Somewhere in the memory of every American there lies the vivid image of a steam locomotive. Nearly the same can be said for the Steam Traction Engine when talking to people in agriculture. No machine built by man has, or may never, receive the devotion and universal affection that the Steam Engine has achieved. What is there about this machine that is so different?
Never developed to the fullest extent, it could well have been the sole or nearly sole power used today! The gasoline engine has given us great power in a small package as is evidenced at our show. Yet the potential of the reciprocating steam engine design has never been developed beyond its infancy. For example, there is a current three cylinder steam engine under test with only 267 cubic inches displacement, yet it develops 300 horsepower at only 1000RPM. This is, as you know, almost the exact size engine that was made so famous in the International Harvester Farmall 'M' tractor. This amazing fact is only the beginning. Even at this horsepower output, the highest temperature in the engine does not approach the temperatures inside the internal combustion engine whether it be in a car, truck, or tractor. Also this engine has developed the same number of horsepower per gallon of fuel, as the best diesels of today. The future of newer and smaller atomic power plants yet may see our forgotten age of steam return in a new dress.
The versatility and performance of steam has not yet been duplicated in industry or transportation. So it may well be that this monster which can stand silent, but ready to put forth full power in an instant in either direction, may return to serve us far better than we have yet been served. We of the American Thresherman Association thank you for your interest and effort in sharing this inspiring hobby with us.