3390 S. CO. Road 250 W North Vernon, Indiana 47165
In the September/October ’94 IMA I wrote about Otto
Heffelmire’s 10 HP Russell restoration. We finished work on it
a whole day before the 1994 Darke County, Ohio, Show, which
featured Russell equipment. We had hydrotested the boiler to 150
psi cold and briefly ran the engine around the shop on 100 psi
Otto makes his living as a timber-man and supplies lumber to
some furniture shops. He made the platform from one white oak plank
23 and a half inches wide and just over two and a half inches
thick. He made a new slide block for the Woolf reverse out of black
walnut. After testing the injector and crosshead pump, we loaded
the engine and watched it move down the road to Ohio.
The Darke County Steam Threshers Association Show at Greenville,
Ohio, had a fine turnout of Russell engines, eight in all, ranging
from 6 to 25 HP. Otto’s 10 HP was both the oldest and the only
Russell with a Woolf reverse. It did well on the dynamometer and
pleased about everyone who saw it. One gentleman spent the better
part of 15 minutes looking for the glue seam in the platform.
In addition to Russells, the show had a variety of engines,
ranging from a 25 HP Baker to a double Aultman Star. One of them, a
10 HP Advance, serial number 722, arrived on the same trailer as
Otto’s Russell. Barry Moorman had recently bought the good
little Advance in northern Illinois. Lacking a clutch, the engine
has a sliding square pin in the flywheel. It too did well on the
dynamometer and proved an easy steamer.
After Greenville, the Russell came back to the shop for
Otto’s oaken coal box and water tank. It then went on to
Rushville, Indiana, for the Pioneer Engineer’s Reunion. Both
the Russell and the Advance took turns powering Otto’s portable
sawmill. Otto likes to have about 60 HP on the belt to saw, but
pulling down his own engine, he couldn’t help but smile. He
also looked happy driving it around the grounds with his wife Helen
alongside, and a wagonload of grandkids behind.
He also showed the engine at the Greensburg, Indiana, Power of
the Past Reunion. Otto has since bought the little Advance as well.
He said he had decided to collect 10 HP engines built before
After the first story went to print, I received a letter from
Mr. Lowell Boyce, of Aurora, Oregon. He told me about an old
Russell engine, serial number 2402, which has a Marsh reverse,
similar to that used on Advance and Advance-Rumely engines. Mr.
Boyce says this engine even sounds like an Advance while under
load! Closer to home, I am told that an old Russell engine, also
with a Marsh reverse, belonging to the late Bob Hughes, was shown
at Rushville years ago.
At any rate, Otto has become a full throttle steamer, sawing
lumber at home with his oldest granddaughter as engineer. Of
course, it took him over twenty-five years to get from having an
engine to running it, but as a friend of mine likes to say,
‘Things will be all right if we take it easy!’