This portable steam engine was built by the J.I. Case Company in 1869. There is only one Case steam engine in existence known to be older than this engine. The engine is known as” Old 44” as the number 44 is stamped into the engine bed.
The engine ran a grist / lumber mill at Minnedosa for a number of years. This was probably the J.S. Armitage operation established in 1880. Who owned the engine previous to 1880 is not known. Later in the engine’s career it was purchased by Mr. Hillstrand of Hilltop, Manitoba to power an edger, shingle mill and planer. Mr Hillstrand’s son, Clifford, donated “Old 44” to the Museum in 1961.
J.I. Case was a very early manufacturer of farm equipment. Jerome Case established a company to manufacture a small hand powered threshing machine in 1842. The company went on to become a leading manufacturer of threshing machines. By 1869, J.I. Case had begun the manufacture of steam engines. J.I. Case went on to manufacture over 30,000 steam engines with production of these machines by Case ending in 1927. J.I. Case manufactured a wide range of farm equipment such as threshing machines, binders, hay rakes, seed drills, plows, buggies, water tanks and so on. With the advent of internal combustion engines the company began to manufacture kerosene tractors and later gas tractors. J.I. Case even manufactured an automobile for a period.
J.I. Case still exists today as CaseIH which is part of the CNH Global N.V.