Letting Off Steam


| March 2006



The “Republican” Case at the Stewart farm outside of Clay Center, Kan.

The “Republican” Case at the Stewart farm outside of Clay Center, Kan.

SAVING STEAM

The 2005 steam season saw its fair share of steam traction engines brought back into the fold, lovingly repaired, restored or refurbished, and put to running order once again.

In addition to the "usual" engines found at auction were the high-profile engines from the Joe Rynda collection, with at least five put back to working order during the year.

Those engines, by and large, were in a relatively healthy state of arrested decay. Rynda apparently limited his engine purchases to the best of the type he could find, well aware of the pitfalls of trying to restore a played out machine.

Then there's the Republican Case, as it's come to be known, fished out of the Republican River in north central Kansas by Forrest Stewart and crew, and now awaiting restoration.

The Republican Case is without question the find of the year. And that's not because of its rarity (it's a circa 1922 65 HP Case), but because of the circumstances of its find.

Washed into the river in 1935, the Case was entombed for 70 years, relegated to becoming so much iron oxide.