R. R. 1, Maple City, Michigan 49664.
After reading the Jan-Feb 1972 issue of Iron-Men Album several
times, I ran across a letter that I may be a little help on. The
letter was from Arthur A. Zuhn, 117 Hilton Court, East Peoria,
Illinois 61611 asking about a Baker traction engine.
Now, Abner Baker did not call that a traction engine. It was a
steam tractor that he built and came in two sizes. If I remember
right, one was about a 20 HP and the other was about a 25 HP. But I
do remember one carried 600 pounds of steam and the other 800
pounds. They had a self-feeding stoker that held about a bushel of
slack coal (which was the cheapest coal you could buy) and about 15
gallons of water that was supposed to run the tractor for ten
It had a condenser or big radiator with a fan on the front end
that condensed the exhaust back to water and was used over many
times. But this did not work as there was no way of getting the
steam cylinder oil out and it went back to the boiler and soon
would eat the boiler up so that did not work out so well.
We lived about 35 miles from Swanton back in the steam threshing
days so were down there 3 or 4 times a year for parts and repairs.
At one time there was a long line of these tractors there at the
Raker plant, but I guess they were junked in time. I got some back
issues of the ALBUM from Earlene last summer at Wausseon and in one
was a picture of one of these tractors at a show.
I was at Swanton one time and the shop foreman told me it was
time for the 20th Century Limited Train on the NYC to come through
and that engine on the train had just had a new Baker valve gear
put on and that Lou Baker, Abner’s son, was riding the engine
to check the gear. Well, when that train came through the engineer
started to blow the whistle about two miles before he got to
Swanton and could not let go until he was a mile out on the other
side of Swanton.
I think that train picked up all the loose newspapers and scrap
paper in Swanton and took it to New York with it. It would have
taken my hat if I had not grabbed it and I was at least 60 feet
away from it.
Now maybe Mr. Arthur Zuhn can get some more information if he
will write to one of your ads on page 56 of Jan-Feb. 1972
Album-Scottdel, Swanton, Ohio.
In a back issue on page 50 of Sept-Oct. ALBUM 1966, there is a
picture of a steam engine and it is called a Case. Well, there is
only one engine in the world that has a steering wheel as big as
that one and that is a Greyhound made by Danting Mfg. Co. of
Toledo. That engine is a 24 HP Greyhound and owned by William and
Edgar Flowers of Adena, Ohio.