Box 92 Portersville, PA 16051
For a 17 year old boy to write about his favorite engine might sound a little difficult. Well, if you have been around them for about five years, you begin to realize which engine you think is the best of them all. For me, the Case engine is my favorite. Don't get me wrong, I love them all, but Case is my favorite for several reasons.
About three years ago, I had a chance to run a 1911 12-36 HP Case owned by my friend, Wendell Bintrim. I never ran a steamer by myself and I was a little concerned about what to do. Wendell taught me everything I needed to know about handling the 12 HP Case. I was soon running the engine all over the place and I wanted to take that engine home with me. Case engines are so simple to run and they are easy steamers no matter what anyone says. This was my first engine to run by myself and I think that is why Case is my favorite engine. Those may sound like pretty strong statements coming from a young boy, but I do think they are true.
I have also run a beautiful 1921 19-65 HP Port Huron owned by my friend, Clyde Lightfoot. This engine can really push out some horsepower. This is another easy steamer with a boiler jacket and a wet bottom boiler. Belted up on the Baker Fan or the sawmill, this engine will put on one heck of a show. They are really beautiful engines and I can see why Leroy Blaker loved his Port Huron engines.
I love to go to the reunions and talk with the old timers about steamers. Of course they always argue over the best engine and it is fun just to listen to them talk about the 'old days' and their favorite engines. One thing you don't see much of anymore at the reunions are the 'Economy Runs.' I think they did these at the Wauseon, Ohio show and some other big shows many years ago. I'm glad to see the prony brake tests, but this would really be something for the steam men to get excited over. How about it, fellas?
Since Case is my favorite engine, I think the 110 HP Case is about the finest engine ever built. They can handle any job and they are very easy to run. I found this out this past September 8-10, 1989 at the Tri State Historical Steam Engine Show. I was thrilled to death that I would get to run Willis Abel's 1912 110 HP Case. This 110 #28668 was the last 110 built in 1912. It originally pulled a 12 bottom plow in Lisbon, North Dakota. I belted the engine up on the Baker Fan with help from my friend, Austin Monk, of Marion, Montana. This old girl really put on a show for the large crowd that gathered around to watch her belch out a lot of black smoke.
This steam engine lover is Kenneth Kelley from Pawnee, Oklahoma. Kenneth came to Willis Abel's show in Finleyville, Pennsylvania, Sept. 9-10-11, 1989, to run Willis's 1909 9 HP Case. Kenneth owns a beautiful 1913 110 HP Case and the whole line of Case engines.
Austin came to the show to help run Willis's 1910 40-140HP Rumely. I think he had as much fun on the Rumely as I did on the 110 Case. Someday I'll be able to write a story on the 110 Case I'm going to own. I know several 110 Case owners and their engines look like they just rolled out of the factory. They must be very proud of their 110's. I know Willis is.
Willis's collection consists of several large and beautifully restored engines. Along with the 110 HP Case and the 140 HP Rumely, Willis owns a 1910 35-120 HP Nichols & Shepard (one of only three or four), a 1907 'Z3' Geiser Peerless 40-120 HP, and a 1907 'ZZ' Geiser Peerless 35-120 HP. The difference between these two engines is the 'Z3' has different gearing which gives it five more drawbar HP ('Z3'40-120 HP, 'ZZ' 35-120 HP). The 'Z3' also has a pin clutch and the 'ZZ' has a friction clutch and the front bolster is different on the 'Z3'. Willis also owns about 30 other engines, 13 of which are Peerless (Geiser) engines. They are all restored beautifully.
I have met many wonderful people through this hobby. I like to correspond with steam engine lovers like Emil Kudlacek of Seward, Nebraska who has owned several steamers. I enjoy reading the articles by Chady Atteberry and Jack Beamish, and several others. Advance, Advance Rumely, Baker, Avery, Gaar-Scott, Aultman-Taylor it doesn't matter, I like them all! If I could, I would own one of every make. I am still learning about engines every day and I guess that's what it's all about, learning and having fun. I would like to correspond with anyone who loves engines as much as I do. Hope you readers have enjoyed this article. I hope to write an article on the big engines, like the 110 Case or 120 HP Avery, sometime soon. Safe steaming to everyone!