FINDING A 6 HP. RUSSELL TRACTION ENGINE

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After Mr. Wood got through with the 6hp. Russell he found. See his article on Finding a 6hp. Russell.
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The Russell as Mr. Wood found it. See Mr. Wood's article on Finding a 6hp. Russell.

Mendon, Utah

BACK TO MY BOYHOOD days when I carried a Russell catalog while
heading cows to the field and school, I read the pages with intense
interest. The 6hp. intrigued me most and I longed for the chance to
see one, not ever dreaming I’d be the proud owner of one. My
desire for over a half century was realized when John Busch came
driving in with the wreckage of a 6hp. steamer on May 16th, 1953.
Lee McLain had found it in a junk yard in Harlowtown, Montana. I
tried to purchase it through correspondence but could not. I had
told Chris Busch, of Colton, Wash., about it and Chris offered to
get it for me and haul it here. As soon as the spring rains let up
Chris drove to Harlowtown to make arrangements for it.

On arrival there he found it had been already sold to a laundry
and since only the boiler was needed, the torch had already been
applied and all the small brackets and other parts were already
off. It was indeed a sad sight and seemed quite evident the little
Russell had made its last round. Our fancy could revert back to its
threshing days and later used for a power unit for a sheep shearing
plant. Now the faithful servant was going the way of the ruthless
torch, the same fate that had claimed many others. Chris made a
deal and it was to be exchanged for another unit or boiler of same
value. A faint hope of the Russell to still have a chance for
resurrection seemed quite evident. Several weeks passed before
Chris sent his son John over with a boiler of same make for
exchange. The laundry man saw a chance for some easy money and
demanded unreasonable amount of difference, not withstanding the
understanding of previous date and price. A less amount was finally
compromised.

The boiler was good as well as the wheels and gearing and I saw
possibilities so I started to work May 18th to bore out studs and
cap screws, being about 35 in all, replacing brackets, steering
shaft, bracket reach, building new platform, tanks and
manufacturing many other parts. After spending 18 days of 8 hours
each, Betsy Lee was ready for the cold water test. To my surprise
only one cap screw leaked which was soon tightened and the pressure
run up to 90 lbs. I could not resist the temptation of firing her
up the first. nice day after a long rainy spell. With a little help
she turned over & started after being idle for so many years.
Some adjustments on valve gave it the good old familiar Russell
exhaust, so I drove out the gate and headed for the mountains and
started up the steepest of all. Felt sure Betsy Lee would make it
on 80 lbs. pressure. Suddenly I noticed the fire poker had fallen
and started to wrap around the rear wheels with a portion headed
straight between the gears. I stopped in time to save disaster,
found a rock with which to block the wheels, removed the danger and
tried again. Of course she stopped on center and with some
difficulty I soon had her rolling with the sharp exhaust and
finally made the grade. A signal of triumph from the Buckeye
whistle announced the accomplishment. Returning the 62-year-old
Russell home, I painted it and she looks as she did when she left
old Manillon.

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