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1914 Case Steam Tractor
My 1914 Case steam tractor is built exactly to 1/4 scale, identical in every detail to the original model. I used certified drawings of the original tractor to build the 5-ft. long, 30-in. high tractor over a 2 1/2-year period. It has a steam-powered boiler that operates at 100 lbs. of pressure and water tanks on back that supply water to the boiler.
I've taken it to antique tractor or thresher shows all over North America. It draws a lot of attention.
There was more to building it than meets the eye. We based it on a kit that cost $6,500, but we had to add on or substitute for a lot of parts in the kit because they weren't built the way they should be or the quality of material was sub-par. We didn't use the kit's boiler because we felt it couldn't be certified. We had to do a lot of cutting, welding, drilling, and rolling of steel to make the wheels. The gearings weren't cut out so we had to mill out blanks for them. There's a lot of cast steel in the tractor, which weighs 650 lbs.
The original tractor had about 65 hp and was called a 'plow engine' because it was equipped with extension wheel rims, a canopy that allowed field work in all kinds of weather, and a duplex water pump. The 4-in. wide extension wheel rims bolted onto the rear wheels and provided more surface area for improved traction in soft ground. The standard engine was equipped with an injector that added water to the boiler. However, it also robbed steam pressure which could cause the engine to slow down or even stop.
The company came out with the duplex pump in 1914 for improved reliability. It gave the operator the option of using either the injector or the pump. The pump is gear-driven off the output shaft that goes to the wheels and is controlled by a valve. As the operator was plowing he could look through a sight glass and use the valve to add the amount of water needed.The boiler plate is riveted together just like the original one.
When the tractor was built, welding was in its infancy so the boiler was riveted together. We made a curved steel plate and tach welded it to the side of the boiler, then added the rivets.The tractor's pulley can produce about 3 hp. At shows I sometimes use the pulley to belt-drive a 191412-volt DC generator or a water pump.
The generator mounts on a stand in front of the tractor and powers a string of vintage lights mounted on a stringer between two poles. The lights prove that the generator is producing power. I also built a replica of a horse-drawn water wagon used in the old days to replenish the tractor's water tanks. It can hold two adults with no problem. The wagon was often pulled behind the tractor as it went from farm to farm. (Wally Biernacki, 856 Marinet Crescent, Pickering, Ontario, Canada L 1 W 2M1 ph 905 839-4510)


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1994 - Volume #18, Issue #6