| March/April 1974

Union City, Indiana

Grandpa may like to be out there at his shop, working on his steam engine, you can betcha. But, when Grandpa's little seven month old granddaughter was confined to a complete body-cast, to be confined for months away from the family in a lonely bedroom, you can bet that Gramps banked the fires on his beloved Case and went back to the 'drawing boards' to do something about it.

Yes it's the story about a steam engineer who thought his first love was his steam engine. That is, until his little granddaughter, Karen was hospitalized in a body cast and would have to remain that way for eight long months. All of which was going to mean that little Karen would have to be oh so lonely in her bedroom, for oh so long, while the rest of her family and playmates would be elsewhere doing chores and having fun. Then it was that Lloyd Seidel, the Iron-Man Hero of our story, let the fires die down and the boiler pressure dwindle away to fulfill an old promise he'd made, to help others, back in his high school days that, with the help of the Lord and his new knowledge he'd make something to lighten little Karen's load.

For a while Karen's folks thought she could be more with them and more maneuverable both at the hospital and later at home, if she could be pulled about in a child's coaster wagon. But Grandpa, Lloyd seidel's inventive mind soon saw through the problems involved and sought immediately to do something about them.

'At the hospital I noted how awkward it was to try to pull a wagon around the sharp turns between beds and stands without hitting or running into something,' explained Lloyd to me, the first year we attended the Ohio Valley Antique Machinery Show at Georgetown, Ohio, back in 1971. Parents, let alone a nurse or nurse's aid simply couldn't steer a coaster wagon around, unless they set down what they were carrying and use both hands one to pull and steer the front wheels, the other to lift the rear wheels around the obstacles. (How well I know that, recalling the good old days when I used to deliver fresh country butter for the neighborhood store in an old wooden coaster wagon.)

Determined to do something about it and make little Karen's life and everyone else's a little easier and happier, Lloyd Seidel began visualizing and improvising some rather simple mechanical principles. The kind of ideas an engine man gets around his steam engine if ever and whenever he decides he can make it work or steam a little bit better.