One Man’s Passion

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17409 Prospect Belton, Missouri 64012

Bill Fisher’s interest in steam engines began in the
Seventies, when he gained a working knowledge of mechanics while he
was employed as a welder. The smooth working of the gears of a
steam engine and the quietness of the engine’s operation
fascinated Bill. It did not take long for him to realize that he
needed to have an engine of his own. He had attended many shows and
gazed with envy and appreciation at the engines he saw, and then he
planned his very own venture.

He began serious groundwork toward building a steam engine from
1976 to 1978. To obtain the information to complete this task, he
had to delve into any source he could findfrom attending the
various steam engine shows in the midwest area, which were mainly
in Missouri and Iowa, to using his experience in mechanics and
welding. Finally, in 1980, Bill completed a
1/3 scale model of a 1919 sixty horsepower
Case engine.

In building the engine, Bill used a lot of ingenuity in
acquiring many of the parts. The rear wheels of his Case are
originally from an antique four horsepower cultivator, whereas the
front wheels are just bullrake wheels. The bevel gears on the
governor are from a riding lawn mower, and the clutch was actually
made out of Ford brake shoes. Bill obtained the flywheel from a cut
down Minneapolis Moline gas tractor, and last but not least, the
counterbalance wheel for the steam engine came from a John Deere
mowing machine.

With his baby Case steam engine to proudly introduce, he
attended shows at Paris, Missouri and Adrian, Missouri, as well as
Platte City. His greatest success was being invited to show his
Case Model at Silver Dollar City during the National Craft Festival
in September 1990. He took his steam engine out of storage and
brought it to the Festival in 1990. In 1991 he was invited back
again, and Bill has just received confirmation for the 1992
Festival. The Craft Festival pulls in large crowds, and along with
men of all ages, a surprising amount of women were also interested
in the steam model. It is most pleasing to see the interest spurred
by seeing the model running. The fact that it really does function
gives the most interest to viewers at the park.

Still in keeping with his love of the moving parts of an engine,
Bill also built a baler in 1991 just from looking at a picture of
one; he displayed the little baler at Adrian. Yet, the steam engine
is still his favorite. Bill Fisher is now the proud owner of two
engines, one he built and another that he purchased that still
needs to be refurbished. It has taken many years for him to finally
achieve his dream of owning a steam engine.

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