Our Russell Engine


| March/April 1991



Russell steam engine

After restoration - 12 HP Russell steam engine, with author's wife Laurie.

21213 Liberty Street N.E., Aurora, Oregon 97002

Our 12 HP Russell steam tractor #15815 was built June 2, 1915. It weighs eight tons. In the summer of 1915, the engine was shipped out from Massillion, Ohio, to H. Averill in Portland, Oregon, who was, at that time, the Russell dealer in Oregon.

After engine #15815 arrived in Portland, Oregon, it was then put on a flat car headed south to Silverton, Oregon, which is east of Salem. This was to till the order of seven men who lived in the Union Hill-Victor Point area. They called themselves the Victor Point Threshing Company.

The Russell engine was to power a 36 x 48 Aultman Taylor separator. Then later, they used a 32 x 36 Red River Special. The Russell engine pulled the threshing machine from farm to farm harvesting grain for the seven owners.

In 1937, after years of service, it was time for the engine to be replaced by a gas tractor, so into the shed it went! In 1939 it was pulled out of the shed and it replaced a broken down gas tractor for threshing. Afterward it was stored until 1945 when it was sold to John Scheider of St. Paul, Oregon, for only $75.00. He used it for threshing and saw milling since gas rationing was going on because of the war.

In June of 1954, Rod Pitts of Canby, Oregon, bought the Russell engine for $300.00. Rod had steam-ups on his farm from the late 1950's to the early 1960's.