| September/October 1980

My hobbies in model railroading and live steam traction engines have many similarities. The collection and demonstration of antique farm steam engines and threshers was started after WW II. The steam engine hobby has grown considerably. Many antique shows are put on each year now all over the United States, Canada, England, etc. The paid attendance at some of these shows is well over 100,000.

My father left the Burlington RR as an engineer and started breaking sod and threshing in northeastern Colorado in 1914. Had I started looking for an engine sooner, I might have found one of my father's abandoned engines which was scrapped in 1947 by an unknown person. I bought my Case engine in 1953 for $250.00 plus hauling of $140. It is a 1915 model, #33090, 150 lb. steam pressure and weighs 13 tons in operating condition. The brake or belt horsepower is 65. Drawbar horsepower by most standards is approximately 23. Working level of water in the boiler is 2,260 pounds or 282 gallons. The water tender tank on the engine holds 219 gallons. The 2 fuel bunkers hold 900 pounds of coal. Normal engine speed of travel is 2 4/10 mph. The 40' diameter flywheel normal speed is 250 rpm. The water tank tender and 5 ton $200 thresher were later acquired.

I sold a 3-piece outfit in 1974 for $6,500 to Clarence Young, Great Falls, Montana. Clarence is a farmer-collector with 12 other steamers, etc. According to a Case catalog of that era, the engine sold new for $2,060 FOB Racine, Wisconsin. Today, an engine of like quality will sell for $20,000. This year a Case 110 HP engine sold for $75,000 at public auction. The thresher originally sold for $1,080 FOB Racine.

The Case 65 was purchased from Al Deerk in 1953. Al was a retired farmer-thresherman. We became close personal friends over the next 25 years until his death last year at the age of 80. He taught me how to care for and operate the engine.

It took a steady 5 years of spare time work to rebuild the engine. I had lots of volunteer help and the free use of necessary large equipment. The late John Gauger, an experienced engineman, was the in-charge man with the know-how. It cost several thousand dollars for engine parts and machine shop work which included a complete new set of all gears. The former owner kept the engine well oiled and greased. He always had an oil can in his hand. As a result, after lots of sand blasting, the boiler looked like new. The best thing about the engine is its like-new high pressure butt strap boiler. If an engine does not have a good boiler, it is not worth much.

Case 65 on day of purchase. Note the covered smoke stack. The smoke box and front flue sheet were like new. The tender was in good shape and did not leak. Note 8' extension rims.