The Last Russell To Leave the Factory!

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Russell engine #01732 ready to be moved and lifted by the crane in the old Russell factory.
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The engine being lifted and moved down through the old assembly area.
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Engine being positioned on the crane truck and being readied to leave the old Russell factory for the first and last time.
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From a 1912 Russell catalog.
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From a 1912 Russell catalog.

T. W. Diehl Restorations 101 S. Main St. Navarre, Ohio 44662

If you have been collecting or have an interest in old
equipment, I am sure you have run into someone who claims to have,
or to know of, the last item made by one company or another. This
story, however, is about the last engine to leave the Russell
factory. Yet more amazing is the date she left, July 16, 1992, and
the fact that she was neither sold nor scrapped as is so often the
case, but donated to The Massillon Museum by Hydro-Dyne, Inc. of
Massillon, Ohio, present occupants of the former Russell
factory.

Hydro-Dyne originally contacted John Klassen, director of the
Massillon Museum, expressing a desire to dispose of the Russell
stationary engine which had been in their building since they
acquired it in 1967. In turn, John contacted us (as we had formerly
restored a 12 HP Russell traction engine for the museum back in
1991), to see if we would be interested in doing another Russell
for their collection.

My first meeting at the old Russell factory was disappointing.
After presenting my evaluation of the situation and placing a value
on the engine, the comment was made that Hydro-Dyne thought she was
worth much more, and that they had hoped to sell her to the
museum.

The second meeting was much more to my liking. I was pleased to
meet Hydro-Dyne president Roseanne Dare and pleasantly surprised to
learn of her interest in local history. Two weeks later it was
official: Russell engine #01732 was donated to the Massillon Museum
by Hydro-Dyne, Inc.

Hydro-Dyne president Roseanne Dare officially presents the
Russell to Massillon Museum director John Klassen. Photo courtesy
of The Independent.

On July 16, 1992 we moved her from the Russell factory to our
shops in Navarre, Ohio, to begin restoration for display and
possible operation in the main lobby of the museum.

Engine #01732 weighs in at 6,064 pounds and was built between
1894 and 1906 with a 10′ bore and 12′ stroke. Built for use
in the Russell factory, she’d never been painted and had
apparently been hooked directly to a line shaft. Her flywheel is
missing and was probably lost years ago when she was moved. For
display in the museum, we are looking for a flywheel 50′ to
60′ in diameter by 10′ to 15′ wide. Any help you
readers might be able to give us would be greatly appreciated.

The gentleman who operated the crane the day we moved engine
#01732 told me that he had adopted the old Russell and for the past
thirty years had moved her every time she was in the way. This, no
doubt, helped save her from the scrap man.

The old overhead crane still worked and ran through what was
once the assembly floor. It was quite an experience witnessing the
last Russell lifted by the old crane and watching her move down the
now silent and nearly empty assembly floor. I could only imagine
what it was like 80 years ago when the assembly area was bustling
with workers and crowded with new Russell machinery.

The Russell project is now well underway at our shops at 101
South Main Street in Navarre, Ohio. Visitors are welcome, with
morning hours being the best bet and a phone call recommended in
advance. The shop is (216) 879-5669.

Other projects currently underway that may interest readers
include a 1926 Erie steam shovel, a 30′ gauge Porter steam
locomotive, and a traction engine or two.

Farm Collector Magazine
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