The Dreadnaught


| March/April 1971



James Hanna, Sr., had a For Sale Ad in a recent issue for this steam shovel and he told us his wife wrote the following tract and they passed them out to about 150 people who attended a steam shovel demonstration last year. He thought we would enjoy reading it. We did and thought you would like it too. - Anna Mae.

Your attention has been drawn to me because I am not of this generation. You wonder how the 'square' of the 20's compare with the 'ins' of this era. What has the popular phrase, 'generation gap' done to heavy construction machinery like me?

On March 16, 1925,1 left my nursery at the Erie Steam Shovel Co. in Erie, Pa., for my new home at Sunbury, Pa., near Harrisburg.

When the salesman of the Shovel Company recommended me to Mr. Geo. W. Rockwell (my first owner) he gave me quite a 'build-up.' All true, however. He said that I was equipped with 40' boom hoist, extra drum and gearing, necessary counter weight, two speed propelling mechanism and power steering device with necessary cables to handle a yd. power wheel base. He guaranteed I was made of sound high grade material throughout and in workmanlike manner. Those characteristics christened me, 'Dreadnaught.'

Faithfully serving Mr. Rockwell for some years it was a joy to be a workman that needed not to be ashamed. It was a privilege to help build two viaducts and two arch bridges in the Sunbury area.

One day Mr. Rockwell was talking to a man I had never seen before. They were talking about me. I soon learned the gentleman was Mr. William J. Cromley and was to be my new owner. During my ten years stay with Mr. Cromley I had a rather major operation. My old steam veins were replaced with new ones. This made me feel like new and with my crane-arm loaded and unloaded the heavy machinery and boilers Mr. Cromley bought and sold in the Danville area. One day my crane-arm was replaced with the bucket-arm. This was for excavating for Mr. Cromley. Mr. William King of Dillsburg was my operator for this job. He and I became fast friends. We became such good friends that he recommended me to another William, Mr. William Strayer also of Dillsburg. Not long after I found myself in the Williams Grove Steam Show Grounds. Here a few days a year many folk from far and near watched me work under the direction of Mr. Strayer and Mr. King. I surely was the center of attraction as I 'strutted my stuff.'