Father-and-Son Team Build Model Case Steam Engine

Model Case steam traction engine inspired by Virginia show

| January/February 1997

  • Ricky Ritchie's model Case engine
    Ricky Ritchie’s model Case engine he built with his dad's help. Engines in the background, from left to right: Bob Butts’ 40 HP Case, Tom Gingell’s 50 HP Case and Howard Hartman’s 50 HP Case.

  • Ricky Ritchie's model Case engine

Hi! My name is Ricky Ritchie. I’m not an old time steam engine man and I wasn’t even born when these fine engines were being used.

My story begins in 1974 when I was 10 years old. My father (Glen) and my uncle David took me and some gas engines to the Bridgewater Steam and Gas Meet which is located in Bridgewater, Virginia. When we got the gas engines unloaded, my father and I walked around to look at the displays. I couldn’t help but notice the huge machines moving slowly around. I was quite afraid of them as their whistles were very loud for my young ears. The first one I saw was an engine with a picture of a cow on the side. I found out many years later it was Earl Rohrer’s Russell.

I must have asked a lot of questions, because my father told me to ask my grandfather (Emmer) about them when we returned home after the show. I asked my grandfather about them a few days later. He told me he had worked around them but that he didn’t fully understand how they worked, and so began my fascination with steam power. As the years went by I would look at them and marvel at the unique sound they made when they were working.

Not much happened until I was 16 and could drive myself to the shows. In the summer of 1980 I took several gas engines to the Bridgewater show. As I was off from school for the summer and having the whole day to myself, I decided to walk down to the steam engines and look around.

I looked the engines over and was just about to walk away, when I heard a voice say, “Would you mind helping me for a minute?” As I turned around an elderly gentleman, Cecil Craun, on a Frick twin cylinder, was talking to me. He needed to back up to the coal pile and was afraid someone would walk behind the engine while he was backing up. I helped him watch for people and offered to shovel his coal. He looked at me for a moment and said OK.

After filling the coal box, Mr. Craun offered me a ride on his engine. I asked him lots of questions and he answered every one and told me to talk to Bill Harper, who had an E-B Peerless at the show, or to talk to Lawson Funkhouser, who had a Frick at the show, if I wanted to know even more about steam traction engines, as these men had been around steam all their lives.

Robert Coe_2
1/12/2010 9:25:40 AM

Ricky Ritchie, Hi my name is Robert Coe. When I was in the navy, I was stationed in San Diego, Ca and while there I was a member of the Vista, ca AGRACULTURE GAS AND STEAM MUSEUM. There I had, earned my antique steam engine license to operate those steam traction engines, been fasinated with those traction engines. I was part of the steam team. We had six tractors in all. One was a 1912 Minniapolis Moline, two were case, the oldest was a 1895 Russel, we also had the case that was in the movie Tremors 4. I also knew the operator during the movie. As you can tell I am very excited to find someone here in Va that has the same intersts as myself. If you and I could meet up and maybe talk about traction engines. My email is robert70@hotmail.com. Thank you R


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