The D. June

1880 D. June Portable Steam Engine is One of Two


| Winter 2006



D June

The D. June steam engine at the Auglaize Historic Village and Farm Museum near Defiance, Ohio.

There are only two D. June portable steam engines known: One is in the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, and the other is at the Auglaize Historic Village and Farm Museum near Defiance, Ohio.

The D. June steam engine was manufactured in Freemont, Ohio. According to information provided by the Hayes Presidential Library in Freemont, the 1880 City Directory listed D. June Mfg. “at the foot of Garrison Street.” Today, the foot of Garrison Street is a commercial area in downtown Freemont along the river. There is no historic marker or any other evidence of the original factory.

Recently, I spoke with Marilyn Wenner, owner of the D. June featured here, on her farm near Bellevue, Ohio, to learn about the fascinating history of the engine. “About 1948 to 1950, my dad belonged to a steam engine association and saw an ad in a magazine that an old D. June steam engine was for sale in a scrapyard in Pennsylvania,” Marilyn says. “I don’t recall the name of the town. Dad drove his old log truck, a 1934 Ford, and took my boyfriend (later to be my husband) along with him. Before they left, Dad nailed planks all across the bed to make it flat so he would have a good place for the D. June.”

Upon arrival at the scrapyard, they found the D. June had been disassembled, apparently being readied for the final scrap process. After looking for two days, Marilyn’s father felt they had located most of the pieces, and proceeded to load the log truck and tie everything down.

“There were large hills and the 1934 Ford truck could only manage crawl speed up the hills,” Marilyn says. “My boyfriend would jump out and run to the top of the hill to check to see if the road was clear. When the truck got to the top he would jump in and they would coast down the other side at a high rate of speed. They could not stop on the way down because the brakes were not good enough.

“My dad and I worked on that old engine for two years. We put in new flues and I had to scrape a lot of rust, paint and grease,” Marilyn says. “We drove to the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit several times to see the other D. June engine on display so we could check for the original paint colors and also see how it was put together. This engine was his pride and joy.”