MIGHTY TINY STEAMERS

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Courtesy of Don Larson, 1426 Messenger St., Menomonee, Wisconsin 54751. German made pumping plant - very old.
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Courtesy of Don Larson, 1426 Messenger St., Menomonee, Wisconsin 54751. This is a 25 year old model made by an Amish man.
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Courtesy of Don Larson, 1426 Messenger St., Menomonee, Wisconsin 54751. Hot air engine, restored.
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Courtesy of Don Larson, 1426 Messenger St., Menomonee, Wisconsin 54751. Some of my collection.
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Courtesy of Don Larson, 1426 Messenger St., Menomonee, Wisconsin 54751. Steam operated carnival.

1426 Messenger St. Menomonee, Wisconsin 54751

Any young man with good health and a poor appetite can save up
money.

The above title was derived from the fact it was used by an
Amery Newspaper describing my engines at a recent steam show in
that town. I suppose my interest in steam is from my childhood
days, as my father was a country butter-maker and creamery owner
for almost forty years. He owned and operated creameries in
Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, many in the era when steam was the
only power for crossroad creameries. My parents are retired and
living in nearby Cameron, Wis and Dad gives me many stories of the
first steam operated plants he helped install and operate. One of
the many accounts describes a filter for water, which had to be
repacked with hay quite often. He tells me his first plant had an
upright boiler and horizontal engine.

In 1918, I received a Weeden double acting engine for Christmas
and still have it in running condition. Since, I have collected
over thirty toy steamers, some in working order and some
‘basket cases’ which I have restored. I have the
‘Weeden’ American made engines from 1889 model (no. 1) to
the last in 1928 with electrical heaters. Most of my steamers are
heated by alcohol burners.

Also along with collecting engines, I have found toys that are
operated by steam. I have a complete cast iron, machine shop, with
power hack saw, drill press and grinders. I am in the process of
putting together a steam operated carnival, including a merry go
round, ferries wheel, organ grinder and minstrel show. A steam
water-pumping plant, with a very old German made engine is also in
my collection.

I do this for my own entertainment, but was asked to show some
of my engines at Pioneer Days at Amery, Wis. last year at the John
Goldsmith place, I found that my audience consisted of kids from
six to sixty. I sure enjoyed the show and met many fine steam men
from all over the country. Through these men, I found many more
engines and parts of same. Through one of these, I got a hot air
engine which I was able to restore.

We have several fine steam shows in our area every fall, among
which are at Eau Claire, Wis., Strum, Amery and Beldonville.

I do not have much in metal working machinery, but have a good
friend here in Menomonee, Larry Larson, who has helped me out many
times, as he has a fine home work shop.

I might add that your Iron Man is very well subscribed to around
these parts. I am enclosing some photos of my ‘tinker
toys’. The larger engine shown in front of my house, I no
longer have. It was built by an Amish gentlemen about twenty-five
years ago. I traded if for a smaller model as I couldn’t get it
into my basement workshop. If there are any who are interested in
the smaller steamers, would be happy to hear from you. Thanks again
for your GREAT IRON-MEN which gets better every issue.

Farm Collector Magazine
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