THE MODEL MINNEAPOLIS

article image
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.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment