R.R. 2, Box 6, Slaton, Texas 79364
Here is another short story about the Ferdinand Foundry and
Machine Works at Ferdinand, Indiana. My triple great uncle
manufactured steam engines, separators, sawmills and water wagons.
I have written a few stories about these products except for the
water wagons. So now we have a new chapter to tell.
There are about ten steps for refurbishing a Kitten water
1. First and foremost you have to know Francis and Mike
Lindauer from Ferdinand, Indiana.
2. Secure their help to find parts around Ferdinand to
reassemble a Kitten water wagon.
3. Make a pattern or two for some of the missing
4. Find a foundry to cast the patterns.
5. Borrow a complete and original Kitten water wagon from a
neighbor by the name of Ernie Brames of Ferdinand, Indiana.
6. Find a water pump manufactured by Myers Pump
7. Obtain services from Modern Welding to make the
8. Obtain services from Ernest Weyer to do the
9. Obtain services from Joe Hoffman for sandblasting.
10. The Lindauers did the painting and lettering and final
11. Not really a step, but Francis calls Jerry to say that the
Kitten water wagon is ready except for one minor detail before I
can pick it up. I have to go to a really good show to show off the
‘new’ Kitten before taking it home to Texas.
The show we attended was in Elnora, north of Washington in White
As Francis Lindauer said, this is the best all around show that
he has been to, and I agree. The show featured antique cars and
trucks, over 300 tractors, all types of belt-driven machinery,
field demonstrations, blacksmith shop, country music, extra large
flea market, buildings with hand tools, horse carriages and
machinery, general store, avenue of shops from yesteryear,
quilting, old farmstead, working wood shop and machine shop,
operating steam building, and I almost forgot (not really!) a few
Kittens of course, the reason I traveled 1200 miles in the first
The show in Elnora, in case you haven’t guessed, is not in
Washington State or Washington, DC, but is a little north of
Ferdinand in the Hoosier State, Indiana.
I met more people at the show than I can remember, but all of
them were very helpful at the show and I plan on attending the show
again. I wrote a few names down, among those, were Daryl
Schwartzentruber, the sawyer; Doug and Dennis Kutch owners of a
Kitten steam engine; Joe Driael from Vincennes, Indiana; Hubert
Reynolds family from Boonville, owners of another Kitten steam
engine; Nessy Hausfuther Henry Kemp-Paul Schue (tri -pie great
nephew of Florenz Kitten) and the Lindauers with their Kitten. Tom
Sampson, who also owns a Kitten, came from Ohio to see the Kittens
in action on the sawmill, separator and the dynamometer.
I even met the famous Larry Creed for the first time.
And then there was Lenus Hausfuther, big brother of Sylvester
(Nessy). Well, everyone around there knows Lenus, who has draft
horses and an important Kitten separator. Last time I saw his
separator was at another show at Fulda, Indiana, when they did a
little threshing/separating and we had about ten wagon loads of
I helped run the Kittens on the sawmill, firing with coal, and
as the old saying goes, we had them ‘purring like a
kitten.’ The Kitten has a musical exhaust all its own. First
was Hubert Reynolds’ Kitten on the sawmill, and a little later
the Lindauers’ Kitten took its turn pulling the saw. As you can
see in the pictures, we had a crowd at the Elnora show. The little
half scale Kitten is owned by Francis Lindauer, and while they were
changing engines, I pulled up to the belt with the little Kitten,
but not wanting to show them the power of this little one, I
quickly scampered off.
The Kitten water wagon may look simple enough, but there are a
few more details to making the wagon the same as before. The rear
axle was made out of cherry wood and was cut by Charlie Kines. The
nearby Amish had the glands for the Meyer pump. The wood on the top
is oak and the foot rest is cherry. Yellow poplar is used on the
rest of the undercarriage and tongue. Francis said yellow poplar
was used a lot on the separators and sawmills, because it is very
strong and withstands weather better than some of the other
hardwoods, like oak. The old yellow poplar trees were yellow all
the way through, but the new yellow poplar trees are yellow only in
the middle. So the new trees are much softer and, henceforth, not
as good. Ferdinand also had a large area of these yellow poplar
trees just northeast of town. So, for two good reasons, the Kitten
factory used the yellow poplar good hard wood and available close
to the factory.
Almost forgot to tell you, there are quite a few Kitten water
wagons around now. Let’s see, there are two in Ferdinand,
Brames and Lindauer have one each, and there is one owned by
Plasterer, and now one in Slaton, Texas, for a total of six.
So, as you can see from the pictures, the remaking of a Kitten
water wagon takes only a few steps, lots of friends and about two
years of time, is all!