Unique 'Steam Engine' Powered by Gasoline Engine

| November/December 1993

  • Steam Engine

  • Steam Engine

32564 Cable Dr. Dowagiac, Michigan 49047

I was driving in Northern Michigan one summer afternoon, and on an out-of-the-way road I ran across an unusual piece of machinery. It was sitting by the road in front of an old antique shop. I looked it over and decided it was not in too bad shape. I went to the house next door, but there was no one at home. So I went home and told my wife all about it, and how it looked like a real steam engine, but was run by an antique flywheel engine. She said, 'Oh sure, some more junk is just what we need around here.'

A month later I took her up north to see the engine. The man had his antique shop open, but did not want to sell the 'steam engine.' He said that it had been there for several years, as sort of a trademark, that people would just drive by to see it and maybe stop in and buy something. I figured that it wasn't for sale, but as I started to leave the man said, 'Let's talk about this some more, and maybe I will sell it to you.' He began to tell the story of how his wife had died two years before and he was lonesome. He said that he was over 70 years old, and he says, 'Maybe I will just sell everything.'

I took a second look at the engine, then went back inside. He said, '$350.00 will take it.' I went quickly back to the truck to tell my wife, and she said, 'BUY IT.'

It was over 14ft. long, I was 140 miles from home, and I didn't have a trailer. So it was decided that we would return home without the engine, and arrangements were made to return a week later for the new toy.

As soon as I got it home, we began to restore it. In two weeks it looked like a new one, and the motor started on the third crank. It is made out of two 55 gallon drums, a 275 gallon diamond plate fuel oil tank, a garden tractor trans axle, a Crossly car transmission, an International LA, 1-2 HP motor and a few pieces of scrap iron and tin.