PROFILE OF A STEAM ENTHUSIAST


| September/October 1991


R.R. #1, Box 69, Minonk, Illinois 61 760

This article is based on an interview with Fred Badten by Mary Oltman on September 3, 1990 at the Central States Threshermen's Reunion.

Whenever the Central States Threshermen of Pontiac, Illinois hold their annual reunion, you can be sure Fred Badten of Dyer, Indiana will be there. Fred has been a member of the association since 1951 and hasn't missed a show in 40 years.

Fred moved to the Midwest in 1937. His interest in threshing and steam engines dates back to his youth in Aberdene, South Dakota. It was a big event to thresh in those days.

Fred's job was to drive the grain wagons with the horses, then later on he pitched bundles. 'As soon as you could lift a fork' was the age when you graduated to pitching bundles, generally around 13-15 years old. He was responsible for everything on the rack as well as caring for the horses. It was a sad time when threshing day came to an end, especially since there would be school the next day.

Fred's interest in steam engines peaked just as steam was going out. He knew the only way he'd ever have an engine himself was to make one, and so, in 1956, that's just what Fred did. The result was one of the finest examples of model steam engines around and we're lucky at Pontiac to have had Fred's model Case engine on display every year since it was built.






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