Like Father, Like Daughters

Mike Wahl and his daughters share common devotion to a rare 1921 Farquhar steam engine. Learn how this engine affected their lives.

| December 2019

Photo by Bill Vossler

Mike Wahl traces his interest in old iron to the tractor shows he attended as a boy, tagging along with his dad and grandfather. But while working with local steam enthusiast Danny Moerke in the mid-1980s, he began to focus on steam engines.

With Danny as his first mentor, it was soon evident that Mike had “steam in his blood.” After much searching and a lot of persuasion, Mike convinced his parents that they should purchase their first steam traction engine: a 1921 15hp Style K Farquhar.

Danny continued as Mike’s mentor until his death in 2005. Today, Danny’s legacy lives on through Mike, who lends a helping hand to others who want to learn about steam – including his daughters, 17-year-old Lilly and 13-year-old Maddy. The Wahls’ Farquhar – Mike’s teenage passion – remains the focus of a shared interest. 

Photo by Bill Vossler

When the Wahls acquired the Farquhar in 1991, the engine was in working condition, so Mike ran it “as is” for several years. Since then, he’s added an original-style canopy, the rear deck, gear guards, a water tank and a fuel tank. Five years ago, he completed major repairs, including boiler work, retubing, a new firebox door ring and re-piping. “With a rare engine like this, it all comes with the territory,” Mike says. “Only a dozen or so are known to exist, and they must be preserved.”


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