3504 Willow Drive Mattoon, Illinois 61938
It appeared in our neighborhood about 1970 and was used
approximately three or four years before being left to sit. The
Peerless was purchased by Emmet Ford of Rockville, Indiana from Ray
Jones of Sunman, Indiana. Mr. Jones exhibited the engine at the
Rushville, Indiana Show where several people remember seeing this
engine. Most of the people remembered the engine because of its
wooden spoke wheels.
A Mr. Holt of Ohio remembered this engine being at Rushville
years ago and his father or grandfather remarking that the fireman
would have to watch where the ashes were raked out or he could set
his wheels on fire!
Mr. Ford used the engine to power a shingle mill and in the
early 1970’s (1972-1973) it was unloaded and left to sit until
it sold at Mr. Ford’s estate sale in April, 1989. At that time
Mr. Pickett of Brazil, Indiana purchased the engine.
During the years it sat I tried in vain several times to buy the
engine from Mr. Ford, but we just could not agree on a purchase
price. He was ‘going to get his price for it, or it could sit
there and rot down.’
My dad asked me what I wanted with that old Peerless, with its
flywheel on the wrong side and the steering wheel on the other. He
always wondered how you were supposed to line up the engine for
belt work. The more Dad expressed his discontent with the old
Peerless the more I threatened to buy it. I thought that it would
make a nice show piece with its cabbage head stack, wooden spoke
wheels and foot brake.
Prior to Mr. Ford’s estate sale I moved to Illinois and got
an education on where a lap-seam boiler fits into the scheme of
things, there-fore when the Peerless sold I just had a passing
interest in it. In Illinois a lap-seam boiler can carry a maxi-mum
of 100 pounds pressure regardless of condition. In some states a
lap-seam boiler is not allowed to be state inspected be-cause it is
considered to be a non-code boiler.
I hope that the Peerless gets restored to the shape it was in
when Mr. Jones owned it, so everyone can enjoy it for many more