History of an Engine

| November/December 1958

  • 30 hp. Russell Compound
    30 hp. Russell Compound No. 13148. Universal boiler. Now located on the Glen Garrabrant farm, 6 miles north of Funk, Nebraska.

  • 30 hp. Russell Compound

Hugo, Colorado

ENCLOSED IS MY RE-newal and want to say I enjoy each issue of the ALBUM, but like the personal letters and pictures better than reprints of technical manufacturing data on locomotive. I do enjoy statistics on steam tractions.

Am enclosing a picture of a 30 hp. Russell which belongs to my brother and I. It is a compound No. 13148 mounted on a universal boiler. This engine's history started in 1906 and was first sold in Iowa where it threshed for a few years and then was shipped to Huron, South Dakota, where it was used for breaking sod. I assume the shortage of water in Dakota resulted in their not washing the boiler, at any rate they burned a hole in it. The engine must have actually been used very little up to the time it had it's boiler spoiled, because it was returned to the Russell factory and completely rebuilt and mounted on a new boiler. The second time the Russell Company sold this engine it was sold by the Clark Implement Co. of Council Bluffs, Iowa, to my father William Garrabrant and his brother Roy. They bought it with a new engine guarantee also a 36x60 Russell separator in the spring of 1915. This is one engine that really earned its way. Father once said, 'He had graded 4 or 5 hundred miles of road with it.' Beside the road grading it threshed 22 seasons which varied from 60 to 100 days. I remember him saying he run this engine 228 days in 1928. Father was a wonderful mechanic and always kept it in good shape. This is the reason it is still good but shows a lot of honest wear. If you should use this picture I think it would be interesting to call the readers attention to the fact it has two steering wheels. The second one was put on when they pulled an elevating road grader. It proved so convenient that we never removed it. There is also a 50 gallon hot water tank mounted under the running board which gave us enough to make a round when grading through one big section which made 3 miles per round trip. With this amount of water we could work the engine to capacity for the entire trip. Glen and Benard Garrabrant are standing beside the engine and a little boy is on the drive wheel. This lad was crippled with polio but took great interest while we fired up to go. This was the first time the engine had been fired in 16 years. It was necessary to replace a few parts which had been removed by vandals or stolen by junk dealers.

P. S. For Big Mac's benefit, I'd like to state the engine was not centered.


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