Rt 2, Box 6 Slaton, Texas 79364-9501
There is a gentleman by the name of Ben Winter from Altamont,
Illinois. So that seemed like a good title for a story to make a
dream come true.
Ben was somewhat interested in buying a Kitten steam engine. I
just happened to know where one was that needed a few parts. This
engine is the one that Eiffel Plasterer of Huntington, Indiana
saved from the scrap iron because as Eiffel told me, ‘I
couldn’t stand to see it scrapped.’
Bill Renfo on left, Ben Winter on right with glasses. In the
background is Kitten engine #218 owned by Lubbock County Museum.
Engine was previously owned by W. H. Knapp from Ohio.
I told Ben that a few parts were missing and that if he wanted
to buy that engine I would make the parts for him. We were able to
make the parts because, as told in the story of ‘The Kitten:
From Wood To Cast Iron’ in IMA May/June ’92 issue, we now
have the original patterns to make a Kitten steam engine.
The few parts were equivalent to 75 pieces.
As you can see in the picture, the top half of the Kitten was
missing. It looked like someone took all of the parts that could be
taken off easily and then sold them. There are not that many
Kittens around so there couldn’t be that much need for that
many parts. Some of the parts that we made from the patterns are:
fire grates, grate holder, steam door, hub cap, cylinder head,
valve cover, valve slide holder, pitman including the ends, reverse
stand, reverse rod, steam handle, slide valve rod, drain caps for
boiler, hand holds, packing nut, name plate, reverse handle, steam
ports, slide valve, valve handle, clutch handle, clutch handle
bracket, two main bearing caps, complete clutch assembly, complete
steam pump, pre-heater, pulleys for governor, pulley stand, exhaust
nozzle, steering wheel, and a few parts for the platform, fire
stokers plus all the piping, all the brass valves and cutoffs and
bushings, all the bracing for the canopy, and an exhaust steam
We had quite an undertaking but, as you can see, one of my
dreams was to obtain the original Kitten patterns and then make the
parts to restore this engine. Through a little research we found
that the number on this engine was 211 so that is what we put back
on the cylinder head.
So I would like to thank Mr. Ben Winter for helping the dream
become a reality.
That reminds me: We recently traveled to Ferdinand, Indiana to
attend a steam engine threshing show which gave me a new title for
another storyyou guessed itabout the Kitten heritage. The title:
‘The Secret Formula Unfolds on How To Paint a Kitten Steam