The Beckman Mill's 'New' Titan 10-20

| June/July 2000

2274 W. Leland Avenue #3W, Chicago, Illinois 60625

Restored to its 1920 appearance, the Beckman Mill operates as a functioning mill museum near Beloit, Wisconsin. The Titan engine is housed in the shed addition behind the larges sliding door.

What are you going to do with that rusty old thing?

Many visitors to the Beckman Mill near Beloit, Wisconsin, looking at the hulk of a 1920 International Harvester Titan 10-20 tractor hardly believed it was even worth its weight as scrap. However, in keeping with the tradition of rebuilding things that 'can't be rebuilt,' the restoration crew of the Friends of Beckman Mill has returned the engine to fine running condition.

William How built his mill west of Beloit in 1868 to grind grain for area farmers. In 1882 German-born August Beckman became the miller, followed by his sons Henry and Charlie Beckman. The mill operated until Charlie closed it down in 1954- Rock County purchased the property in 1978 for use as a park with the intent of restoring the mill, but no funds were available. Alarmed at the building's deteriorating condition, a group of local residents, history buffs, and Beckman family members formed the Friends of Beckman Mill, Inc. as a non-profit group in 1990. They set to work returning the mill to its 1920s condition, the era when the Beckmans' business was at its peak. A dedicated crew of volunteers did much of the restoration work themselves. Today the group operates the mill as a working museum, grinding with the same stones used since 1868. Interestingly, those French buhr stones were imported by the Edward P. Allis Company of Milwaukee-the forerunner to Allis Chalmers.

Turbines originally powered the millstones and machinery. By the 1920s, though, the Beckman Mill installed a one cylinder Fairbanks-Morse 'N' stationary engine to supply auxiliary power for grinding. It was needed in times of drought or flood, when there wasn't enough head of water to run the turbines. When the 'N' wore out, it was replaced with an engine removed from a Titan 10-20.