THE PRINCESS LIVES ON

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9441 Poncho St. Louis, Missouri 63123

In the July-August 1962 issue of the IRON MEN ALBUM Magazine, it
featured an article on ‘The Princess’ . A group of men
discovered this relic traction engine which had been abandoned on
Howell Island (located on the Missouri River some twenty miles
upstream from St. Charles, Missouri). This engine had escaped the
‘junkman’s torch’ because of its difficult
accessibility, and with the presence of more modern and powerful
engines being built, it was forgotten. Research of this unique
engine revealed they had a one-of-a-kind traction engine
indeed.

The traction engine was built in Belleville, Illinois in 1882 by
the Harrison Machine Works. Only a few engines like this one were
manufactured and there are no other known ones in existence today.
The Harrison Machine Works went on to manufacture a bigger, more
powerful eighteen horsepower calling it the ‘Jumbo
Harrison’.

After these findings, you could imagine how excited these men
were to start the restoration. Thank goodness this engine was found
by a group of gentlemen who knew what a personal joy it would be to
restore and share the memories with other people who had lived
during the steam engine era. After many hours of arduous work,
circumstances beyond their control forced the restoration to come
to a hault, once again putting her in danger of the
‘junkman’s torch’. Fortunately, a new admirer (L. Kuntz
from Fenton, MO) took over the task of restoring this unique piece
of machinery. With great effort, this man restored her and named
her ‘The Princess’. After being shown at thresher shows
throughout the Midwest, ‘The Princess’ can be found today
in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa where she is the feature presentation of the
Midwest Old Thresher Museum. One distinction hat separates ‘The
Princess’ from other traction engines is that she is among the
first, if not the VERY first, traction steam engine to be built in
the United States!!! Another distinct difference can be found about
the smokestack; it goes through the steam dome; the center of this
allows the exhaust to pass through. As you can well imagine, this
piece of machinery is quite an attention getter!!!

Wayne Baxley emerges from the Sandy Creek Covered Bridge,
Goldman, Missouri, on his half-scale ‘Lil’ Princess.’
For Baxley’s story, see page 27 of this issue.

Mr. L. Kuntz and a friend, Mr. C. Hilderbrand, searched for
another traction engine of the Harrison uniqueness, but to no
avail. They then decided to build a 1/2 scale model of ‘The
Princess’. Following every detail meticulously, this project
took ten years finishing in the mid-1960’s. It was a prize!!!
Having the only 1/2 scale model of a ‘one and only’ was
something to be proud of. The opportunity to show it at thresher
shows, parades, etc., gave them a great amount of pride. Upon the
deaths of both Mr. Kuntz and Mr. Hilderbrand in the early
1980’s, a barber from St. Louis, MO, W. Baxley, purchased the
1/2 scale model. He and a friend, Mr. P. House, using the paint
scheme of the full size ‘Princess’ at the museum in Mt.
Pleasant, painted this model. In doing so, they decided to overlay
the steel wheels with rubber making it better for parades, etc. She
is in perfect running order. You are afforded the opportunity to
see this machine at most shows, parades, fairs, etc. Her name is
‘Lil’ Princess’.

In September of 1988, Wayne Baxley had the pleasure of
participating in the Midwest Old Threshers 39th Annual Reunion is
Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. The ‘Lil’ Princess’ was set inside
the museum beside the ‘one and only’ 1882 Harrison
‘Princess’.

As Wayne strolled around the show grounds meeting
aficionado’s from all across the nation, he talked to the
owners of these vintage engines gaining more knowledge of the
operation of traction engine power. Leon Morrow and Wayne Kennedy,
who are two of the twelve directors at the museum, were very
helpful. These men expressed their admiration of the 1/2 scale
Harrison’Lil’ Princess’.

Wayne Baxley had a very enjoyable time at this grand finale
show; everyone was very genial; it was unbelievable.

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