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Teen Certified To Work On Steam Engine Boilers
While many of the freshmen in Jake Elsner’s class dream about the cars they will drive in a couple of years, Elsner works on his plans to fix up and show the 1920 Minneapolis 20 hp steam engine that he and his father own.
  Now 14, the Manawa, Wis., young man was certified at 12 to operate steam engine boilers. That makes Elsner the youngest active member of the Union Threshermen’s Club with certification.
  He modestly shrugs off the achievement.
  “I’ve been going to the club’s Union Thresheree since I was born. My dad is treasurer of the club so I help him,” he says. His mother, Amy, is also an active member.
  Elsner appreciates the work and attention to detail required to operate steam engines.
  “The biggest thing is to watch how much water is in the boiler,” he says. “If you’re going downhill, for example, and there isn’t enough water you can crack a crown sheet.”
  Hanging out with older members, running the skidsteer to fill holes in the club’s parking lot, and doing odd jobs for the club has cemented strong friendships between Elsner and other steam engine enthusiasts. He’s worked long hours alongside them at many shows.
  Besides working with his dad on the Minneapolis they recently acquired from an aging club member, Elsner loves to hang out with his grandfather. His grandfather got him interested in collecting antique wrenches; so far Elsner has between 150 and 200 of them.
  “He’s also teaching me to weld and do iron art,” Elsner says, noting that he enjoys fixing things and working with big equipment and hopes to become a diesel mechanic.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jake Elsner, E6671 Little Creek Rd., Manawa, Wis. 54949 (ph 920 596-3787).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #1