I Blew The Whistle Years Ago!

| March/April 1992

  • 65 HP Case steamer

  • Gary Jones and Bill Thurman
    Gary Jones and Bill Thurman at the Case Convention.

  • 65 HP Case steamer
  • Gary Jones and Bill Thurman

576 Murray St. Owatonna, Minnestoa 55060

I have loved steam engines ever since I blew the whistle on one during a Labor Day parade about 20 years ago. Naturally, I thought, like most young people (I am 27) who like engines, it would be a long time before I could ever own one.

Well, in September of 1990, I went down to Glenville, Minnesota to look at a 65 HP Case steamer that I had heard was for sale. After looking it over and seeing the great condition that it was in, I decided to talk to my wife to see if she had any use for a steam engine; she had a birthday coming up and I thought it might make a dandy gift for her. Well, we decided to buy the engine and on January 12, 1991, Case steam engine #35382 was hauled from Glenville, Minnesota to Webster, Minnesota to the farm of Larry and Francis 'Butch' Malecha where the restoration was to take place. Their farm is the site of the annual Rice County Steam & Gas Engine Show every Labor Day weekend, and the permanent home of the engine.

The restoration started in January, 1991 with some re-piping and trying to free up the piston which the previous owner's son said had been stuck for years. While working on the engine, we were overjoyed to find that the crosshead slide was the culprit and not the piston, which was as shiny as a gun barrel.

One of the larger parts of the restoration was re-tubing her. I could tell that the tubes were not in the best shape when I bought her, and I was the recipient of a very cold bath when seven of them let loose when I gave it the hydro test for the first time.

I decided to replace all seven tubes and naturally had to pick the hottest, most humid day of the summer to do it! In early July, Larry and Butch Malecha, Smoky Cross and I started cutting tubes out of the engine. It was reassuring to see that the barrel and the front and rear flue sheets were all in good shape.


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