A Firefighter's Steamer

Part One: The Saga of Case No. 26701

| March 2007

With any piece of equipment this old there is bound to be an account on how it survived. Many times we remark, "If only this engine could talk, imagine the tales it could tell."

Fortunately, the history of this steamer can be told, for in its life it has only had four owners. For the past 45 years, it was owned and cared for by George Miller.

When George agreed to sell it to me I visited him, along with my father, to hear his story. My dad wrote down this tale and I'm fortunate to have it to share with you.

If you ever visited Absarokee, Mont., you may have noticed this steamer tucked back into the corner of George's yard. George says there had been a steady stream of visitors to the engine over the years. Although he planned to operate it again, the years just seemed to slip by, and when he turned 92 he decided it was finally time to sell it. I'm grateful he decided to sell it to me.

The Saga of Case Engine No. 26701

According to George, this steam engine was built in 1912. It is a 75 HP, single-cylinder, double-acting steam engine.

It was shipped by rail to the J.I. Case dealer in Billings, Mont. The dealer did not sell it immediately, so he leased it for plowing and threshing in the fall of 1912. It pulled a 12-bottom plow with the plows spaced 14 inches apart, plowing a 16-foot-wide swath.

8/4/2012 2:21:43 PM

I really enjoyed your story. Very few would have taken on that labor of love. Only 2 years! I suspect this would still be a restoration project for most. I'm so happy you didn't re paint it, it's got so much charater. You know it's 100th birthday this year. You should celebrate and be very proud of yourself for bring this awesome steamer back to life.