Past and Present


| July 2005


Regular contributor Gary Yaeger, 1120 Leisha Lane, Kalispell, MT 59901 (, supplies us with some more steaming photos and some interesting information about Reeves Canadian Specials. Gary writes:

Mike, the photos you sent in of Montana Reeves (Steam Traction, May/June 2005), are great ones. This engine was restored by the late W.W. Danuser in Tulsa, Okla., years ago. As I remember, he sold this engine to someone, then went and bought it back a few years later. He eventually sold it to the late Norman Pross near Luverne, N.D. Norm's nephew Mark Pedersen inherited the engine when Norm passed away, and it remains in the Luverne area.

I don't have my copy of Historical Stories of Reeves Engines, by Haston L. St. Clair, so I can't give you the serial number of this engine. It seems it was something like 6667. The photo of the engine on the lowboy trailer is shown in the book. This engine has been confused as a Canadian Special engine, due to the late styling, the long appearance of the 32 HP double-simple boiler and especially the steel, built-up driver wheels installed on all Canadian Special engines except Highwheeler models.

I am sending another photo of a restored former W.W. Danuser Reeves engine. It is a 25 HP Canadian Special cross-compound. Alan Derting of Kentucky bought it out of Oklahoma about three or four years ago. Alan operates this engine at 200 psi and it is his "plowing tractor," as much of his farm work is done with steam, including his hardwood sawmill. Photo #1 was taken in 2004 on a plowing day. I have a video of this engine working. It is awesome. Thanks for submitting these photos to Steam Traction magazine.

I felt honored that Kevin Small dedicated the photos of the Reeves no. 7181 to me in the May/June 2005 issue. Photo #2 shows the Titusville Iron Works plant in Pennsylvania. Remember, Titusville was the location of America's first oil well.

I am also including another postcard (Photo #3) of a "parade of power" on First Avenue in Billings, Mont., circa 1911, which I think is kind of unique. I can't make out the canopy of the gas tractor pulling a threshing machine, just turning onto First Avenue, but the next tractor pulling a 4-bottom plow is an IHC, and following that is an under-mounted Avery pulling an 8-bottom lever lift plow. Then there is a 40 HP Reeves, a 32 HP Reeves Canadian Special and a 32 HP U.S. Reeves. I can't make out the next four engines, but the fifth, under the "Ton" (surely not Tonka?) sign, appears to be the back tanks and drivers wheels of a 110 HP Case. Notice the 1907-10 era IHC high-wheel Motor Wagon parked under the "Ton" sign.