MY TREASURE


| January/February 1973



Pierce Millers

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

F. Hal Higgins

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.