603 Paris Avenue Rockford, Illinois 61107
In 1956 I acquired a 16 HP Soule Steam Feed Works twin cylinder
engine #162 from my cousin, Fred A. Smith Lumber Company, Schumm,
In April of 1962, with information from George Hedtke of Davis
Junction, Illinois, I located a 12 HP Russel boiler #16159 at
Genoa, Illinois. The owner at the time was F. R. Orr of Momence,
Illinois, from whom I purchased it.
In July 1962 I shipped the boiler to Ft. Wayne, Indiana. I was
working in Rockford, but my home was in Indiana at the time. During
the next two years I worked on getting all the piping for the
boiler, as it had nothing or it when I bought it.
In 1964 I mounted the boiler and engine on a 1941 GMC truck
frame, then it was stored for the next 14 years at the Arthur
Brindel Farm, four miles north of Arcola, Indiana.
During the time the boiler was sitting, I completed five years
in the Service and got married. After the service, we made our home
back in Rockford, Illinoisnot much time to work on the boiler, as
it was 265 miles away.
In July, 1978, I had the unit shipped back to Illinois, to my
wife’s cousin’s farm at Poplar Grove, Illinois. It cost
about ten times more to ship it back than it had to ship it to
Indiana. The next year (1979) my cousin, Phil Poole, and I
installed a new flue sheet and new flues. With the help of my
father-in-law, James Karnes, we rebuilt the engine also, new valve
rods, piston rods, new cross head bearings, the forward and reverse
valve was planed.
With the use of Phil’s spare parts on the farm, a gear off
of an AC combine and right angle drive off an Oliver corn picker,
and a chain drive from the engine, we connected the running gears
of the truck. The engine will drive the truck about twenty miles an
hour in fifth gear.
In 1980, I built the cab, installed coal bunkers, installed the
two barrels for water, then painted the unit, and called the State
to inspect it. It did not pass at this time. I had to change the
safety valve, plus one hand hole was thin and I had to build it up
In 1981, I called the state back and passed this time for 100
pounds, # 10578. The engine was shown at the Freeport and Sycamore
Shows in the summer.
During the summer I talked to a Mr. George Nelson of Hampshire,
Illinois. Years ago he had worked for J. R. Kiernan’s. He said
that in 1923 or 24 he helped strip the wheels and engine off of the
Russell boiler they wanted the boiler for a heating plant. I was
told that the boiler was used for about 13 or 14 years for heat,
later on they installed a stoker in the boiler. Kiernan’s was a
dealer for Advance Rumely and later on Minneapolis.
The above story was submitted in response to our ‘Where
Are The Engines’ columns in which we asked steam traction
engine owners to submit information on their engines for
compilation. Ever though this particular engine is no, included in
the final book, we thought it a story our readers would