Two readers identified the “mystery” engine in
the July/August 2005 issue of Steam Traction. The first
response came from Jerred Ruble of Hanlontown, Iowa, who wrote:
“The engine in the mystery photo is a return-tube Minneapolis.
Several tell-tail signs distinguish this engine as a Minneapolis;
distinct shape of the differential gear, steam pipe feeding the
engine coming from the smokestack, steam dome ahead of the
crankshaft, wheel guards on the side of the boiler and a Gardner
“The front tank on the engine has been customized, and the
throttle assembly apparently has also been customized.
“I own three return-tube Minneapolis engines: no. 721, 12 HP,
1893; no. 6996, 22 HP, 1913; and a 14 HP, the number and year
escapes me at the moment. The 22 HP was the last return tube off
the assembly line. As far as I know, no. 721 is the earliest one
Right on Jerred’s heals was a letter from Bob Carlson of Haddam,
Conn., who wrote:
“Looking at the water tank and lower hand hole, I think the
engine is a Minneapolis. If I again correctly answer first this
time, I will give the book to a guy I meet at the spring meet at
Kinzer, Pa. He just bought an engine and has little hands-on steam
For getting his answer in first, by mail, Jerred gets a free
copy of Prof. P.F. Rose’s Steam Engine Guide. And for
selflessly wanting to help out a fellow steamer, we’re going to
send Bob a copy to pass along, as well.
This month’s mystery engine comes, as usual, courtesy of
John Spalding, 112 Carriage Place, Hendersonville,
TN 37035 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
As ever, the first person to correctly identify the engine, by
mail, gets a free copy of Prof. P.F. Rose’s Steam Engine
Guide. Good steaming!