Spalding's Corner

Looking for Clues to Mystery Engines

| June 2007

  • SpaldingsCorner

  • SpaldingsCorner

Last issue's mystery engine generated a number of guesses, almost all of them correct but with several guessing the engine a Best, which in fact it evolved into.

The first correct answer came from Josh Mann, Lake Park, Minn., who wrote simply: "Remington traction engine."

Next up was Lowell Boyce, Aurora, Ore., who wrote: "I finely get the chance to answer the mystery engine. I am certain the engine is a Remington built in Woodburn, Ore., in about 1888-89. Note the big, tall Oregon Douglas fir trees in the background. This is the only steam tractor ever built in Oregon.

The most detailed response came from Scott Maynard, Houston, Minn., who wrote: "The engine is a Remington built in Woodburn, Ore. It looks to be about a 25 HP, built around 1885. There were only about five Remington engines built, and since only two have known photos documenting them this would be number three. From the development of the engine size, I would say this is the oldest known Remington engine. From comparing the three photos I have seen, I would guess the gentleman with the black jacket and pocket watch standing near the rear wheel of the engine is D.L. Remington.

Remington sold his steam engine design to Daniel Best Co. in 1889. Best never changed the design; he made them larger and changed the frame to steel.

For getting his answer in first, Josh gets a free copy of Prof. P.S. Rose's Steam Engine Guide. This issue's mystery engine comes, as usual, courtesy of John Spalding, 112 Carriage Place, Hendersonville, TN 37075 (


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