Boasting but a meager 4 HP at the drawbar, the model steam engine of Bruce McCourtney, Syracuse, plumed smoke from its stack and steam from its valves in a performance which brought nostalgic memories to older spectators and completely dumfounded the younger ones at the tractor pulling contest here Friday.
It took 35 men on the contest (plus an unknown number from the crowd) to force the little steamer's front wheels off the ground after a pull of 145 feet.
This completely baffled the youngsters, who had declared the little fellow would never be able to leave the starting line with weight of the empty sled. As a result the little fellow 'stole the show'.
The little engine scales at 4,400 lbs. It tugged, but estimated calculations, twice its own weight without extra front end weights such as were on most of the contest diesels.
It did this with power generated in only one 5-in. x 6-in. cylinder.
Although the engine was first built built before 1900, the boiler was made in 1953. It has been thoroughly tested an x-rayed to meet all safety specifications. It has a test capacity of more than 200 lbs. pressure, but McCourtney has it valved for 120 lbs. which creates about 15 HP on the belt and about 4 HP on the drawbar.
After watching the little model's performance, Allen Meisbach, who remembers steam power with reverence, commented, 'if Albert (Meisbach) had his big job 16 horse power) here they couldn't get enough on the sled to stop it.'