Case Engines: A Civil Meeting

Case Engines and Civil War cannons pay homage to Case's famous mascot, Old Abe, and the War Between the States.

| March/April 2004

Jesse and Bill Jansen's 80 HP 1924 Case, serial no 35832. One of the very last Case steam engines built, it was possibly the last 80 HP to leave the factory before J.I. Case quit manufacturing steam engines in 1924. Jesse and Aaron Jansen are at the controls. Photographed by Grap Bahre at the 44th Annual Steam, Gas and Threshing Show Aug. 14-17, 2003, Pinckneyville, Ill.

Steam historian Jack C. Nor beck, best-known for his book The Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines, has been on a quest to arrange a series of photographs celebrating the famed mascot of the J.I. Case Co., Old Abe.

The storied history of Old Abe, an eaglet captured from the wild that became the mascot for Company C of the 8th Wisconsin Regiment during the Civil War, and finally the mascot for J.I. Case, is well-known. Last summer, after 3 years of unsuccessful attempts, Jack pulled together the scenes presented here, scenes containing perhaps more than a touch of irony.

The photograph above shows Bill Duve's 50 HP 1917 Case steaming proudly at the Confederate Encampment, Somerset, Va., accompanied by Sam Higginbutham's 1863 Napoleon cannon. The cannon was made by Revere Copper Co., Canton, Mass., and used by the Union Army. Bill and Sam are both active in the Somerset Steam and Gas Engine Association, whose show grounds are on the same farm as the encampment.

Above we see Amos Zimmerman's 1/2-scale 50 HP Case and a Parrot cannon on the grounds of the National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pa. The cannon was built in Georgia and used by General Ewell of the Confederate Army. Staff Sgt. John E. Scheaffer of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, 108th Artillary Division, which is based at the park, stands with the cannon.