Steam Traction Engine #12857

| January/February 1998

  • # Picture 01

  • Russell steam traction engine

  • # Picture 01
  • Russell steam traction engine

15 Winston Way Redwood City, California 94061

This 12-36 HP Russell steam traction engine is No. 12857 of 17,156 machines built in Massillon, Ohio, from 1842-1927. No. 12857, built June 6, 1906, was originally sold through the Russell dealer in Portland, Oregon, and spent its working life operating a threshing machine in the area around Junction City, Oregon. In the 1970s, No. 12857 appeared annually at Scandinavian Days in Junction City, operating a flour mill. Dr. Charles Whitcher of Standford purchased No. 12857 in the late 1980s from Robert Smith of Eugene, Oregon. Robert's father, Willis Smith, had operated the tractor during its working life, in the 1920s. We purchased the tractor from Dr. Whitcher in 1993.

The tractor was in relatively good shape for its age when we purchased it, but we have put several hundred hours into the restoration. I disassembled and cleaned parts, making new ones where necessary. My wife Margret did almost all of the painting at one time we had almost 300 individual parts at home, each getting cleaned followed by one coat of primer and two coats of finish paint.

We are indebted to the following people for their help in restoring #12857:

Erwin Brandt, Hay-ward manufactured a new piston for crosshead pump;

Karl Christoffersen, Rohnert Park did detail painting;


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