Wilcox Has Unusual Hobby

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The Little Engine That Could This little engine, burning charcoal, coal or what-have-you can move a sled with a 150-pound man on it. Willis Wilcox spent seven years of his spare time, making this miniature model of ''the real thing''. Courtesy of Willis
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Willis with his Case model engine. Courtesy of Willis Wilcox, 349 E. Arch St., Madisonville, Kentucky 42431

Staff Writer

We thank the editor of The Messenger newspaper of Madisonville,
Kentucky for giving permission to use the article done by Ann Brown
for their paper Anna Mae.

Willis Wilcox, Madisonville sign painter, has an unusual hobby.
He is a miniature steam engine enthusiast. For the past seven
years, in his spare time, Wilcox has been tinkering with a two-inch
scale model of the 1915  J. I. Case, 65 HP, full-working
miniature steam traction engine.

And now the little engine is complete, and it works beautifully.
The little engine, all shiny and new, is 44 inches long, 15 inches
wide and 21 inches tall. The rear wheels are 12 inches in diameter
while the front wheels are eight inches in diameter. The cylinder
is 1 and 5/8 inches by 1 and   
inches with a 6 11-16 inch fly wheel.

THIS TWO-INCH scale model traction engine is a powerful little
piece of machinery, capable of pulling several people. It can be
powered with burning charcoal briquets, wood or coal, and is a
perfect copy of the original.

Wilcox used many, many pieces in the construction of the engine,
tabulating them as he used them. The final count showed 153 bronze
castings, one cast iron fly wheel and crank disc. The castings are
not machined in any way. Other parts used consist of about 380
separate items, most made by hand, or about 1,750 separate parts if
every bolt and rivet were counted.

ALL MATERIALS used by Wilcox in the construction of this little
engine were developed from information supplied by the J. I. Case
Co. and are authentic and true to scale.

The engine, under 87 pounds of steam, pulled a 150 pound man,
riding on a packing crate, in a sled-fashion drag.

The engine took seven years of Wilcox’s spare time to build
but he enjoyed every minute spent on the project. It gave him
something to look forward to as one item at a time was
machined.

‘When a fellow becomes a steam buff, the past lives
again,’ Wilcox states. ‘By-gone dreams become a reality.
You always have something to talk about. It’s hard to explain,
but you never tire of working with a project like this.’

And from the gleam in his eye, you can tell he really means it
when he says he ‘actually loves working with his hobby.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment