30 Special or 40 HP Undermounted Avery ??? Case Engines, Model T Fords, and Katy Hat Steam Domes

| November/December 1986

  • 40 HP Case engine

  • 40 HP Case engine

131 Robin Road Blackwell, Ok 74631.

The July-August 1986 Iron-Men Album was the best in years. There are several articles I enjoyed. John Forney's article Loved and Fond Memories was very good, along with Melvin Kistler's letter to David Bennett. I would also like to say congratulations to Kathy Seybert. I bet she is a fine engineer. In John and Melvin's articles they speak of several old timers. I knew most of these men. It did really bring back 'Loved and Fond Memories.'

My start with steam was much like John Forney's. My dad A. E. Atteberry left Missouri where he grew up running steam engines and moved to Turon, Kansas in 1910. Dad started his custom threshing career on a large scale in 1910. He owned and ran several makes of engines Case, Nichols and Shepard, Avery, Gaar-Scott and Reeves. Of these engines the Case and Nichols and Shepard were his favorite. I have heard him say many a time, you can not beat a Case for traction work. The Nichols and Shepard was a 25 HP double side mount. Dad liked this engine real well for belt work, threshing headed grain. He also had high praise for Gaar-Scott and Reeves, which were both double rear mounts. In 1913 Dad ordered a 30 HP Undermount at the Wichita threshers convention. The big Undermount was not well adapted to his work. I guess the big Undermount really looked good to Dad at the Threshers convention. He told me they really sold him on it. The Big Undermounts were show engines in the old days and are great show engines today. Like John, the first engine I rode on was a Russell. My first engine was a 20 HP Huber plow engine, the second engine was a 65 Case No. 32724. Next year the 65 and I will celebrate forty years together.

My interest in steam started out before the first shows. In our area there were only five or six men that really loved the old steamers. Times were rather hard, money was short. My dad's health was failing and I had to help support my family and attend school. The early collectors really carried the cross. We caught hell from neighbors and most anyone we came in contact with. People would say, 'What do you want with that old junk?' In those days we were trying to save the steam engines from the junk man. No one thought they would ever be worth anything. We wanted these engines because we loved them. With very limited finances we were able to save only a very few.

My life time steam buddy Lyman Knapp saved a 6 and 25 HP Russell, 10 HP Canton Aultman and several large tractors. I was only able to save the 20 HP Huber plow engine and 65 Case. We had one engine in our area that was in much distress. About ten miles south of my home sat a 40 HP Undermounted Avery. This engine is now owned and shown each year by Mid West Old Threshers, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. I will not write a history on this engine as that is a long story. If it had not been for my dad, A.E. Atteberry, there would be a lot less history on this engine. It would have been cut up by the junk man. The first owners of this engine were the Lucas Brothers, Tonkawa, Oklahoma, then a man named Brown. Emery Pettit got this engine in the 30s. Emery was a large farmer. He tried using the engine as a steam cleaner, which did not work out well. My dad and Emery were in the implement business together at Ponca City, Oklahoma. It was through my dad's influence in 1939 that Emery did not junk the engine, as he had no love for it at all. The old 40 survived WWII and was not cut up and shot back at us. The shows got started. We started reading the Iron-Men Album. Still no one wanted the Big Avery. It was through the efforts of Harold Ottaway, Prof. Stroud, Lyman Knapp and myself that we got our good friend Roy Kite from Bird City, Kansas to come and buy the 40 HP Undermounted engine. Roy was a Case dealer, a farmer and collected steam engines. His first love was for Case engines. We knew now that the Avery was safe and the cutting torches would never get her. Even people who claim to be Avery fans did not turn one hand to save this engine. I guess some people are like a rainbow, always show up after the storm.

I am sure the Avery Company sold this engine as a 40 HP. However, when I was a young fellow all the old timers called it a 30 Special. I can now see why they did, as the Avery Catalogue shows this boiler as their 30 Special. Roy Kite sold the big Avery to Mr. Willits from Iowa as a 30 Special. At first Mr. Willits referred to the engine as a 30 Special but it wasn't long and it became a 40. I have become very good friends with John Lucus, grandson of the original owner. From what John and his dad say, they think the engine was sold by the Avery Company new as a 40 HP and I think this is right myself.


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