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
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.
We have shown the engine at the Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor
Show in Portland, Indiana, and the Van Buren Flywheelers Antique
Engine and Tractor Show in Hartford, Michigan. We have plans for
other shows in the 1993 season.
It is a real crowd pleaser and show stopper. With the motor
running, smoke comes out the smoke stack, just like the real
Many thanks to my wife for buying it for me, and helping me
restore it. We now have a one of a kind beauty!