Double the Pleasure

Missouri man’s full-size Harrison and its pint-sized partner make an impressive show display.

| November 2020

An 1882 10hp Harrison steam engine owned by Steve Kunz was the featured steam engine at the 2019 Midwest Old Threshers Reunion. Steve’s display was rounded out by a scale-model of the 10hp engine, and – because the full-size engine was equipped with neither water tanks nor coal bunkers – a hand-built water tender.

Steve Kunz knew that a scale model steam engine mirroring his 1882 Harrison 10hp engine existed. The builder, Chuck Hildebrand, was a good friend of his dad’s. But Steve’s dad, Louis Kunz, and Chuck had both died more than 30 years ago. The half-scale model had long since been sold, and Steve had no idea what had happened to it – until he followed a lead.

“Lloyd Creed, a friend of mine in the hobby, heard about a Harrison scale model,” Steve says. “He contacted the owner and told me about it. I had wondered what had happened to the model. I’d heard it had been sold, maybe even to a buyer in the U.K. Nobody knew where it was.”

Eventually, Steve went to see the model – the seller lived in southwest Missouri, just four hours from Steve’s home outside St. Louis – and ended up buying it. “I was not actively looking for a model engine,” he admits, “but this kind of piqued my interest.”

Debut of a dynamic duo

At the 2019 Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Steve’s full-size Harrison was the featured steam engine – but the pint-sized partner was right next to it. A reproduction water wagon that Steve built rounded out the display.

The full-size Harrison has a story all its own (see Farm Collector, February 2014). Buried in the Missouri River for 40 years, the engine was rescued in the 1950s. Louis bought the engine for $500 (roughly $4,357 today) from the salvage crew and eventually completed a total restoration.


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