Restoration of an Engine


| May/June 1997



Sawyer Massey

9313 4th Line, R.R. # 5, Milton, Ontario L9T 2X9

Sawyer Massey # 3368 at the Santa Claus Parade in Milton, Ontario, November 1986. Gladys Hume driving the engine, Sherwood Hume, operator, engineer.

Engine History to 1974

Sawyer Massey Steam Traction Engine No. 3368 was manufactured by the Sawyer Massey Company of Hamilton, Ontario, in 1913, on Wellington Street North. Bill Johnson of Burford, Ontario told me there were only five 25 HP Side Mount engines ever made. The only other one I ever saw was in Saskatoon, on an earth berm around the museum there. There were lots of rear mount engines made, but not many side mount engines. A side mount engine has the rear axle mounted on the side of the firebox, as opposed to going straight across behind the firebox. Engine No. 3368 is a 25 HP single cylinder, simple slide valve, western ploughing engine. It was manufactured for the sole purpose of ploughing the western prairie. It weighed in at approximately twelve and a half tons, empty of water, had steel cleats on the rear wheels, a steel guide ring on the front. Unlike a lot of engines, this one never had a canopy. Many engines had a canopy (a roof) to keep off the sun and rain in order to protect operator and machinery alike. No. 3368 had none. It also did not have side water tanks, a tank on each side to hold an extra supply of water and no headlight. A kerosene or carbon headlight was usual in those days, but not on this engine. It can only be assumed that it was ordered this way. None of the extras; it was to be a plain Jane.

No. 3368 went west in the spring' of 1914 we can only suppose, by rail, as that was the only way in that time. It was unloaded somewhere in the province of Saskatchewan and spent all its working life there. We know it ploughed and threshed and did all the things that steam engines did in those days. Mr. Johnson told me that it was driven into the Museum in Saskatoon in 1948? still hooked to the plough. It never sat idle a whole summer and it worked all through the Second World War. With the coming of more tractors and combines, it was retired and given to the Museum. Just how Bill Johnson got it out of the Museum, he never would tell me. I suppose he traded something for it to make the swap. I'm quite sure he did not buy it using money. Bill told me he first saw the engine in the late 1940s, and after subsequent trips back there, he became the owner. Lawrence Oliver was in the trucking business at Bur-ford at the time. He went to Saskatoon with his truck and brought the engine home for Bill Johnson.

Now, Bill was in the business of cutting up engines and using the boilers only to steam tobacco greenhouses and kilns. However, No. 3368 escaped the torch and was never touched. Bill always liked that engine and he would steam it up, just to drive it around his farm. In 1961, the first steam show was held in Milton, Ontario, and Bill Johnson was one of the instigators. So, Bill had Lawrence truck the engine to the first Milton Steam Show.

By 1962, I had a low bed float of my own and I believe I trucked the engine to the 1962 show. I trucked that engine to many shows for the next few years. It was always a favourite of mine.