The Story of Frank ‘N Steam

1 / 5
1'', 2'', 3'', and 4'' scale models of 65 HP Case.
2 / 5
Gary and Frank s new toy, the 75 HP Case steam engine.
3 / 5
4'' scale Case separator built in 1988.
4 / 5
Steaming up the 2'' scale in 1988.
5 / 5
Taking the family for a Sunday afternoon ride with the 4'' Case tractor in 1988.

1170 Independence Street, Lakewood, Colorado 80215

I was born on August 21, 1915, and raised in Ontario, Canada.
The 74 years have been good to me, until about six years ago when I
was diagnosed with melanoma. I pray to hold on as long as possible.
I thought the readers might like to know about the models I have
spent my time building.

Born in the 20’s, the steam traction engines were losing out
to the gas tractors. My father liked the steam engine so much that
he paid Mr. Henry Tait $15.00 a day extra for the steam engine to
run the separator (thresher) to thresh about 30 acres of grain.
This made quite an impression on me as I used to sit and watch this
great engine puff and smoke, pulling that long belt to the
separator. My big thrill was at 12 o’clock when the fireman
would lift me onto the platform and let me blow the whistle to stop
all operations so the hungry men could eat the largest amount of
food I ever saw.

Before being discharged from the Navy in 1946 I had found my
life partner, Mabel, who gave me three children. The eldest passed
away recently from Multiple Sclerosis. Mabel has been a great
encouragement to me in building and showing several scale models of
the J.I. Case engines. Some of these great shows started when Mr.
Porter of Ontario, Canada asked us to show the 1′ scale Case
engine and separator at Milton, Ontario in 1967. In 1971 we were
invited by Russell Orth to show at Norwich, Ontario. We have missed
only two shows thereafter, for 18 years, showing next to Jack
McJannet of Ingersol, Ontario. It was the start of meeting some
wonderful people and seeing some of the school kids I went to
school with, in the 20’s, in Burgessville, four miles away.

When I was able to retire I continued to work with steam,
building working models of the J.I. Case 65 HP steam engine, so now
have 1′, 2′, 3′ and 4′ scale engines. I have also
built, without blueprints, working models of the 1′ and 4′
scale Case thresher. Three years ago we joined the J.I. Case
Heritage Foundation and have met and been inspired by Helen and
Brig Brigham, who through the past few years have given me
encouragement to continue to live with my life threatening cancer
by adding little notes on the Heritage Foundation correspondence.
What busy and wonderful people! At our first showing at Kinzers,
Pennsylvania, with the Foundation, we were transported with our
granddaughter to and from the banquet with Helen. Our granddaughter
still talks of that honor. We will not forget their courteous and
thoughtful deeds.

At the J.I. Case Heritage Foundation Show in Manitoba, two
friends from Calgary, Audry and Wray Broad, a former neighbor and
classmate from the 20’s in Burgessville, Ontario, came to help
us through that show. As chance would have it, they traveled over a
thousand miles from the south and as we entered Highway #1 Mabel
spotted a trailer and van with an Alberta license stopped aside the
road making an adjustment on the trailer. Yes, it was Wray and
Audry 40 miles west of our final destination. We were all shocked
and surprised to meet like this as we had planned to meet at the
show grounds. Our 12 year old grandson was with us this trip. He
was going to help run the engine, but fate took another turn and
the ladies at the Case booth took precedence over our display. He
helped (hindered) in the sale of tee-shirts, flags, etc. for the
entire show.

In the induction of J.I. Case into the Agricultural Hall of Fame
we were assisted by two friends originally from New Zealand who
drove 800 miles from Indiana: Colin and Lynn Johnstone. They were a
great help throughout the show gathering wood and getting water for
the running of the 4′ scale Case engine and thresher. At this
time my cancer had not crippled me too badly.

Last year, while reading the ‘For Sale’ column in the
Iron Men Album, I noticed a 75 HP Case engine for sale in Brainard,
Minnesota. I called our son in Dillon, Montana and mentioned this
ad. His reaction was the same as mine after talking to these fine
convincing people we must go look. Sure enough, it was as presented
to us on the phone, a beautiful engine in good to excellent
condition. These two brothers, John and Judson Murray, were willing
to part with it. This engine needed to travel 1008 miles to its new
home. It would be out of the question to drive that far at 2 miles
per hour. Knowing two fine people from Valley Center, Kansas, Lois
and Tom Terning, who have had many miles of experience hauling
these 11-ton engines, we called upon him to haul one more. They
delivered. This beautiful engine now resides on our son’s 300
acres, 14 miles northeast of Dillon, Montana on Highway 41. He does
not have his storage building up yet so the tractor is sitting in
front of their home a few yards from the highway. Before Christmas
he put a few strings of flashing Christmas lights on the engine,
outlining the contour and wheels so at night it looked like the
engine was traveling. He received lots of comments. He also has a
32′ Case separator and a McCormick-Deering grain binder to
restore. He has the wish and ambition to do all this and is
constantly asking for my help but each day it looks like my health
will not permit that. I pray each day the Lord will restore my
health.

Wray and Audry Broad have expressed their willingness to help
show some of our equipment at the Brooks, Oregon show this summer,
so Lord help me to be able to do that. What a joy it would be to
see all of you again, there.

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