Waterloo, Case, Huber and More: Reader Letters Reveal a Steam Engine Variety

Russell, Minneapolis, Nichols & Shepard among engines in our mailbag


| Fall 2006



1918_Waterloo-Leis

Allen Leis' 1918 Waterloo 20-22 HP steam engine.

Waterloo 20-22 HP steam traction engine

Allen R. Leis, 105 Clearwater Cres., Waterloo, ONT Canada N2V 1E7; (519) 884-6932, shows us a unique way of storing an engine for the winter months. Allen writes:

I am sending some photos of my Waterloo steam traction engine, no. 1776, 20-22 HP, built in Waterloo, Ontario in 1918. (The Waterloo engine appears in the first three photos in the image gallery.) I have stored it a number of years this way, and I find it a good way of storing it for the winter months. I store the engine on a cement pad, stud it with 2-by-6-inch lath and tarp on all sides, leaving a bit of an opening on the floor at the front between the front wheels. I install a turbine ventilator on the smokestack; this leaves airflow on the outside of the boiler. I take out two handhole covers beside the damper and the handhole cover in the smokebox, opening the damper approximately 1/2-inch. This leaves air flowing through the tubes through the water side of the engine. My boiler seems to be nice and dry during the winter months.

This Waterloo engine was shown on the cover of Iron-Men Album, November/December 1992. This engine is also shown on page 250 of Jack Norbeck’s Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines, third revised edition, owned by Ed Hura’s family at the time of Waterloo, Ontario. The motto on this engine is “An old Waterloo toy for an old Waterloo boy.”

Lansing four-wheel drive engine

Harry Pearce, 115 Parke Towne Drive, Elkton, MD 21921- 6111, recalls some memories of Elmer Ritzman’s Lansing four-wheel drive engine (featured on the back cover of Steam Traction, July/August 2006). Harry writes:

I am writing in regards to the Lansing four-wheel drive engine. I run that engine for Mr. Ritzman at the Kinzer, Pa., steam show. It was something else to handle. Ritzman told me that he saw it in a junkyard. He inquired about the engine and the price went up. I don’t remember what he gave for it, but it was plenty. The differential was stuck, but when he pulled it, it broke loose. The flywheel isn’t the original. He thought the one on it would have more inertia but it didn’t work any better. Arthur S. Young put it on for him. Ritzman told me he bought a Huber engine and couldn’t or didn’t have the money to have it hauled, so he ran it the 80 miles. He said the only problem he had was water. I guess that would be a problem.

Pawnee Steam School

Harold Stark, 3215 S. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46217, an instructor for the Pawnee Steam School, sends us some details of this year’s class (as well as a couple of photos in the image gallery). Harold writes: