Weeden Steam Toy Remembered

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Robert T. Rhode highlights this certainly memorable account from his father's childhood. The pictured engine is an exact replica of the remembered Weeden.

"In the 1920s, when my father, Joe, was a boy, my father's uncle, Charley, bought him a Weeden traction engine model. It ran on real steam, and Joe badgered his mother, Kosie, to fire up the Weeden. She reluctantly acquiesced, but the experiment did not go well. Kosie set the wicks too high and caught the tablecloth on fire. With stunning agility, she threw the engine, the burning tablecloth, and the table out the door and into the yard. The heat of the fire had melted the engine's piping. Kosie gave the model to another child in the neighborhood and thought, 'Good riddance!'

"Knowing how much Joe had admired the engine, Charley purchased a hot-air rotor for him. The rotor was another kind of engine, and, while it did not resemble the farm steamers that Joe was familiar with, my father enjoyed it. He never asked his mother to run it; rather, he always waited for Charley to light it and make it go."

When lit, the burner slid beneath the boiler on this chain drive Weeden traction engine model.