| May/June 1983

  • Steam traction engine

  • Steam traction engine

Rt 2, Bellevue, Ohio 44811

Herman Stockmaster says he was born and raised on a steam engine not the kind that pulls a train, but a steam traction engine. Until the 1940's steam traction engines were commonly used for many of the same functions that a gasoline or diesel tractor is used for today. A steam traction engine is essentially a steam engine on wheels that can either be used to pull something else, or with the use of a belt, can be used as a power plant for another piece of machinery. There has been an operating steam traction engine on his family's farm for more than 100 years. Stockmaster's father was operating a steam traction engine long before Stockmaster was born.

Today his 1920 A. D. Baker steam engine, built in Swanton, Ohio is just a museum piece. Steam engines became obsolete when combines replaced threshers in the wheat fields. Stockmaster bought the engine from his dad in 1938 and used it extensively in his own fields and to do custom work for other farmers until 1942.

Stockmaster recently won the Leroy Baker Trophy for the best restored steam traction engine at the 38th Annual National Threshers' Reunion held in Wauseon, Ohio, June 24-27. His engine was one of 33 at the show. Stockmaster and his two grandsons, Kenny Hossler and Jeff Stockmaster, attended the show.

The engine is clean and in good working condition. It has a state inspection and is certified for 180 pounds of steam. The engine boiler holds 200 gallons of water and two reserve tanks are built onto the machine. The engine is rated at 19 horsepower on a drawbar and 65 horsepower on a belt.

Stockmaster plans to show his engine at different shows in the future.


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