Early Russell Steam Traction Engine

| November/December 1994

  • # Picture 01

  • # Picture 01

S47 W22300 Lawnsdale Road Waukesha, Wisconsin 53186

This engine is very small, probably about 6 or 8 HP, and was built by Russell & Company of Massillon, Ohio, about 1895.

This picture was taken in 1898 on the Meidenbauer farm (Echo Farm) southeast of the City of Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Lawnsdale Road (County Trunk 'I'), very near the Waukesha/New Berlin town line.

Standing on the boiler and holding onto the smokestack is Selma Schoenwalder Lartz, who was born December 19, 1875, so she was 23 years old when this picture was taken. She was an early ancestor of Rich Lartz, a collector of old iron and a current member of Branch #2, of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association, and Joe Schoenwalder of Schoenwalder's Plumbing and Bath Shop of Waukesha, Wisconsin.

The boiler is obviously cold, and judging by the children's clothing, it is likely a holiday or a celebration of some sort, or perhaps just a Sunday after church.

Although steam engines presented an attractive place to play, they were generally 'off limits'' to the children. Here they likely were allowed on the engine just long enough to take this picture.