Farm Collector

Spalding’s Corner

The mystery engine in our last issue was a fun
one, and many people responded – some on the same day! Our first
response came from Bob Carlson, Haddam, Conn. Bob writes:

“The engine in the Fall 2006 issue is a Holt. The engine may be
in San Francisco, being used after the earthquake of 1906.”

James R. Vouk, S. Stephen, Minn., wrote us on the same day: “I
believe the mystery engine in the Fall 2006 issue of Steam
is a Holt. It looks like it is being used in the
cleanup of the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.”

Charles Reiter of San Francisco was the third to write us. And
for obvious reasons he thought this one was simple: “An easy one,
or at least one I know the answer to. The tractor is a Holt, no.
37. It was sold in 1900 to the Union Traction Co., and was used in
the construction and maintenance of cable car lines. It has a
single 11-by-12-inch cylinder, rated at 60-65 HP.

“This view, which I had not seen before, shows it surrounded by
the rubble of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. I would imagine
it is involved in salvage work. If you look closely, rails can be
seen in the ground under it but it does not look like main line
cable car track, as there is no center slot. After 1906 a great
number of cable lines were not restored, electric cars replacing
them. The Market Street Railway had just installed a new cable on
Market Street and it would be abandoned.”

Irvin Baker of Ripon, Calif., was next: “It is a Holt from
Stockton, Calif., cleaning up after the San Francisco Earthquake of
1906. I know this because I am a Holt collector and I live only 20
miles from there.”

Last in was Steve Thornton, Port Huron, Mich., who also
correctly identified the engine and location.

For getting their answers in first, Bob Carlson and James Vouk
get a free copy of Prof. P.S. Rose’s Steam Engine Guide,
and they also get a second copy for correctly identifying the photo
location. But we’re also sending one to Charles Reiter for
supplying us with detailed information about the Holt and the photo
location. Good fun, and congratulations all.

This month’s mystery engine comes, as usual, courtesy of
John Spalding, 112 Carriage Place, Hendersonville,
TN 37075 (, and was made available by the George
C. Crout Collection, Middletown Public Library, Middletown, Ohio.
Good luck, and good steaming!

  • Published on Dec 1, 2007
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