Rebuilding a 1915 65 HP Case Traction Engine

| July/August 1996

5534 Fieldstone Lane Madison, Wisconsin 53704

The 65 HP Case traction engine pictured was rebuilt during the summer and fall of 1993. All the work was done outside.

Although I knew I would be working with steam from the time I was four years old, I never thought about having a traction engine. When I was about 10-12, I used to go to the gas and steam shows with my uncle, who proudly displayed several hit and miss engines. He found I wasn't a good helper, because I always ended up in the steam section of the show watching the traction engines.

After graduating from trade school as a tool and die maker, I spent my time volunteering on the rebuilding and operation of several full-size steam locomotives over a fifteen year period.

It wasn't until I moved to Wisconsin in the winter of 1989 to work with Norman Sandley, that I was re-introduced to traction engines. Their advantages over railroad locomotives (no track required) led me to acquire an engine of my own and this project.

This 65 HP Case, serial number 32348, weighing about 13 tons with water, was built in 1915 and it was originally sold in the Oxford, Wisconsin area. (If anyone has information on the early owners of this engine, please contact me.) The engine was owned by Harry Schell during the 1940s. At that time, it was used to power a sawmill in Baraboo, Wisconsin. When Harry Schell moved to Blue River, Wisconsin, he drove the engine there to use it to power another sawmill. This was a trip of about 60 miles, done at top speed of 2 miles per hour.