Spalding's Corner

Looking for Clues to Mystery Engines


| January-February, 2006



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Last issue’s “mystery” engine generated four correct identifications of what is a fairly obscure steam traction engine.
The first correct identification came from William R. Vandermaas, Howe, Ind., who wrote:

“While looking at my last issue of Steam Traction I arrived at the Spalding’s Corner column to, again, try to identify the mystery engine. I enjoy that column so much but have not until now made a response. I’ve done quite well figuring out the various models pictured.

“I’m pretty sure this issue’s photo shows a Lang & Button engine, manufactured in Ithaca, N.Y., around 1900 or later. From the information I have the drive wheel tread would indicate the build date to be from 1890s to early 1900s. The big toolbox between the steering wheels, the high mount water tank and the star cast into the smokebox door (slightly off center) make identification easy.

“I already have a copy of Prof. P.F. Rose’s handy little book, but if I should happen to be the lucky winner, I shall give the book to a young ‘in just getting started in steaming.

“Thanks for the good job on a great old magazine, keep up the very good work.”

Jonas Stutzman, Brad Vosburg, Paul Stolzfoos and Luke Nelson also correctly identified the engine. Congratulations William, your copy of Prof. P.F. Rose’s Steam Engine Guide is on the way! Also, we should note we received two correct answer’s to the “mystery” engine in the September/ ­October 2005 issue, not the single answer we reported. Apologies to Curtis Cook, who also identified the 10 HP 1884 Gaar-Scott.