Farm Collector

Veteran Boiler Maker

US 27, Dundee, Florida 33838.

Standing by the engine is Mr. Glenn H. Adney, whom we believe
may be the last living boiler maker who helped make the last Case
boilers in 1924.

Mr. Adney was working in the Case Boiler Shop when it was shut
down and the boiler making machinery dismantled. The prevailing
rate of pay in the Case plant, as well as most other large
industries, was 50cent per hour or $5.00 per 10 hour day.

As Mr. Adney remembers, they had about 100 boilers in stock
which were sold mostly as replacements and for steam applications
of various kinds, until the last one was sold about 1932.

With one or two exceptions, the last several engines were
portables, and were shipped to Australia. The last Case Steam
Engine, No. 35707, was made in 1924.

According to Mr. Adney, the ‘shop talk’ was that the
Freeman Boiler Shops made all boilers for Case until about
1900.

Mr. Adney was always fascinated by steam boilers and engines,
and remembers Old No. 1, which was made in 1869. Although this
engine usually referred to as No. 1 and its supposed to be the
first steam engine built by Case and sold to a customer, actually
No. 1 of the series which followed down through the years was not
made until 1876. Old No. 1 was lost to history until 1925 when it
was located on a Minnesota farm and acquired by the Case
Company.

Mr. Adney saw it only two or three times between 1925 and
October, 1962, when it was given a second restoration, a new coat
of black paint, striped in red, and trucked in a Case truck to the
Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. After the Boiler Shop
closed, Mr. Adney went to the New South Works of the Case Company
and went to work in the foundary where parts were cast for the
gasoline tractors.

The last ten years he was with the company he operated the Ladle
Crane pouring molten iron, and during that time, Mr. Adney says
proudly, he never dropped a single ladle. He retired to Florida in
1957, and right away, he laments, they dropped two ladles of molten
iron, injuring some people and causing some expensive clean up
delays. Mrs. Adney says he was about to catch a plane and go back
from his Florida retirement and straighten them out. ‘The
neighbors and I almost had to tie him down,’ she laughs.

Mr. Adney is in very poor health as a result of a respiratory
problem caused from many years of industrial smog and dust, plus
nearly 80 years. He has nothing but praise for the Case Company,
although the work was hard and conditions were not the best during
his early years they were as good or better than average, and if he
was a young man he probably would go back and work for the J.I.
Case Company.

  • Published on Nov 1, 1971
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