| December/January 1989

  • The 12-20 Twin City

    Oscar Cooke

  • The 12-20 Twin City

302 Highland Avenue, Plentywood, MT 59254

In 1926, the last year we used steam, we worked with a 1909 20 HP Case. Dad took the crankshaft out to have it built up, as some engineers did not, whether through ignorance or laziness, oil the clutch and pinion hushing. The shaft was badly worn, so much so that the clutch would not stand up. We used a chain and bolt to replace the clutch, while the repair was being made. We needed the boiler to butcher hogs.

The engine was parked on a grade, as the whole building site was very hilly. The front wheels were dug down to make the boiler level. The 12-20 Twin City could not pull it out of the holes as we had to move it to the site of the butchering. So my brother, Roy, got a jack and proceeded to jack it out of the holes. I was on the steering wheel and was turning it as fast as I could to make a half-circle. Roy wanted to take it for a joy-ride. Roy jumped on the engine, took the wheel and started slowly to turn the other direction. Now Roy had been used to engines with much less steering ratios. By the time he caught on, it was too late to get where he wanted to go.

Down the hill to the west in a row was a 2 year old 32' Rumely (the last wooden one), a cook car and a new 12' drill. I had climbed up on the boiler and held onto the stack. Well, it hit the cook car dead on, the tongue was frozen in the ground so the wheels stopped it. The cook car was demolished. A lot of broken dishes, flour, sugar, and what have you, all over. The stove pipe shed soot all over too!

We got careful after that. We had to pull it down a steep hill. The Twin City had no brakes to count on (most T.C.'s didn't), so we cranked up a 17-30 Minneapolis which had very good brakes and put it behind to hold back.

We spotted the steamer and butchered 35 hogs. Then the work started-hams, bacon, sausage and head cheese, mostly, hand grinding, stuffing, curing and eating!