This 22 H.P. Geiser engine number 16710 was in court in Seward County, Kansas from September 1964 until April 30, 1965.
Box 216, St. Jacob, Illinois
This Geiser engine was found by Mr. Floyd Massoni of Kismet, Kansas and myself, while we were on our way to Dodge City, Kansas during the later part of February 1964, on the Merkle ranch about fifteen miles north of Mead, Kansas. When we inquired o Mr. Merkle about the engine, he told us that he had traded it to a junk dealer in Mead about 1939 and that he did nothing to it until about 1951, and that he then traded it to a Mr. Jack Sanders that lived south of Mead. We continued our trip to Dodge City and that afternoon while on our way back to Kismet, Kansas we called on Mr. Sanders and asked him if he owned the steam engine on the Merkle ranch and if he would sell it. He told us that he did own it and that he would sell it and after some conversation a deal was made; and in a few days we moved the engine to Mr. Massonis ranch near Kismet. We then began working on it in March of 1964 and by August first, we had it completely restored and repainted and in excellent condition. During The Little Worlds Fair, an annual Labor Day event held each year at Kismet, Kansas, we had it steamed up and pulling a large fan. During this Labor Day Fair Mr. Massoni put me in charge of the engine as engineer, and late one after noon the junk dealer that had traded the engine to Mr. Sanders in 1951 came up to me and claimed the engine and forbid me to move it as he was going to get it after the Little Worlds Fair was over. Then the next day after the Little Worlds Fair was over, he filed suit against Mr. Massoni for $500.00 damages and all court costs and the release of the engine. But when the suit came to trial on April 29th. and ended on April 30, 1965, the court ruled that since the junk dealer had owned the engine since 1939 and up to 1951 when he traded it to Mr. Sanders; that he had lost title to it by the statues of abandoment and limitations and that Mr. Sanders did own the engine at the time that he sold it to Mr. Massoni and therefore Mr. Massoni now owned it with a clear title to it. After court was over we went home to Kismet and got it out of the shed and steamed it up and belted it to the fan and had a lot of fun listening to the exhaust and smelling steam cylinder oil when it was hot, and the Geiser seemed to run better now knowing that it had a good owner and a good home.