25 HP Russell rolls on

40 years later, it's still got it


| November/December 1990



HP Russell

Lyman K. Urban with hand on drive wheel. Lyman is the granson of Lyman Knapp. Lyman K. is one of our very fine young engineers in OK. Engine is 25 HP Russell # 17105. 

The morning of July 3, 1989 the phone rang. My long time steam buddy, Lyman Knapp, was on the line. He said, "Chady, you Case boys should beware that the Mighty Russell was out of the barn and on the prowl."

On July 25, 1949 Lyman put on a plowing demonstration with his 25 HP Russell #17105. There was a write up about the plowing in the spring 1950 Farm Album. This was before the Farm Album became the Iron-Men Album. It was also before the first show in this part of the United States. A large crowd at-tended as local radio and a farm radio show in Wichita, Kansas reported the upcoming plowing demonstration.

Now back to 1989. Lyman wanted to get the Russell out and reenact the 1949 plowing forty years later. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for this engine. Lyman got #17105 in 1947, just a week after I got my 65 Case. I paid $200 for the 65 and Lyman paid $125 for the Russell in western Kansas. Lyman recalls it cost him more to get the engine home than he paid for it. The Russell was used only two short seasons for threshing, so needless to say she was like new. #17105 still has the original flues. How many of you fellows own engines with all original flues that are still good?

Before I report on this year's plowing in July 1989 with #17105, I'll give you a little history on this engine in the last 40 years.

In the summer of 1950, Lyman purchased the 10 HP Canton Aultman in Nebraska. We went after the engine with a 1936 Chevrolet truck. On our return trip we stopped to visit Kenny Reynolds in Wichita, Kansas. Kenny old us that he had sold his 65 Case to Herb and Harold Ottaway. Kenny called the Ottaways and they came out to Kenny's machine shop. After visiting and meeting Herb and Harold we went out to their Joyland amusement park to see the 65. It wasn't but a few days and Ottaways came to Lyman's farm. They were interested in starting a show. We held our first show in August 1951 at Joyland amusement park in Wichita, Kansas.

We didn't know much about putting on a show. We had only a few engines at the first show, but it didn't take long for things to get interesting. Ottaways built a Prony brake, the one now used at Pawnee. The first thing we knew, the Joyland 65 and Lyman's 25 Russell were in a battle which lasted several years. The Russell pulled first and made a nice pull. Then Big Mac pulled the 65 hooked up one notch. With Mac's experience he outpulled the Russell. We Case guys were feeling pretty good.