1902 New Giant Traction Engine Restoration

A century-old relic, a New Giant steam traction engine, gets a loving restoration

| April 2000

Editor's note: This is the second installment in a series about the restoration of Wayne Kennedy's 1902 New Giant 18 hp steam engine. The first installment was published in the March 1999 issue of Farm Collector, read it here.

Like the deliberate motion of a traction engine, the restoration work on Wayne Kennedy's 1902 New Giant keeps moving forward at a steady pace. Wayne plans to debut the fully-restored engine at the Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, in 2002, the year of the New Giant's 100th birthday.

Wayne started working on the 18-ton engine in the fall of 1998, and although he has about two and a half more years of work on the project, he's happy with the progress.

"I feel pretty good about it. In fact, in some ways, I feel I'm ahead of schedule," Wayne notes. "The bad thing with a project like this is that you have to work on it in between making a living and doing dishes and some of those things."

Wayne has been working with steam engines for at least 30 years. This is his fourth complete engine restoration, including an 1890 center crank Case, owned by the Midwest Old Threshers Association. So when he convinced himself to buy the New Giant in 1995, he knew from its condition that it would be a lengthy process to bring it back to good working order.

During the winter of 1998, Wayne tore apart the engine and had a local welding company make new boiler plates from his drawings and templates. The boiler plates were ready that December. In the the winter, he worked in his shop, getting the plates ready to go into the boiler.