In 1976 At Hickory- Oaks Farm

| May/June 1977

  • 80 h p Case engine

  • Steam Show Parade
    Todd and Renee' Svanda are seen here leading the Bicentennial Steam Show Parade at Hickory-Oaks Farm, on Sunday, August 8, 1976. They are the children of Mr. and Mrs. Larry Svanda of Oregon, Wisconsin.
  • Queen at Hedtkes

  • 80 h p Case engine
  • Steam Show Parade
  • Queen at Hedtkes

Box 26, Davis Junction, Illinois 61020

Hickory-Oaks Farm is the home of North Central Illinois Steam Power Show, Inc. It is located on Illinois 72, 2 miles east of Davis Junction, Illinois, or 1 miles east of U.S. 51 Jct. The annual steam and horsepower threshing show is held the first full 4-day weekend in August. Dates for the 1977 show are August 4, 5, 6, and 7. This means that all year around, planning and activities never end. I will try and elaborate now on some of the special happenings that took place during 1976. Emil Svanda, a close associate with me for 21 years with steam shows will furnish some pictures and captions to accompany this story.

In June 1976, we chartered a Greyhound Bus to take 44 of us steam buffs to the John Deere Foundry and Museum at Moline, Ill. We boarded the bus at Davis Junction at 8:00 a.m., on June 18th, and made our first stop at the John Deere Historical Site at Grand Detour, where we toured the blacksmith shop and the first home of John Deere. We ate dinner at a large country restaurant near Lyndon. We arrived at the John Deere at East Moline at about 1:00 p.m., where we were greeted by four foundry guides. The two hour tour was great, especially seeing the melting of steel and iron scrap in one of the foundry's four 15-ton electric arc furnaces. The chemical composition is accurately controlled and temperatures range from 2750 to 2850 degrees Fahrenheit. The molding, the sand and cores, and the cleaning and finishing of castings really was enjoyed by all. We next visited the John Deere Company Administrative Center and floor museum at Moline. We arrived back home at 7:00 p.m. same day, hoping again to take another group tour soon.

This 80 h.p. Case steam engine found a new home at Hickory-Oaks Farm in July 1975. The giant engine next in size to the 110 h.p. Case has been idle 40 years. The rusty skeleton looking steamer, minus numerous tubes and parts, was painted and restored within one year by its new owner, George W. Hedtke. Course, George as usual had a lot of help from his many steam show friends. The huge bunkers for the 80 Case have been made as per original by a Wallace, Nebraska steam engine buff, Mr. Harold Woods, at a cost of $1400. Delivery will be made about March 1, 1977. Pictured here is George W. Hedtke at the front wheel and his friend of 41 years, Louis V. Johnson of Stillman Valley, 111. A chuckle can be seen between the two engineers, knowing that grease is used for the engine axles instead of being oiled with a oil can. A city photographer thought this was a good way to pose for a picture in the Rockford paper. The 80 h.p. Case was engineered by Louis V. Johnson during the 1976 show with good performance.

Next coming up was our 1976 show. This meant get busy and get all of the engines in good operating conditions. Engines need repairs just like people, especially at older age. ha! During the 1975 plowing demonstration, an unfortunate incident took place on my 110 h.p. Case steam engine while pulling the 14 bottom John Deere plow. The babbitt bearings which were badly worn through the years since 1911, caused the 5 foot differential gear to slightly twist sideways. Realizing the tremendous pull of the 14 bottom plow would cause further damage to the spur gears, we did not use the 110 Case for plowing the last 2 days of our show. As a great surprise to the hundreds of spectators, two smaller steam engines were hooked together by a heavy duty chain to pull the 14 bottom plow the last two days of the show at Hickory-Oaks Farm. This proved to be quite a sight and a plowing demonstration. Thanks goes to so many fine activities at North Central Illinois Steam Power Show. Engineers are on hand not only from the state of Illinois, but from Kansas, Idaho, Montana, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states not registered. Plans got under way following the 1975 show as to when to repair the 110 Case. A conference was held by my annual friends, Harry Woodmansee from Dowling, Michigan, John Schrock from Rives Junction, Michigan, and Dennis Jerome from Hoopston, Illinois, as to when to start the overhaul job. It was decided to do it just 3 days before the 1976 show. After the oat crop was cut, bound, and shocked in July, the 60 by 144 foot storage building at Hickory-Oaks Farm was emptied of its engines and other farm machinery. The 110 Case was pulled under a large oak tree for shade for its repair work. Timed like a clock, Harry, John, and Dennis, arrived 3 days before our 1976 show. Large railroad jacks were used to raise the rear wheels off the ground one at a time. The large axle pins were soon removed and the 2 ton wheel lifted by a Case Company fork lift from the axle. Next came the 5 foot diameter differential gear which was laid on the ground. Work began fast and furious. Harry and Dennis disassembled the spider gears from the large differential gear, and templates were made to rebabbitt these bearings. John Schrock proceeded to build up the shaft for the big gear with an electric welder. The welding was ground down by John, so the shaft would become its original size once again. Dennis Jerome, who is a machinist, supervised the making of a new bronze bushing for the center of the differential gear. This overhaul job was quite an undertaking, and many thanks goes to Harry, John, and Dennis; also other engineers who gave their helping hand in some way or another. Very successfully, the gearing fit like new. The gears ran true and the 110 Case pulled the 14 bottom plow with ease all 4 days of the 1976 show.

Attention also was turned to the 80 h.p. Case steam engine, a newcomer to Hickory-Oaks Farm in July 1975. It was rusty, a skeleton looking engine minus numerous tubes and parts, and setting idle for 40 years. It got a new look within one year and was in operation during the 1976 show, all restored and painted, except for the bunkers which didn't get made by show time. The bunkers are being made at a shop at Wallace, Nebraska, as per the original style by Case. They will be installed by show time 1977 on the 80.


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.

Facebook Pinterest YouTube