Waterloo Threshing Machinery

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Spalding’s Corner mystery engine photo from Steam Traction Fall 2007.
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Right: An 18-20 HP Waterloo owned by Fred Burger. Photo taken September 1930.
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Above: Fred Burger’s 16-18 HP Waterloo engine getting greased up before heading out to Albert Schurmans in 1924. Fred Burger on front wheel, Albert Michel, Lornie Wegner, Lornie Michel and Uncle John Silke on engine, Petawawa Township.
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Fred Burger’s 16-18 HP Waterloo steam engine threshing at Eichstaedts, Petawawa, Ontario, in 1924. Albert Michel on the engine, dad’s Uncle John Silke examing the hind wheel for loose bolts.

Editor’s note: Responses to Spalding’s Corner are
generally short notes of identification. But when Bert Michel
responded to our Summer 2007 query, he sent full documentation
supporting his identification of the engine shown. Owing to the
quality of Bert’s material, we thought it deserved special
treatment, and we present it here for your benefit.

This engine is a Waterloo traction engine, manufactured by
Waterloo Mfg. Co. Ltd., Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. I would take it
to be about a 16 or 18 HP engine.

I would like to point out two things which make identification a
bit difficult: 1) The smokebox door is not typical of a Waterloo
engine (this is an older type), which I have seen on older portable
engines. Most doors are in two parts, both castings; a convex ring
is bolted to the front of the smokebox. A smaller cast iron door
containing an emblematic lion’s head is then hinged from this ring.
2) The smokestack is in one piece, made of sheet steel. A number of
later Waterloos have a two-piece stack; the lower portion about
12-14 inches long is cast and the upper rolled steel part with a
flange is bolted to it.


The items which I see that identify the engine as a Waterloo

• The wheels, both front and back, have cast hubs and rims with
round spokes cast in place.

• The cleats on the rear wheels are typical.

• The smokestack ring is a typical cast part.

• The clutch, visible through the flywheel has three arms and
shoes, a design on smaller Waterloo engines.

• Looking at the spoke at the 6 o’clock position in the
flywheel, you can see a round pin held in place by a set screw.
This lock pin can be engaged if the flywheel is rotated by hand to
line-up with a “U” shaped slot in the hub of the clutch. The pin is
then pushed in and locked by the set screw to give a positive

• The linkage from the throttle lever to the throttle is in two
parts with a cast support arm bolted on the top of the dome which
pivots back or forth with movement of the lever.

• The valve gear and the way it is hung.

• The angle steel frame, which carries the countershaft on which
is mounted the differential gear and road wheel pinions. The back
end of this angle frame is bolted to the lower section of the axle
brackets. The front end of this sub-frame is supported on each side
by a cast bracket. The top end of bracket is bolted to the boiler
and the lower end to the forward part of the angle steel frame.
Both the angle steel frame and the cast brackets are visible in the
photo (Steam Traction, Spalding’s Corner, Fall 2007).

• There area two gears for the intermediate gear, which means
this is a 2-speed engine – an option.


I am 70 years old and the fourth generation living on the Michel
family farm, settled by my great-grandparents in 1867. My father,
Albert Michel (1899-1968), was a stationary engineer. He started
running traction engines for threshing and sawmill work back in the
1920s and owned various engines in his lifetime. One such engine, a
20-22 HP John Goodison, purchased by my father the year I was born
in 1936, is still owned by us and on the farm to this date.

In the early 1960s, we picked up a number of other engines to
keep them in our area. We also have two Waterloos on the farm;
hence that is why I was able to identify the mystery engine. I also
have an original Waterloo catalog dated 1916, which I referred

In addition, I have sent along two photos taken in 1924 using a
Waterloo for threshing in the Petawawa, Ontario, area and operated
by my father, but owned by Fred Burger who lived on the farm next
to us. Included is a third photo of another Waterloo taken in
September 1930 of an 18-20 HP. It was also owned by Fred. The men
in the photo are unknown. This engine, after sitting idle for a
number of years, was purchased by my father around 1948 and sold to
a contractor working on the construction of a large hydro dam being
built on the Ottawa River about 40 miles upstream from Petawawa.
That was the last we ever saw or heard about the engine.

Contact steam enthusiast Bert Michel at R.R. 1, 590
Black Bay Road, Petawawa, ONT Canada K8H 2W8.

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