2014 Steam Schools

Steam schools inspire safe operation & care of steam engines.

| February 2014

  • Students were given the opportunity to operate a railroad steam engine at the 2013 Rough & Tumble Engineers Historical Assn. Steam School with Instructor Dennis Hornberger (right).
    Photo by John Johnson
  • Steam school has multi-generational appeal: Two father-and-son teams attended the 2013 Rough & Tumble steam school.
    Photo by John Johnson
  • Tubes are cleaned by Instructor Rob Donley on this unique vertical boiler at the 2013 Rough & Tumble Engineers Historical Assn. Steam School in Kinzers, Pa.
    Photo by John Johnson
  • Rough & Tumble’s 2013 graduating class.
    Photo by John Johnson
  • Students run a steam traction engine owned by Rough & Tumble on a Baker fan.
    Photo by John Johnson

Tired of being just a steam engine spectator? Seven steam schools in 2014 will offer training that will allow you to take part in the fun or enhance your existing skills.

Steam schools offer hands-on experience as well as classroom instruction from experienced steam engineers dedicated to instilling lessons in safe operation and maintenance of steam engines. This is your chance to help carry on an exciting tradition of yesteryear. There are tubes to be cleaned, whistles to be blown, diplomas to be earned and more. But be sure to register early — courses tend to fill quickly. FC

Did we miss your club’s steam school? Contact Matt Kelly at mkelly@ogdenpubs.com or 1-800-682-4704 to get your club included in future listings.


14th Annual Central States Threshermen’s Steam School
When: May 17-18
Where: Threshermen’s Reunion Park, Pontiac
Tuition: $50 ($40 for additional family members)

The course is designed for beginning and intermediate engineers, with emphasis on safe engine operation. Camping, coffee, donuts, lunch both days and all classroom materials are included. Class size is limited to 40; must register by May 1.

For more information: Bob Stadsholt, 2102 Woodbine Rd, Bloomington, IL 61704; (309) 452-8223 (home) or (309) 838-9902 (cell); email: bstads@comcast.net.


Midwest Old Threshers Reunion Steam School 
When: May 3-4 
Where: Midwest Old Threshers show grounds, Mt. Pleasant 
Tuition: $75 

Offering classroom instruction and hands-on experience. Materials and two noon meals are included. 

For more information: Terry McWilliams, Public Relations and Marketing, 405 E. Threshers Rd., Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641; (319) 385-8937; email: info@oldthreshers.org.

Heritage Park of North Iowa 14th Annual Steam Engineer School
When: May 17-18
Where: Heritage Park of North Iowa, Forest City
Tuition: $40

Materials, breakfast, lunch and refreshments are included. Free primitive camping is also available. A test similar to the test required by the State of Minnesota for a Hobby Steam Engineer’s License will be administered at the conclusion of the seminar but is not mandatory. Class size is limited to 50. Online registration is available.

For more information: Jerred Ruble, Director of Shows, Heritage Park of North Iowa, 754 342nd St., Hanlontown, IA 50444; (641) 797-2697; email: ruble@wctatel.net.


Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion/University of Rollag Steam School
When: June 14-15
Where: Steamer Hill, Rollag
Tuition: $50

Provides classroom instruction and hands-on experience using a wide range of steam equipment, including stationary, traction, miniature and railroad engines. The class is certified for Minnesota, North Dakota and Ohio steam hobby licenses. WMSTR is the only training approved by the State of Minnesota not provided by a state-run entity. Materials and two meals are included. Class size is limited to 70; early enrollment is suggested as the course typically fills by May 1.

For more information: Tom Hall, University of Rollag, PO Box 999, Moorhead, MN 56561; (218) 233-1771.


Rough & Tumble Engineers Historical Assn. Steam School
When: May 17 and May 31
Where: Rough & Tumble grounds, Kinzers
Tuition: $75

The two-day course emphasizes safety, maintenance and operation. The morning is devoted to classroom instruction; the afternoon session consists of hands-on experience, including cleaning, inspection, maintenance and operation. Students will be introduced to operating railroad engines, a steam roller and various steam traction equipment. All materials are included. Class size is limited to 28, age 14 and older. Applications are being accepted now; early application is suggested as school fills quickly. Must be a Rough & Tumble member or join prior to steam school. 

For more information: John Johnson (717) 442-4249; email: steamschool@comcast.net.


Somerset Steam & Gas Engine Assn. 16th Annual Somerset Steam School
When: April 12-13
Where: Fairfield View Dairy Farm, 14375 Blue Ridge Turnpike, Somerset
Tuition: $75

The course is divided into classroom and hands-on sessions with a focus on education, familiarization and safety in operation and maintenance of steam engines and boilers. All materials and two noon meals are included. Class size is limited to 20.

For more information: Gil Roberts, PO Box 492, Somerset, VA 22972; (540) 672-3429; email: info@somersetsteamandgas.org.


Wisconsin Historical Steam Engine Assn. Steam School 
When: Sept. 26-28
Where: Rock River Thresheree show grounds, Edgerton
Tuition: $65

Subjects include steam theory, boiler construction, safety, maintenance and operation with hands-on experience. All materials, coffee, donuts and lunch on Saturday and Sunday are included. Free primitive camping is available on the show grounds. The American Society of Power Engineers test will be offered (but is not mandatory) on Sunday for an additional fee of $55. Class size is limited to 40; preregistration is required. Completion counts for 16 hours toward the hours required to obtain a Minnesota and Ohio state operator’s license.

For more information: Jeff Bloemers, Wisconsin Historical Steam Engine Assn. Steam School, W 4597 County Road F, Waldo, WI 53093; (920) 287-1146; email: jwbsteam@gmail.com.


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