Old Steam Thresher Engine Warms Seat of Government

| March/April 1956

Oregon, Missouri. Editor

Here is a well written article found in the Holt County (Missouri) Sentinel and sent to us by the owner! of the engine.

Furnaces with steam boilers rarely go to the bad except in cold weather, depending upon which time of year they are in operation. So the court house furnace, after a quarter of a century, finally gave way at the seams and was shut down.

The seat of government had no heat Saturday, Sunday or Monday. The building cooled off to something like 6 degrees which is ideal for an air-conditioned theatre during August. Such temperature is not comfortable for office work. Judge Harve Hall and Judge Merrill Bailey, of the county court and Lloyd A. Dankers, county clerk, hurried up plans for bringing in the new oil burning furnace from Detroit. Transportation takes time; setting up and reconnecting with the arterial pipes will take more time. Winter is making passes and court house business is accentuated at this time of year because of the revenue harvest.

The building was warm and comfortable Tuesday-steam sizzling in the radiators, no furnace of any kind in the basement. The court negotiated with Charles Lenz to bring in his threshing machine engine take up a position outside the basement doorway, and fire up to a normal head of steam. W. C. Brown and R. M. Kurtz, local plumbers, made the necessary connections from the old engine boiler to the furnace room where reduction valves were installed to keep the steam pressure operating normally. Charley pulled the engine off a sawmill assignment. The locomotive at tracts the attention of the public-standing there with smoke pouring from its stack and generating calories for a three-story brick building. The emergency hook-up might have to be continued for a week or ten days until some modern gadgets are fitted into place and set going to heat water beyond the boiling point. The engine has to be hand-fired day and night, at 30-minute intervals.

We developed a deep, personal crush on that steam engine when Charley drove it in the Fall Festival parade and quartered the thing in the courtyard. Sometimes, after the 45th milestone has been reached, it is difficult for one properly to act one's age, and we controlled an impulse during the festival to go forward and lay our hands on one of the huge tractor wheels of the locomotive. Children pulled the whistle cord, letting off a genuine old railroad tone, and in, our blind envy we could have un-regretfully mashed those kids into the ground.