IN SEARCH OF STEAM


| September/October 1972



John Boese's 110 Case

Courtesy of E. J. Buhr, Maymont, Saskatchewan, Canada.

E. J. Buhr

Route 3, Box 817 Anacortes, Wash. 98221.

The hunt goes on. Rumors are laboriously tracked down and that 'guaranteed, genuine steam engine' is again shown to be an air-compressor, refrigeration unit, gasoline engine, piles of pipe or nothing. Worst of all, it might lead to a brighter spot on a concrete or rock foundation with) hits of slag lying around from a cutting torch that was used to cut through tie-down bolts, crankshaft and connecting rod in what has become the death ritual for the heart of the industrial era. 'Steam engine?' the scrap man says. 'Oh, we busted that thing up a couple of months ago.' The owners of an old stern wheel steamboat pay the scrap man good money to remove and junk a 'Doctor' not knowing that there are people about who would pay them for the privilege of removing and restoring it.

Industrious labor and honest effort do have their rewards though and the one good time, more than makes up for the many bad times. During a lifetime a man meets many people and from these countless faces there are a few that stand out in your memory, making you feel good when you think of them and you ask yourself, 'What I would have missed in life if I'd never shook the hand of that man.' These are the people you are proud to call 'Friend!'

And so, on an August day in 1970, the search for steam was put aside to make way for some enjoyment of my labors. Lloyd Belden of St. Paul Park, Minn. was kind enough to lend me his pick-up truck. While he worked on repairing the crankpin of an engine of mine, Jim Machacek of Northfield, Minn., lent me a nice little 3x4 vertical bottle frame engine. To this I added the 2 HP vertical boiler that came out of my steamboat and a vertical inverted air compressor circa 1900. Throw in the tool box and a belt and the load was complete.

My destination was the Butterfield Threshermen's 4th Annual Steam and Gas Engine Show. Butterfield is down in the Southwest corner of the state, past Mankato and they have one of the most beautiful show grounds on the circuit. 208 acres with a pond and a large area under cultivated trees make an ideal setting for the event. Arriving after dark on a Friday night, President Wayne Kispert was still hard at work and covering alot of ground on his scooter. Knowing full well what a mess of little nit-picking things have to be done for a good show, it sure made me feel good when Wayne took a minute to tell me I didn't need to sleep under the truck when there was a nice big empty engine shed to bunk down in. When the thunderstorm cut loose around two o'clock that morning, the roof over my head was a real blessing and I felt that running around in my underwear, helping to get the grain wagons under cover, was the least I could do in return for my room.

That morning, I found an appropriate spot, set the engine on the ground, belted the air compressor up to it, pulled the boiler to the end of the truck and after running the steam hose over to the engine, filled the boiler and water tank and lit a small fire to warm things up. The man who invented the steam hose has a secure spot in my heart.