Veteran Boiler Maker

Case steam traction engine

J. I. Case steam traction engine No. 32564, built in 1915. Sold originally in Tennessee, later purchased and partly restored by Mr. A. Glenn Thomas of Cumming, Georgia. Now the property of USA of Yesterday, on US 27 between Haines City and Lake Wales, Flo

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US 27, Dundee, Florida 33838.

Standing by the engine is Mr. Glenn H. Adney, whom we believe may be the last living boiler maker who helped make the last Case boilers in 1924.

Mr. Adney was working in the Case Boiler Shop when it was shut down and the boiler making machinery dismantled. The prevailing rate of pay in the Case plant, as well as most other large industries, was 50cent per hour or $5.00 per 10 hour day.

As Mr. Adney remembers, they had about 100 boilers in stock which were sold mostly as replacements and for steam applications of various kinds, until the last one was sold about 1932.

With one or two exceptions, the last several engines were portables, and were shipped to Australia. The last Case Steam Engine, No. 35707, was made in 1924.

According to Mr. Adney, the 'shop talk' was that the Freeman Boiler Shops made all boilers for Case until about 1900.

Mr. Adney was always fascinated by steam boilers and engines, and remembers Old No. 1, which was made in 1869. Although this engine usually referred to as No. 1 and its supposed to be the first steam engine built by Case and sold to a customer, actually No. 1 of the series which followed down through the years was not made until 1876. Old No. 1 was lost to history until 1925 when it was located on a Minnesota farm and acquired by the Case Company.

Mr. Adney saw it only two or three times between 1925 and October, 1962, when it was given a second restoration, a new coat of black paint, striped in red, and trucked in a Case truck to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. After the Boiler Shop closed, Mr. Adney went to the New South Works of the Case Company and went to work in the foundary where parts were cast for the gasoline tractors.

The last ten years he was with the company he operated the Ladle Crane pouring molten iron, and during that time, Mr. Adney says proudly, he never dropped a single ladle. He retired to Florida in 1957, and right away, he laments, they dropped two ladles of molten iron, injuring some people and causing some expensive clean up delays. Mrs. Adney says he was about to catch a plane and go back from his Florida retirement and straighten them out. 'The neighbors and I almost had to tie him down,' she laughs.

Mr. Adney is in very poor health as a result of a respiratory problem caused from many years of industrial smog and dust, plus nearly 80 years. He has nothing but praise for the Case Company, although the work was hard and conditions were not the best during his early years they were as good or better than average, and if he was a young man he probably would go back and work for the J.I. Case Company.