By Staff

From the Lodi (Cal.) News-Sentinel

J. J. Hochhalter, jeweler and optician of Steele, N. D.,
currently visiting with Alex Lebedoff, 409 W. Walnut Street, Lodi,
remembers when he used to feed straw into the fire pit to create a
head of steam for an engine.

Of his memories, and with minor improvements of his own, he has
created a small model of such a steam engine tractor which is
attracting interest wherever shown.

Yesterday (Jan. 12, 1955) Hochhalter had the model, the second
he has built, on display at the G. G. Hust & Son shop on N.
School Street. He and Hust had been school chums back in the

The little model weighs 16? pounds, is 7 inches wide, 12 inches
high, and 20? inches long.

The bore and stroke is seven-sixteenths of an inch. Fueled with
three ounces of wood alcohol it builds up a 75 pound operating
pressure and will run for 30 minutes at a fueling. The boiler
itself is safety tested to 145 lbs. pressure but it has a very
efficient governor and safety valve.

Optician Hochhalter, who has been in the profession for 35 years
many Lodians wear glasses he made took 30 years of planning before
he started to make his first model. Two years went into its
building, with its parts fabricated of scrap material.

The first model aroused wide interest both in North and South
Dakota, in Minnesota and in jeweler circles. Shown at county fairs
it would prove one of the most popular features.

The model brought to Lodi is the second such he has built. An
old fire extinguisher provided the brass cartridge used for the
boiler. A shell forms the piston chamber. A small bore rifle
cartridge shell was used for the whistle. Odds and ends of sheet
metal, plumber’s fittings and brass and copper piping were also
utilized. Only copper, brass and bronze is used where water or
steam come into contact Distilled water, too, is used to make the

It is complete with clutch and brake as well as operating
mechanism and even boasts a tiny pressure gauge.

With it, Hochhalter brought a small model of a stationary grain
thresher, complete with moving parts such as the conveyor belt,
bundle chopper and the like. Hooked by pulley to the little steam
engine tractor it works like a charm.

In fact, it works just like the rigs that used to roam the vast
wheat fields of the Dakotas back in the early days.


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Farm Collector Magazine
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