LADY STEAM OPERATOR, 1903


| July/August 1980


We ran across a fascinating article in the American Thresherman for January, 1908. It told of Miss Alice V. Downes, of Canton, Ohio, who passed the state examination for mechanical engineer 'and now holds a license for operating a steam engine.'

Miss Downes was 'probably the only lady in Stark County, Ohio, to pass this exam,' the magazine said. Without formal education in the subject, she displayed 'a ready knowledge of the application of steam, the horse power which can be developed in different sized engines, the tensile strength of boilers and all details of mechanical engineering.' She learned it while helping her father in his duties as an engineer.

A photo with the article shows a bright young woman. We wonder did Miss Downes ever operate a steam traction engine on a farm, and does Ohio have any equal to her today among its female residents?






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