The Rare Canary

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Tightening the Belt on Baker Fan, Upton 12 HP Cedar Valley Show, Charles City, Iowa 1983.
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Bill Neal's photo close up on engine reading, ''Upton Mfg. Co., Port Huron, Mich.''
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1022 North Elm Luverne, Minnesota 56156

Upton, Down ton, Port Huron or whatever who cares for there are
probably a dozen or more drifting around the country even if you
never heard the name Upton before. Those were my thoughts when I
took my first look at one of the developed rolls of film I received
which contained a snapshot of the Upton steamer. I wrote an article
for another magazines and referred to that engine as an Upton.

Later I received a letter from Carlton Johnson, Clio, Michigan
asking if I would send a picture of the steam engine for the sole
surviving Upton he knew of was the one that is or at least was in
Henry Ford’s museum at Dearborn, Michigan. Carlton owns a 19 HP
Port Huron Longfellow along with a 16 HP Buffalo-Pitts and a 6 HP
portable Russell. He is well grounded in the history of the Port
Huron Company.

When I took the picture at the Cedar Valley Show, 7 miles west
of Charles City, Iowa, I noticed the smoke box had the Port-Huron
Engine & Thresher Company name cast on its door. Being a bit
hazy as to just where I saw the Upton name on that engine I sent a
note to Bill Neal, Charles City, Iowa. Bill is my reliable source
of information should I need to know something about The Cedar
Valley Show or The Hart-Parr Tractor Company. Incidentally, The
White Motor Company has donated whatever Hart-Parr blue prints and
history they had to the museum in Charles City. Bill sent two neat
snap shots one of the engine itself and the other showing The Upton
Manufacturing Company name on the engine frame casting. I sent both
pictures to Carlton and am enclosing, with his permission, his very
interesting answer for I believe you will enjoy reading what he
wrote and also a few photos.

Whatever name or names is correct for that steamer, The Cedar
Valley Engine Club men have in their midst it’s definitely a
‘rare canary.’ Should you want to see Dave Hut-chin’s
engine attend their show which also has a large number of other
exhibits, a comfortable shaded location, friendly people and
reasonable prices. So why not check your calendar today and look
forward to spending an enjoyable day or maybe the whole Labor Day
weekend with them.

Dear Melvin,

I want to thank you for sending me the photos and engine number
of the Upton engine. I have a list of all Port Huron numbers and
goes back to 1884, starting out at 100 to 200, these would be Upton
numbers, although Upton built their first engine in 1882 but
probably did not start numbering them until 1884.

In 1885, (Just one hundred years ago) Upton Mfg. Co started
building threshing machinery at Port Huron, Michigan. In 1890 they
were calling their engine Port Huron Upton and separator the New
Port Huron Separator. I have a 1890 Upton Mfg. Co. catalog that
gives me this information.

I have a 1910 issue of Port Huron Engine & Thresher Co.
catalog that gives history of the company and they started by that
name in 1891. I also have 1893 Port Huron catalog and they were
looking very much like the Upton Engine yet, although they were
starting to use the Grime valve gear on the 14 HP engine; the 12 HP
shows Marsh gear. You probably know the Upton Co. started in Battle
Creek, Michigan.

In 1896 Port Huron Co. began work on Woolf Compounds, made the
self-cleaning none jarring drive wheels in 1900 and came out with
the long boilers (9ft. flues) in 1907 called Longfellows. In the
1890 Upton catalog they were building only a 10 & 12 HP engines
and separators of course.

I will write to Mr. Hutchins and if he care to have a copy of
the Port Huron builders’ numbers I have also the history I will
gladly send it to him. About the number on his engineit is a
mystery, the only way I can figure it out is that the engine was
brought back to the factory and rebuilt and they used a number of
the same as their new engines of that time only with the letter B
in front. The number B-2712 as on his engine would be a 1899
rebuild, the numbers Port Huron Co. used that year were 2701-2905.1
was told that the letter B in front of the number was to denote
that the engine had been rebuilt, but I never knew if they used the
original number and cast a new number plate and put the letter B in
front or if the used the same numbers that they were using on their
new engines of that year and put the letter B in front.

Yours truly,
Carlton Johnson

Threshing out of the farm, 1942. 19 HP Port Huron engine, 33 X
54 Port Huron Rusher separator. Glenn Johnson’s farm, photo by
Carlton Johnson.

One-third scale model of a 65 HP Case steam engine owned by
Gerry Bilton of Hartney, Manitoba, Canada. The photo was taken by
Charles A. Keberly, 9162 Hartel, Levonia, MI 48150, at the 1979
Western Ontario Steam Threshers Show.


A new group, the South Central Penn Historic Lifestyle and Power
Society, has been organized in Pennsylvania.

The purpose of the group is to ‘stir and enrich interest
among all groups of the general population of South Central
Pennsylvania and surrounding areas in preserving the lifestyles,
machinery, and other aspects of life used by them and their past

A show is planned for August 30-September 2, near Manchester and
Mt. Wolf, York County. For further information about this
organization, write to the South Central Penn Historic Lifestyle
and Power Society, Box 668, Mt. Wolf, PA 17347.


Dropping of a word gave a misimpression in our March-April IMA
article on Jack Wharton, president of the National Traction Engine
Club England.

The article said ‘very few engines appear at the NTEC
shows’. That should have read ‘very few American
engines’. We have seen scores of British engines at NTEC shows,
and regret the error.
Ye Ed

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