Spalding's Corner: Mystery Traction Engine

The identity of a mystery engine presented in a past issue is revealed, and another unknown traction engine is offered up to readers.


| March 2005



mystery traction engine

Can you identify the maker of this traction engine?

Photo: John Spaulding

Two readers identified the "mystery" engine in the January/February 2005 issue of Steam Traction.

The first response came from Robert Curran of Creemore, Ontario, Canada, who revealed it's a 22 HP Cornell manufactured by Clinton Thresher Co. Ltd., Clinton, Ontario, Canada.

Robert's identification prompted a little investigation. Although Cornell engines are few and far between (Jack Norbeck's Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines doesn't have a photograph of one), available information says the Cornell line was manufactured first by Haggert Bros. Mfg., Brampton, Ontario, Canada, and later by J.M. Ross, Sons & Co. Ltd., St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada.

As Robert eventually discovered, and passed along, Clinton Thresher Co. was actually an agent for Haggert Bros., and then J.M. Ross after Ross purchased the company about 1893.

Coming in on the heals of Robert's communication was a letter from Roger Meyer of Miles City, Mont., correctly identifying the traction engine as a Cornell manufactured by J.M. Ross, Sons & Co. Regular readers might recognize Roger's name, as he was the only person to identify the Empire engine featured in the November/December 2004 issue.

Robert says he's not in it for the glory and doesn't want a book, so we're sending Roger a second free copy of Prof. P.F. Rose's Steam Engine Guide in the hopes he'll pass it along to another member of the steam community. Good fun boys, and thanks for your input.