Farm Collector

News From Edaville

By Staff

AT THE WHEEL George Bartholomew, president of Edaville Railroad,
drives the family fun park’s newest exhibit around grounds.

When it was built in 1910, there were fewer than 500,000
automobiles in the country, the airplane was only seven years old
and the United States was still 35 years away from being considered
a world power. Today, in an era of space shuttles and Concorde
jets, this antique steam tractor is still chugging away at Edaville
Railroad and is delighting crowds with its hissing noises and
ancient appearance.

The 1910 Kittens steam tractor was dedicated last summer at the
sprawling South Carver, Massachusetts railroad museum and cranberry
farm. The recently refurbished tractor was accepted into the
Edaville family of antique trains and equipment during a special
ceremony at the 7th Annual Summer Antique Steam, Gas, &
Machinery Meet on Sunday, July 17.

Manufactured by F. Kittens Machine Works in Ferdinand, Ind., the
tractor was acquired by Edaville Railroad in 1981 and was recently
restored to its original working condition. Believed to be the only
operating steam tractor in the state, there is only one other of
the same make known to be in existence.

FIRED UP AND ROLLING Kenton Harrison of Edaville Railroad
handles the controls of the 1910 Kitten tractor during the Annual
Summer Antique Steam Gas & Machinery meet last year.

The steam tractor, which was popular from the 1880’s to
World War II, revolutionized the farm industry. It could do the
work of several teams of horses and could be fired by either wood
or coal. They were used to plow America’s fields, pull
harvesting equipment and for other general farm uses. Because of
the huge flywheel common to most steam tractors, they could also be
used to provide power for pumps, saw mills and other motor-driven

A cooperative effort by Edaville Railroad, the Hartford Steam
Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, and Dillon Boiler Services
of Fitchburg brought the 1910 steam tractor back into working
order. Nearly $35,000 in labor and materials, most of it donated,
were required to restore the ancient machine.

‘Hartford Steam and Dillon Boiler were extremely helpful in
bringing this tractor back into use,’ said George Bartholomew,
president of Edaville Railroad. ‘The people at Dillon played an
important role because it was mostly donated labor that did it.
Dillon employees came in on their own time to restore it and they
really showed their love for this old piece of equipment with all
their work.’

Edaville Railroad acquired the tractor from a New Hampshire
collector in 1981. He purchased it in 1975 from a person in the
Chippewa Lake region of Ohio, where it is believed the tractor was
used on farms during most of its working career. It is estimated
that the tractor has not seen any formal use for nearly 40

The 1910 Kittens steam tractor will become a permanent display
at Edaville Railroad and will still be used during special events,
like the antique machinery meet. Two such meets will be held this
year at Edaville Railroad on Sunday, July 15, and Sunday, Sept. 20.
Several hundred pieces of old steam- and gas-powered equipment are
featured during these events. The public is invited.

Edaville Railroad is located on Route 58 in South Carver. The
family attraction is open weekends in May from noon to 5 p.m. and
daily starting in June from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. until Oct. 31.
Edaville is also open for several weeks during the Christmas
season. Call (617) 866-4526 for more information.

WATCHING THE WORLD GO BY A young rail fan views the dedication
ceremonies from the cab of the Edaville steam locomotive.

  • Published on Sep 1, 1984
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