What better way to haul a collection of engines from show to show than having them mounted on a trailer? “It’s all pretty much self-storing, I just hook on the trailer, everything is on there, all the belts line up, all I have to do is pull them out and remember which belt goes where and we’re ready to roll,” said Clifford Steinhoff. Clifford and Teresa Steinhoff are the proud owners of a trailer mounted with seven engines, each with its own function to display the variety of uses for vintage power.
He affectionately calls his miniature display “a pain in the butt” but says he created the display for people to see how the various engines run and what they are capable of. The seven engines included are: a Hercules 1-1/2hp and 2-1/2hp, a John Deere 1-1/2hp, a Stover 1hp, a Rock Island 1hp, a Worthington 2-1/2hp, and a Nelson Bros. Little Jumbo 1-1/2hp. All the engines were in the current condition when Clifford purchased them, and they only needed to be cleaned up to run.
“I’d see other shows away from here and see their ideas and then go home and put my own twist on the idea. I tried to come up with something a little different and yet entertaining for everyone,” Clifford said. While the idea of a trailer mounted with engines isn’t new to the show scene, the Steinhoffs’ display is unique in that it offers each onlooker a pint-sized souvenir. “I saw a larger baler and people were wanting him to make them smaller. I asked him if he would mind if I took pictures or drawings of his baler and he said ‘no, go right ahead, but if you build one, I want a picture of it.’ Next time I saw him, I handed him a picture.” He continued, “My dad was the salesman. He’d say, ‘Don’t you need some of those for Halloween or Christmas decorations?’ My father used to tie the bales for me, but he’s not a metal worker, he is more of a woodworker.” The tiny hay bales go for two dollars each and the couple stays busy all day getting them ready.
“We can grind corn, we can make two different sized straw bales, we can saw small logs, and pump water,” he explained. Clifford fabricated the small baler, can crusher, and mini sawmill. He also made a 3-point hitch for his peddle tractor, complete with gears to hook up to a mini trailer for the tiny bales, a small plow, grain drill, blade, or v-ripper. He is working on fabricating a semi-mounted plow.
His favorite engine on the trailer is the Rock Island 1hp. “It’s just a neat, little, quiet-running engine,” he said. The Worthington gives him the most trouble. “Maybe I just don’t put enough gas in it.” The couple attend old iron shows together, making and selling tiny bales, and keeping the engines running. “She seems to enjoy it. I think she just loves spending time with me, though,” Clifford said. “Hopefully when we go to a show people enjoy the work that’s put into these, hopefully they get a kick out of it and want to come back and support the shows again.”