Steam Traction Engine #12857
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;
Tom Diehl, Navarre, Ohio, gave paint scheme and color advice;
Dave Dubbel, Redwood City, repair of the governor gear;
Don Hineman, San Carlos devoted much sand-blasting time, donated valves and other small parts;
Bob and Robert Peter, Half Moon Bay did boiler repairs, all the heavy stuff, good advisor;
Gale Rhoton, Hayward helped build new water tank;
Alan Schurman, Ridgefield, Washington did rear wheel and axle repair and supplied a missing injector part;
Chuck Whitcher, Stanford was a good advisor, a helping hand wherever needed;
Dick Wiley, Arroyo Grande, loaned stay bolt taps; and Craig Williams, Scotts Valley, did checkout and calibration of gauge and safety valve.
No. 12857 produces 12 drawbar horsepower, or 36 brake horsepower, at 275 rpm. It has a single cylinder, double acting engine, 7 inch bore by 10 inch stroke. Shipping weight is 12,050 pounds; its boiler holds 125 gallons (935 pounds) of water at operating level. The flywheel weighs 450 pounds. Its top speed is 2.33 miles per hour. The 1923 price of the 12-36 HP engine was $2,600. A full canopy added $90; a headlight $8.50.
Credit for the photo goes to my son, Karl Christofferson, who also participated in the restoration.