1989 was a milestone for the Kitten Steam Engine No. 224. The Kitten steam engine, which is the last steam traction engine made in the United States, was a working steam engine. For 30 years Joe Lueken used it to power a Kitten saw mill. Joe, who was employed by Kitten Machine Works, helped build the Kitten steam engine, and later opened his own lumber company named Lueken & Pund in Ferdinand, Indiana. He used a Kitten thresher, steam engine and saw mill in his custom operating business. The Kitten steam engine had been built in 1940 to be kept for posterity, however, it was sold in 1942 to Lueken. Joe retired in 1972 and sold No. 224 and Kitten thresher No. 127 to Orman Dorney in Lawrenceville, IL. In 1979, Kitten Fertilizer bought the thresher and steam engine from Orman and hauled both to Slaton, Texas, where they have remained since that time.
So in 1989, the Kitten took its first trip to a steam show to ride in a parade. The ‘nearby’ show was only 500 miles away, in Pawnee, Oklahoma.
What a surprise, for no one knew that a Kitten engine was coming to be driven in the parade. Next year, who knows, the Kitten steam engine might visit your show!
Submitted by Jerry Kitten, Route 2, Box 6, Slaton, TX 79364.