| May/June 1956

Here is an interesting article by the greatest living Farm Equipment Historian, F. Hal Higgins. It is somewhat unintentionally belated but it is good anytime. Ed.

REMEMBER THAT OLD steam traction engine that the Angels Camp Museum had rounded up and given a pedigree that cast considerable doubt on its ancestry? Well, B. B. Brown, veteran ex-Aultman-Taylor, ex-Advance Rumley, ex-Cat and ex-Canadian steam thresher expert, had looked at the picture of it as put out by the museum and said it looked more like an Owens, Lane and Dyer engine of the 1870s than anything else he had ever seen. After my letter appeared with picture in the IRON-MEN ALBUM, another old-timer down in Florida put the OK on Brown's first look. So, just to try to officially pin it down to that or some other manufacturer, the writer journeyed up to Angels Camp one day last September with big Lloyd Burr, who took his Saturday off for the trip. At the last minute, B. B. Brown couldn't make it on account of some U. S. Navy work he was on. But he phoned his regrets and promised to give our pictures close scrutiny to determine if this mystery steam tractor at Angels Camp was what he had first concluded it to be. So have a look at the pictures Burr and I got up at 'Angels', as the natives call it in deference to the past '49-er Gold Rush residents. It is Mark Twain Jumping Frog capital, too, and has an annual day to celebrate that tall tale of the ex-Missourian.

The little old steam engine in question stands out in front of the Museum within a few feet of the road leading into Angels. It stops the tourists, too, as we noted in the hour we were there looking over this engine. We also saw a big 110 hp. Best that had been brought in from an old logging job and parked on the back of the lot. While it was a dull day, I shot the engine from both sides with Burr in conversation with the owner of the museum, an ex-Oklahoman who started his museum just because he thought the old engine and other pioneer tools and gadgets should be saved while there was time and opportunity.

Says Brown: 'As we check our material on the old engine at Angels Camp and compare data, we find the following points check exactly:

Smoke stack hinge same; bracket on dome for supporting stack is identical.

Brackets on front end of smoke box the same; box section from front axle under boiler identical with all my pictures of Owens, Lane & Dyer.