast, running.

The Jordan Fire Department did not own horses so they depended upon local horsemen to rush to the fire station with a team when the alarm sounded. The owner of the first team to arrive to be hitched to the pump and rush to the scene of the fire would receive five dollars. Sometimes trains coming through town would scare the horses into a runaway. The livery stable was about a block from the fire station and they kept a close alert on fire alarms; having a team ready to go.

Ted Smith, operator of the Old Steam Pump at the show, said it was built by the Waterous Engine Company of St. Paul, Minnesota. It was purchased by the city of Jordan in the 1880's. Mr. Smith was with the steam pump the last time it was used at a fire in 1925.

In the exhibit building, Ray Lins and Jack Strand had their usual commendable display of stationary steam engines. Most of the engines were either running or could be on steam piped from a wood burning stationary boiler installed just outside of the pole-type galvanized building.

Dennis Krill and Jack Strand own a 52 HP Howell stationary engine with 11 ' bore and a 14 inch stroke. Also in the building is a 36 HP Atlas, a 110 RPM engine with a 10.5' bore and a 16' stroke. It was originally owned by the Gluck Brewing Company of Minneapolis. Another engine, owned by Ray Lins, is a James Leffel 42 HP 165 RPM, bore 10.5' and stroke 12'.

These engines have all been fully restored by these men, and they run beautifully.

Another engine inside of the building is a 7' x 7' upright owned by Ray Lins. Outside of the building is a 4' x 5' upright owned by Ray Lins and Jack Strand. Back inside we find two small steam engines, one is a center crank upright made in Germany. The other is a 2 by 3 side crank upright formerly used in a Stillwater, Minnesota creamery. There is also a little Corliss engine 2' bore and 5' stroke. It came out of a Stillwater creamery.

And while we're talking about engines, Dick Lindquist of 5149 39th Avenue South, Minneapolis had a fine exhibit of six miniature steam engines which he built during the winter of 1975-76. All have 1' x 2' stroke; otherwise they are not alike.

In the blacksmith shop, Ralph Harvey, a building contractor in Wayzata, Minnetonka area, made and sold souvenir horseshoes. He was assisted by his wife, Mary Jane, who answered questions for curious people regarding Mr. Harvey's hobby.

Across from the blacksmith shop in the building, Barb Majerus and Janice Tieben were busy spinning wool.

Russ and Barbara Johnson demonstrated soap making. Barbara weaves rugs at home and plans to bring her loom to the show next year.

Mrs. George H. Ohmann Jr. of Eagan, sold magazines and catalogs. She was assisted by Pam Pitcher of Lakeland, Minnesota.

Just outside of the building, Alois Vonbank of Jordan, had a wishing well; a lazy susan and a large display of articles all made from cedar. His dragsaw, which he claims is one of the first ones ever to be manufactured, was powered by Herman Pieper's upright steam engine. Another drag saw powered by a small gas engine just outside of the building, owned by Jack Strand, was operated by his brother, Larry. Jerry Siegel of Chaska, a member of the Scott-Carver Association, was in charge of six small gas engines from 1 HP to 3  HP which are owned by the Association. Roman Kaline showed seven small gas engines.

Elsner Machacek of Northfield was on hand with his scale model of a 65 HP Case belted to a small woodsaw. It is a perfect model, requiring 5,000 hours to build.

Heading the parade this year was a small bi-centennial wagon containing a miniature breaking plow, a broad axe and other antique hand tools. This dressed up little outfit with flags waving, was the creative work of Elsner Machacek along with the small gas tractor that pulled it. Elsner's grandson, John Machacek, was the driver.

Included in the parade each day which included practically every rolling unit of the show bringing out the steam traction engines, gas tractors, miniature tractors and antique cars and trucks, were some that I feel deserve special mention.

Ray Pearson has brought his 1924, 20-42 HP, 1924 Nichols and Shepard tractor to every Scott-Carver Show since the show started. It is a two cylinder tractor, complete with a cab built heavy throughout; mounted on steel wheels; it ranks high among the gas tractors built fifty years ago. Mr. Pearson used it many years operating a threshing machine doing custom work.

The gas powered heavy road roller owned by John Schoening was a new attraction. Another new attraction was a heavy caterpillar gas tractor owned by George H. Ohmann, Jr.

Frank Boehne was on hand with his big Allis Chalmers tractor, as he has been other years. We missed Mike Kovich's Lawson tractor which he left at home on the repair list. Other years it has been driven in parades by Mrs. Kovich.

The parade each day at 1:30 PM was announced by Marvin Boettcher.

I saw Francis Johnson of Darwin, Minnesota. He has the largest ball of string in the world. It weighs between five and six tons and adorns the front yard at his home. He told me it was the only picture from Minnesota published in 'Guiness Book of World Records' published in 1975. Mr. Johnson makes twenty-seven pairs of pliers from one solid piece of basswood lumber. He is a son of the late Magnus Johnson who was a United States Senator from Minnesota.

I met Mr. and Mrs. Bill Sobiech and Mrs. Sobiech's sister Agnes Meyer of St. Cloud, Minnesota. Bill helps with the grain stacking and supervises the threshing at the show. Mrs. Sobiech helps in the food stand. I met Betty Lins at the food stand.

Music always adds life to a show and Harold Koerner of Minneapolis drew attention both days as he played a Lowry organ. Mike and George Kovich were on hand as usual at the show.

The Stage Coach Fast Draw Club of Shakopee, Minnesota staged shoot-outs each day. They carry six-guns on cartridge belts at their hips and do the most fast drawing and shooting at one another since Gunsmoke. Fortunately the shells they fire are blanks, so no one has to go to the Fast Draw Club in the sky; that's if there is one.

This year the Fast Draw Club brought their cannon which is of Civil War vintage. It is no toy, being full-size, it is mounted on two high wooden wheels. It is loaded from the muzzle by tamping the load in place with a huge ram rod. When it was loaded, they politely asked the crowd to stand back. No one objected to that, so one of the crew with a flame lit the fuse on the breech. The result was a terrific boom! with a flash of fire about the size of a door on a telephone booth. Fragments of paper used for wadding flew out of the muzzle like a flock of birds. There was a cloud of black smoke blending with paper fragments. Someone said they thought they might have used more powder than necessary that time as the cannon danced a shimmy when ordinarily it never moves when it is fired. Anyway, there was no harm done and everyone enjoyed the efforts of the Shakopee Stage Coach Fast Draw Club.

The Scott-Carver Show site is located near Jordan, Minnesota in Scott County. It is named in honor of Scott and adjoining Carver counties.

As we have mentioned, the Scott-Carver show is really the outcome of the efforts of Willard 'Bill' Olander, his brother Carl, now deceased, and Irwin Morrell, when in 1964 they staged the first steam threshing show at Jordan.

Officers of the Scott-Carver Old Thresher's Association are Ronald Scott, president; Ralph Kerkow, secretary; and Reuben Boettcher, treasurer.

The Scott-Carver Association consider the 1976 show to be a success.