Tad DeWalt and his father, Stuard, enjoying their model Minneapolis engine.
Rt. 3, Box 134 New Haven, Missouri 63068
In 1976, my father purchased a 1915 Minneapolis steam traction engine from a junkyard. Rain had rotted through the smokebox, the gears had many broken teeth, and the crank arm was missing. It is said that two brothers had owned the engine. In 1926, they had a fight, and one brother took the crank arm and hid it. It was never found. We have put a lot of work in this engine, and still have much more to do to finish it.
Dad was anxious to have an engine we could run, so in 1980, we started to build a 1/3-scale model from scratch of this engine. When finished, we fired it up and it wouldn't steam right. After enlarging the steam ports and main steamline, the engine ran, but we concluded that the flues were too small on the boiler. We had put 19 one-inch flues which sooted up too fast. Dad and I decided to build a bigger boiler with 21 two-inch flues, and plans were to use everything off the first engine.
We built bigger wheels and a new stack, and before we knew it, we had a whole new, larger, 2/3-scale Minneapolis steam engine built in a year's time between 1981 and 1982. There were never any castings bought for either of these engines. We built everything except the gears, governor, and flywheel. The bull gear and flywheel are off a New Holland bailer, and the differential is off a Model B John Deere tractor.
The second and larger engine is estimated to weigh 3 to 5 tons, and goes 11/2 miles per hour. After doing some math, we found the engine has approximately 35 horse power. The bore on the cylinder is 6' x 63/4'.
The first day we fired it up, (fall of '82) we had 27 people here to see it run, not including the many people who stopped in off the road. Since then we have run it seven times. Stuard DeWalt, my father, age 42, and I, Tad DeWalt, age 13, are very proud of our engine. We have joined the Owensville Threshers Association, and plan on showing our engine at the annual steam show in July 1983 at Rosebud, Missouri. We've been bit by the steam engine bug and are enjoying the itch. After we finish the original 1915 engine and rebuild the 1/3-scale model, we will have three engines to run.