Port Huron Steam Engine No. 6312

In 1993, Walter Jopke bought his Port Huron Steam Engine No. 6312 at auction.


| January/February 1998



Port Huron steam engine

16-50 Port Huron steam engine with Walter Jopke standing along side.

5230 Lincoln Street N.E. Minneapolis, Minnesota 55421

I have always wondered, as I looked at an old antique steam engine, as to the history of it. Many questions would arise, such as how old it was, where it was built, and how it was used.

As a teenager I recall the threshing of small grains on my father's farm and the thrill of watching and listening to a steam engine huff and puff as the grain bundles were fed into the threshing machine. Since that time I have wanted to purchase one.

My opportunity came when a Port Huron steam engine was put up for auction at the Walter Dehn auction. There, on July 17,1993, I purchased Port Huron steam traction engine number 6312. The third week in August I operated it at the Rogers Pioneer Power Association. I have made numerous minor repairs and built a canopy for it.

I continued to become more interested in the history of this steam engine. I asked myself, would it be possible to find out who owned it, how they used it, and where it was during the past 70 or 80 years?

In the January /February 1995 issue of The Iron Men Album magazine, Tom Fisher wrote an article about restoring a Port Huron engine in Michigan. He inquired about a letter 'T' that was stamped on the back head of the Port Huron he was restoring. The article mentioned that Mr. David Kemler had access to the archives at the Henry Ford Museum. I wrote to Mr. Kemler to see if he might be able to locate information about my engine. Much to my surprise, he was able to locate a two page construction sheet of my Port Huron number 6312 steam traction engine. From this construction sheet, I found that the engine was shipped to B. L. Woolison in Stanwood, Iowa, on May 24, 1909. I continued my search for more information.