1899 Industrial Iron Works

The ''Missouri Engine''

| July/August 2002

Industrial Iron Works

Total Output of the 'Missouri Engine' was Around 500 This 2-1/2 HP is One of Only Five Known Survivors

Ted Brookover's circa 1899 2-1/2 HP Industrial Iron Works, Shop No. 414, one of five known. His father, Calvin, owns a surviving 7 HP sideshaft engine. Three others, including a 3 HP, 5 HP and 16 HP, are in the hands of collectors in Missouri and Nebraska. Engine production from the company appears to have started around 1898 and ended 13 years later, in 1911.

In 1975 old iron was still pretty plentiful, and pretty cheap. Old Fairbanks-Morse Model Zs or IHC Model Ms could be picked up for a song, so when Ted Brookover and his dad, Calvin, paid $1,000 for an engine most people had never even heard of, people in the hobby thought they were crazy. 'Everybody thought we were insane, they said we were going to ruin the hobby,' Ted says. 'But, it's the only one of its kind, how do you put a price on that?'

Good question, and while there are probably as many answers as there are collectors, for Ted there's no question the engine he and his dad paid so much for so long ago was worth the price. Estimated to have been built some time around 1899, Ted's 2-1/2 HP Industrial Iron Works is one of only five known surviving engines made by the Clinton, Mo., firm, and it's the only surviving 2-1/2 HP.

Ted and his dad got into the old iron hobby in the early 1970s, not long before purchasing this engine, and it was through an encounter with Rolly Hines of Clinton, Mo., that they first learned of the Industrial Iron Works company. At the time, Rolly owned the sole surviving Industrial Iron Works 16 HP engine, a tank-cooled, sideshaft engine. Rolly knew of another Industrial Iron Works engine believed at the time to be in Independence, Kan., but that was all.

Not long after meeting Rolly, Calvin, looking to buy a steam engine, happened to be talking with Bill Barnes, proprietor of Old Bill's Museum in Liberty, Mo. A retired TWA pilot and collector, Bill's museum featured old farm equipment, a gun said to have belonged to Jesse James, cars, tractors, toys - and some engines.

Bill told Calvin he might sell one of his engines, so Calvin and Ted went to Liberty to see what they could find. What they found, of course, was the engine you see here.