MY TREASURE

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A Trio of grand ''Old Timers'' on Pierce Miller's ranch 10 miles east of Modesto, California. B. B. Brown left and Pierce Miller right, pause as they go over Miller's very rare Heald straw-burning portable that is apparently the only one of that make left
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The three pictures of my 50 HP Case. I found in Montana. Courtesy of Howard Mickelson, Kirkman, Iowa 51447.

Kirkman, Iowa 51447.

I am sending you three pictures of a 50 h.p. Case portable steam
engine I brought back to Iowa from Montana in May of 1971. It was
sitting in an alley between two buildings in a small town. After
much waiting and letter writing I bought it and hauled it home. As
you can see by picture No. 1 it had been stripped and left looking
pretty sad. By the time winter had set in I had completely cleaned
and painted it. Having no place to work inside I had to wait until
spring to resume my task of restoring it. In picture No. 3 you can
see I had replaced the stack and front wheels, giving it a more
appealing look. In other words, instead of a rusty looking pile of
iron, it sort of took on a proud and dignified look with her red
wheels, green fly wheel, tall stack and new front smoke box door
with the Eagle. I have been picking up parts here and there from
Ohio, Pennsylvania and around Iowa.

Now all I lack is the two main bearing caps, and I’ll have
it complete. I am anxious to fire it up and see it turn over on its
own power once more, but will just have to wait until it is
finished. At first I thought it was a 40 h.p., but after writing to
Mr. Arthur Hieland who has been such a great help to me, I found it
was a 50 h.p. The boiler is in real good condition, probably much
better than the average.

My father owned and ran steam engines most of his life. He
really had a great love for steam. His last engine, the one I
remember most and learned to operate, was a 65 h.p. Case. I
don’t know why he let it go for the scrap drive during World
War II. I was in the Army overseas and I guess maybe he thought it
would help the war effort. Afterwards he was sorry he let it
go.

His two trips to Mount Pleasant were the happiest times in his
declining years. That was in 1958 and 1960. He passed away in 1964.
Ill never forget the most exciting day of every year to me. It
wasn’t Christmas or the 4th of July, or even my birthday. It
was the day we filled the boiler on the 65 Case and fired it up to
pull it out of the shed. How I would run errands, carry kindling
and so forth. I guess I got steam in my blood somewhere along the
line as I couldn’t rest until I finally picked up a steam
engine of my own.

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