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Steam Engine Tractor Makes Living Room Unique
Jim Briden can gaze at his prize 110 hp Case steam engine while watching TV. That's because the behemoth 20-ton machine is in his Sabin, Minn., living room. "We have the biggest TV stand in the world," Jim jokes.
  The strangest thing about his unusual household "furniture" is that it was actually his wife's idea.
  After Jim restored the 1913 80 hp Case in 1976 his wife, Lynette, said, "Wouldn't it be nice if we could have a room where we could look at our steam engine every day?"
  Years later, on Nov. 29, 2001, Jim took her up on the suggestion. By then he had restored an even bigger steam engine. With the help of a neighbor with a 4-WD Deere tractor, the 110 hp Case was pushed into a new addition on the Bridens' home.
  The 7-ft. dia. back wheels weigh 5,500 lbs. apiece and are supported by two 3 by 5-ft. support pillars under the 6-in. concrete floor. The 32 by 40-ft. addition has 13-ft. tall walls with a 16-ft. vaulted ceiling to accommodate the 12-ft., 6-in. tall Case.
  "It's the largest steam engine Case ever made," Jim says. "The tractor was designed to pull a 12-bottom plow and to power the largest threshing machines."
  Jim has been a fan of steam engines since he was 10 and worked with his dad on the family farm. He later bought a welding and machine business from a man who restored steam engines and has been working on new and old equipment ever since at his business, Larson Welding & Machine Co., in Fargo, N. Dak.
  "Right now, we have five steam engines to work on for others," Jim says. "But as far as I know, nobody else has a steam engine in their living room."
  Behind the steam engine there is enough space for a bookcase and pathway, and the rest of the living room is "normal", Jim says, with old tractor photos, a few collectibles, stained glass windows from Lynette's grandparents' home, and light fixtures from a church.
  With double, barn-style doors at one end of the room, the engine can be taken outside, Jim says. Eventually he'll probably do that to please a grandson who wants to see the steam engine run. Taking it out isn't as difficult as cleaning it up and moving it back in.
  For others considering "extreme" decorating, Jim offers a couple suggestions. "The main ingredient is that you have to have a very understanding wife. I tell people there are 25 steam engines like that one, but my wife is one of a kind." The Bridens welcome visitors. Call for an appointment.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup; Jim Briden, Larson Welding & Machine Co., 2610 First Ave., North Fargo, N. Dak. 58102 (ph 701 232-4484; kellyb@ideaone.net).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #1