The 2018 summer steam show biggies

steam engine

Well, we are moving right along with steam show season and lots of postings are on the internet.

Two items are taking honors. First is the 150 Case traction engine built by Kory Anderson in North Dakota and unveiled at the James Valley Threshing Show.

The second is the tremendous turnout at the Great Dorset Steam Fair at the 50th anniversary of their well-known show in southwestern England.


The 150 Case project has been on several minds for quite a while and a goodly number of enthusiasts were ready and able to lend a hand on this enormous project.

Case has for many years been cooperative with plans for its traction engines which they built in about five sizes up until about 1925.

Many parts are very similar in the different sizes just being scaled up from the smallest ones. It would very interesting to me to know how many sizes or scales exist around the hobby.

There are at least three shops advertising drawings and casting kits mostly for quarter and half scale machines.

The late Elmer Kelly of Chewton built a quarter scale of the 65 Case with a lot of help from friends at the Babcock & Wilcox shops where he worked.

I heard him say several times he should have done a half scale as it would have been only a little more work and a lot more useful.

I have seen several half scale Case 110s and they would have a 6 by 6 inch cylinder which would make them comparable to the smallest production units built by many early companies and so capable of considerable actual work.

The Case 150 was a prototype design and only about three were ever made if I am correctly informed.

Russell built at least one prototype road locomotive of similar horsepower and so did Aultman-Taylor, but they were all too heavy for the roads and bridges back then and probably still today.

The well-known 32/110 hp Case was pretty much of a monster too but found a use plowing the prairie sod, and there are quite a few in operating condition today.

The 150 sports a 14 by 14-inch cylinder and so puts out a lot of power, though I have not seen dyno measurements yet. They will be interesting.

One video shows it pulling a 24 bottom plow quite easily up in Andover.


The steam shows in England are a bit tough to compared to ours in America since they are much more prone to use compound engines and have a large number of rollers and Lorries (read that as trucks).

That said there is no problem giving credit for numbers of engines in steam.

Michael Oliver, club secretary, who is interviewed, says that they had about 25 engines at the first show 50 years ago and worked by steps up to 100 plus more recently.

This year for the anniversary show, they set their eyes on 500 and made it. They are saying 522 full-size steamers and 472 that meet some particular requirements, not explained here.

I can hardly imagine 500 engines even on a large show site, which in this case, is some 600 acres at Southdown Farm, village of Tarrant Hinton in county Dorset.

I well recall my experience at the Expo Steam show in Battersea Park, London, back in April 1972. They had aimed for 100 engines and got 96.

They were all parked along the road and well ordered, but I nearly ran my legs off trying to see them all and get lots of pictures.

I can only imagine the organizing and the number of invitations that went out all over the world for this 50th-anniversary show.

There was an engine from Denmark and several from the U.S.

I saw an Avery undermounted which was easy to spot among its standard style engines.

Also a Peerless or two and Case but alas no Huber or other Return flue machines. Also a number of Stanley Steam cars with the distinctive coffin nose hoods.

I’m sure a number of enthusiasts were anxious to be a part of such a big celebration. There is an engine from New Zealand shown and at least one from Canada.

I’m surprised France is not mentioned, but steam is not big there. I’m anxious to see the next number or two of their magazine Steaming as I feel sure the show will be covered in considerable detail.


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