80 Years With An 80 Case

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1931: Frank Peternell Farm, Brockway Township, Stearns County, Minnesota. Gust Schuneman, engineer.
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Trying out the plow in September 1995. For more photos and Jim's story, see ''80 Years With An 80 Case'' inside this issue.
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Freshly painted at that same show, with John Vouk at the levers and son Tom at wheel.
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November 1924: Frank Vouk third, H. P. Lahr Lahr Farm, Lesauk Township, Stearns County, Minnesota.
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At rest In 1961, canopy removed to put on 65.
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Late 1920s: Frank Vouk in center with white shirt. Gregor Smoley Farm, Brockway Township, Stearns County.
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November 1924: Case 80 with a Minneapolis 36'' separator at the Matt Lahr Farm.
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Gust Schuneman, age 73 in the summer of 1963. ''Almost done.''
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Gust Schuneman at work on restoration, summer 1963.
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Under restoration, summer 1963.
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80 HP Case: Star of Vouk's Steam Show, at the first show in 1965.

703 County Road 2 South St. Stephen, Minnesota 56375

This 80 HP Case steam engine, serial number 30357, was purchased
‘new’ in 1917 by my grandfather, Frank Vouk, of Brockway
Township, Stearns County, Minnesota, in company with his engineer,
August (Gust) Schuneman. It was shipped by rail from the Case
Distribution Center in Minneapolis to St. Cloud, Minnesota, and
driven the fourteen miles to Frank’s farm in what was to become
the village, and later the city of St. Stephen. When Gust had to
leave for the World War, Frank bought out his share.

I put the quotes on the word ‘new’ in the above
paragraph because sometime after the purchase a man wrote to Frank
and asked how he liked the engine, because he said it had been
repossessed from him. The inference was that the distributorship
had taken it, cleaned it up and sold it as new. Well, this rather
peeved Grandpa, and so he subsequently refused to let the
distributor ship take the 60 HP Case engine he had traded on the
80. The 60, which by this time was 20 or more years old, sat along
the fence row for many years and eventually was scrapped for the
World War II effort.

Frank did custom sawing each spring with the 80 on his farm with
a No. 2 Howell mill, and threshing in the surrounding area,
sometimes for up to 80 days in a season, with a 36′ wooden
Minneapolis separator with wing feeders, until his death in 1930;
at that time my dad, Bill, at age 18, took over as head of the
family, which included his mother, one brother and six sisters.

Bill continued custom threshing and sawing with the engine until
1939, when it and the wooden separator were replaced by a 1919 10
ton Holt Caterpillar and a 36′ Huber steel separator, also with
wing feeders. For several years, the 80 was steamed up each fall to
clean this threshing rig. It sat at its old resting place at the
end of the barn until 1952, when Bill and Gust decided to get it
going again. They used it on the sawmill that year and the next
with Gust as engineer. Then it was once again retired.

After starting to attend steam shows in the mid’50s with
Gust and Henry P. (Horsepower) Lahr of St. Joseph, Minnesota, and
with the purchase of a 65 HP Case engine in 1961, at an auction in
Little Falls, Minnesota, the steam in Bill’s blood once again
came up. So in 1963, with the help of Gust at age 73, who did much
of the work including the painting, he completed a total
restoration of the 80, with new flues put in by Mr. Lahr, new water
tank built by Bill, a correct canopy (the old one was for a 65),
repoured canon bearing, new piston rings, etc.

In 1965, with these two engines, Bill and his family started the
‘Vouk’s Steam Engine Threshing and Lumber Sawing Show’
on the old family farm. Every year since, the 80 has powered the
same sawmill on the same site that it did years ago, with
Bill’s younger brother John and his son Tom as engineers. It is
also used to pull an eight bottom John Deere plow which we restored
in 1995. It still carries a MAWP of 110 psi. In 1989 Bill’s
nephew, Tom Vouk, and grandson, Shawn Vouk, repainted it, had it
striped and put on all new decals for the 25th show. I think this
engine is rather unique since it has been in the Vouk family for 80
years, since it was purchased ‘new.’

This Case 80 has been in the family of Jim Vouk, 703 County Road
2 South, St. Stephen, Minnesota 56375, for 80 years. The sawmill in
1989 at the family’s 25th annual show.

Other engines at our show include the aforementioned 65 HP Case,
an 18 HP Advance Rumely, a 45 HP Case owned by Jim Dehn of Rogers,
Minnesota and a 9 HP Case owned by Richard Rademacher of Brainerd,
Minnesota, the latter two having been built from parts by the late
aforementioned H. P. Lahr, who got his nickname not only from his
initials, but also from working with and on steam engines. All
these engines can be seen at work at the annual ‘Vouk’s
Steam Engine Threshing and Lumber-Sawing Show’ in St. Stephen,
Minnesota, always on the last full weekend in September.

Farm Collector Magazine
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