1902 New Giant Undergoes Total Restoration

A historic New Giant traction steam engine gets a ground-up restoration


| March 1999


This is the story of the steam engine that almost wasn't. Fortunately, for traction engine fans, it's now the chronicle of a major restoration project. Wayne Kennedy, Danville, Iowa, is the owner and restorer of a rare 1902 New Giant traction steam engine. From all accounts, his latest undertaking may be the true definition of a total restoration effort. 

Besides having restored several engines, Wayne has exhibited engines at the annual Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, for 26 years. He also has contributed 14 years of service to the Midwest Old Threshers Board of Directors. It's not surprising, then, to understand that a significant part of this New Giant's history is interwoven in the Old Threshers Reunion.

Milo Mathews, Mt. Union, Iowa, a long-time exhibitor at the Old Threshers Reunion, purchased the New Giant at a farm sale in Weeping Water, Neb., in 1951. It was featured on the cover of the 1952 May-June issue of The Iron-Men Album with this caption: "Here is an unusually well preserved and restored New Giant. It was exhibited at the Mt. Pleasant reunion (in 1951) and created a lot of attention."

The New Giant was a product of the Northwest Thresher Company, which was reorganized about 1899 from the Seymore, Sabin Company, Stillwater, Minn. The company manufactured the Minnesota Giant traction engine in approximately 1881, and then came out with the New Giant in 1900. Northwest Thresher Company wasn't a big production firm; consequently, few of their engines still exist. It is estimated that fewer than a dozen remain in the United States and Canada.



After Milo's death, the New Giant and a handful of engines were sold in at his estate sale on the Old Threshers grounds. The New Giant was purchased by a young couple who showed it at the 1986 Reunion before putting it in storage.

"The engine was in barely-running condition, and people wondered what would happen with it," Wayne remembers.














SUBSCRIBE TO FARM COLLECTOR TODAY!

Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.




Facebook Pinterest YouTube

Classifieds


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265