MacLeod’s Stationary Gas Engine (c1922)

macleod's stationary engine
macleod's stationary engine

The MacLeod’s hardware store was a staple in most Manitoba towns, until the company went bankrupt in 1992. Cotter & Company then acquired it and changed its name to TruServ in 1999. RONA purchased TruServ in 2010 and changed the name to Ace Hardware in 2015. Lowes Canada purchased RONA in 2015. Through the corporate changes, a little engine named Macleod sat in the Winnipeg distribution centre office of what had become Ace Hardware.

This engine was originally sold by the MacLeod’s store in Grunthal, Manitoba in about 1922, to a Mr. C. Falk. Fifty years later, Mr. Falk made the MacLeod’s Company an interesting proposal:

“I have a 5 hp stationary MacLeod’s engine. It’s about 50 years old and still in running order as I always use it for cutting wood. I could have sold it for a fair price. If you would like to have the engine for a souvenir I would trade, you for the same hp new air-cooled engine.”

The company took the offer, traded a five-horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine to Mr. Falk, had the engine restored and put it on display in their main office in Winnipeg. There it sat for 45 years, looking as shiny and fresh as when it was new.

In 2017 Ace Hardware closed the Winnipeg distribution Centre. Management, wanting to see it preserved, contacted the Manitoba Agricultural Museum to inquire on making a donation, the only request being that the MacLeod’s plaque is never removed from the engine. Plans to display the engine are being made. To see the engine as it appears today, be sure to drop by Museum and visit its current home, our Gas Engine Shed.

Case 25-75 “McMurachy” (1907)

Case 25-75 at Comfort Inn
Case 25-75 at Comfort Inn
Case 25-75 at Comfort Inn

In the summer of 2012, the Comfort Inn Brandon invited the Manitoba Agricultural Museum to display an artifact on the lawn of the hotel. As a Museum artifact on display would give the Museum great public exposure, the Museum agreed to this invitation and moved a non operational steam engine to a display pad on the lawn and installed signage.

Jigcase threshing machine co

The steam engine went on display in Brandon is a J. I. Case 25-75 steam engine built in 1907. 25-75 refers to the horsepower as this engine developed 25 horsepower at the drawbar and 75 horsepower on the belt. This engine was capable of both plowing and driving belt powered machinery such as a threshing machine. From the gear train wear on the engine, it has seen hard work plowing and probably broke many acres of Manitoba Prairie.

The engine was donated to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum in the early 1960s by Joseph McMurachy of McConnell, Manitoba. The McMurachy family was a Pioneer family in the McConnell area and owned the engine since new.  In the late 1970s age finally caught up with this veteran, the engine’s boiler failed inspection and the engine was retired by the Museum.

Case Guardian

The engine was moved out to the main gate to the Museum to act as a gate guardian. In 2012, when an opportunity arose to place a Museum artifact on display in Brandon, this engine was chosen to go on display as it has some historical significance in the Westman area.

Mr. Joseph McMurachy was the person who discovered and saved the genetic material that was developed into the rust resistant “Selkirk” wheat variety in common use in the 1950s. In 1930, while cutting a field of wheat severely affected by rust disease, Mr. McMurachy noticed three plump heads of wheat on the table of the grain binder. These heads were unaffected by rust.  He saved the three heads as they were unaffected by rust and replanted the seeds in order to multiply the wheat. In 1935, Mr. McMurachy supplied some of these seeds to the Federal Department of Agriculture, the Brandon Experimental Farm and the Winnipeg Cereal Breeding Laboratory. By crossing this wheat with other wheat varieties, the rust resistant Selkirk variety of wheat evolved. Selkirk was in wide usage from 1953 through the 1960s.

Case 50HP (1914-1915)

18-50 jones

Year: 1914 or 1915
Model: 50hp
Manufacturer: Case
Serial # 33192
Boiler Serial #
Donated By: In Memory of Albert Bernie in Spring of 68

  • Common operators today: Garrett Bodie
    Glenn Bodie
  • This is a 18-50 Case engine, manufactured on Nov 15th, 1915 in Racine Wisconsin by JI Case company
  • Donated to the Museum in memory of Albert Bernie of Angusville who used to run the 110 Case. Albert Bernie passed away in 1964 in a hunting accident
  • This engine was dedicated in memory of Mr. Fred Jones, a long time steam operator, who passed on in 2005
case cooking

A couple of special features:

  • Brand new, this engine would have cost $1600-1755
  • The engine has a top speed of 2.3 mph
  • Used at the museum for the daily tug-o-war competition
  • Engineers liked to cook inside the firebox/smokebox during the day. Apparently cooking bacon and eggs on a shovel held into the firebox was somewhat common. A dutch oven could be used to cook stews and so on in it when the oven was placed in the smoke box. The lid on the dutch oven would keep cinders and smoke from contaminating the food.
  • The engine underwent a mechanical and extensive cosmetic restoration in the winter of 2018-2019, with new bunkers and a new drawbar as well as a new paint.
case cooking

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 of time.

18-50 jones plowing

J.I. Case still exists today as CaseIH which is part of the CNH Global N.V.

Case 25-75 “Howson” (1913)

Howson
Howson
Howson

Howson 25-75 J.I. Case Steam Engine
Year: 1913
Model: 25-75
Manufacturer: J I Case
Serial # 29676
Boiler Serial #
Donated By: Robet Howson of McCreary MB

  • It has a triple riveted lap seam boiler.
  • Harvey Mundock of Franklin is believed to have been the earliest owner of the machine, he used it mainly for threshing about 1933 Art Curtis of Osprey bought the machine which he used for six or so years solely to power his custom threshing outfit. Art gave the machine good care and was an excellent operator. He was proud of the machine for its “Alberta” boiler which was felt to be a higher quality boiler and well riveted.
  • About 1940 George Battershell, who had threshed with Art Curtis and knew the machine, became the owner, George lived in the Salisbury district and did some stump pulling and building moving with it.
  • In October 1945 Robert Howson of McCreary purchased the Steam engine. It was driven from the Salisbury district to Neepawa by Robert Brown, loaded on a rail flatcar and transported to McCreary. Robert Howson used it for approximately 3 seasons to pull stumps
  • In about 1951 Zanuks of Elkhorn Ranch area moved the engine to that area to power their sawmill. They used it for 2 years
  • It was repossessed at the end of that time.
  • Robert Howson drove the machine through the Rolling River district, down highway #19 and back to his farm.
  • In 1967 Mr. Howson donated it to the museum.
  • Research and history by Mildred (Howson) Allan
  • Currently taken care of on behalf of the MAM by the Beamish Family: Robert, Thomas and Andrew.

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 in a variety of sizes 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.

Emerson-Brantingham “Reeves 25HP” Steam Traction Engine (1917)

Reeves 2010 Parade
Reeves 2010 Parade

Common Engineers at the Museum: Lee Godin, Bruce Eberling, Travis Kennedy.

Reeves & Co. of Columbus, Indiana was established in 1874, and began building steam engines in 1895. They built some of the largest steam traction engines in North America, with the biggest being a huge 40-140 horsepower machine. Reeves used twin-cylinder engines on its traction engines, of both the cross-compound and double-simple type. Reeves Canadian Special engines were built for sale on the Canadian Prairies, having both the boiler and steam dome fully jacketed to better cope with cold weather. The company was purchased by Emerson-Brantingham in 1912, but the Reeves Works continued in operation and the Reeves name was retained on the traction engines until production ceased in 1925.

reeves

The Manitoba Agricultural Museum’s engine is a 25HP model, and is one of the largest Reeves traction engines still in existence. It produces a rated 25 boiler horsepower and 75 brake (belt) horsepower. It has a cross-compound double cylinder engine, wet-bottom boiler, and uses a pin for the clutch. Bearing serial number 7173, it was built in 1917, turning a century old this year. It was donated to the Museum in 1956 by the Parrott Brothers of Grandview, MB.  As with most engines of this age, it no longer has the insulated jacketing on the boiler and dome due to corrosion of the thin sheet metal covering the wooden lagging. During the Manitoba Threshermen’s Reunion & Stampede it can be seen at the Souris Mill where it provides the steam necessary to operate the Mill engine.

It is thought to be the only operational 25HP cross-compound Canadian Special Reeves in the world.

Gaar Scott 25-75 Twin (1910)

Gaarscott parade
Gaarscott parade

Gaar Scott 25-75 Twin

Year: 1910
Model: 25-75 twin cylinder
Manufacturer: Gaar Scott & Co
Serial # 5493
Boiler Serial #
Donated By: the Jones family of Tilston, MB
Common Engineers today: Mike Hawkins, Lynn Tuttle, Jim Kingdon.

Interesting Facts:

  • built in Richmond, Indiana.
  • This engine spent a lot of time plowing…when it arrived, the gears were so worn out the operators used to back the engine up all the way from the sawmill to the engine shed!
  • Lots of great stories of Don Milne getting up early to bring the engine down from the shed to the sawmill. He did this early so that he could sneak the engine down in reverse.
  • After coming to the Museum, the Gaar Scott spent a lot of time on the sawmill, which is where you will find it through out the days of the Threshermen’s Reunion.
  • Was one of the original 4 steam engines that were on the grounds when the Manitoba Agricultural Museum was incorporated.
gaarscott

Gaar-Scott and Company was formed when a gentleman by the name of Scott became a partner in the A. Gaar Company which had previously purchased the Spring Foundry of Richmond, Indiana. The company built a line of steam engines, threshing machines and saw mills. The company used as a trademark an image of a tiger astride two hemispheres and engine line became known as the “Tiger Line” as a consequence. Gaar-Scott built simple and compound  steam engines in sizes from 10 to 40 horsepower.

Gaar-Scott along with the Advance Thresher Company, Northwest Thresher Company and the American Able Company of Toronto was purchased by the M. Rumely Company in 1912. Rumely then reorganized itself as the Advance Rumely Company. Rumely rationalized its product line and Gaar-Scott faded into history. Advance Rumely fell on hard times during the 1930s and was purchased by the Allis-Chalmers company in 1931.

Case 110 (1911)

case 110
case 110

The 1911 Case 32-110 HP is the largest steam traction engine at the Manitoba Agricultural Museum. In the Case steam traction engine family, it is second in size only to the 150 HP. Its rear wheels are 7 feet in diameter and 3 feet wide. The 110HP engine weighs 20 tons. The front wheels have a 4.5 foot diameter and are 16 inches wide. Normal speed for the Case 110 is 2.37 miles per hour. This engine has a 12 x 12 inch simple cylinder. Special features include a locomotive cab and a friction steering mechanism that is driven from the crank shaft, allowing the front wheels to turn when the rear wheels are stationary. This makes it easy to turn sharp corners. The Case 32-110 was the first steam engine to have power steering. This steam engine was designed for heavy plowing, threshing, freighting – for all kinds of work necessitating a large amount of horsepower.

The Manitoba Agricultural Museum purchased the 1911 Case 32-110 from the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon in 1964. See this engine at work during the Threshermen’s Reunion.

Case Portable Steam Engine “Old 44” (1869)

portable
portable

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.

L. D. Sawyer Portable Steam Engine

L D Sawyer Portable Steam Engine
L D Sawyer Portable Steam Engine

This portable steam engine was produced by the L. D. Sawyer Company of Hamilton, Ontario. The L. D. Sawyer Company was an early Canadian manufacturer of farm machinery such as threshing machines, tread mills, horsepowers and grain drills. As well, L. D. Sawyer sold farm machinery from US manufacturers such as the Pitts threshing machine, the Rochester cutting box, the Ohio reaper, Woods mower and Birdsell clover huller.

In the 1880s L. D. Sawyer began producing a simple portable steam engine for use in powering threshing machines and other equipment. An LDS produced 13 horsepower on the belt.  L. D. Sawyer portable engines were quite successful and built in relatively large numbers for a steam engine. With improvements, it remained in the sales catalogue until almost the end of the company’s production of steam engines which occurred in the early 1920s.

This engine came from the MacMurachy family of McConnell, Manitoba. This family purchased the engine in 1886 and used it for many years to power a threshing machine. It was also used to power feed grinders, buzz saws and any other machinery needing belt power. Joe MacMurachy donated the engine in the late 1950s to the Museum.

Joe MacMurachy related that during World War 2, he drove off two scrap men who had driven on to his property and were preparing to scrap this little engine without his permission. After making enquiry as to what they were doing and was informed they were there to scrap his engine, he informed the two men of what he thought of them and then picked up an axe laying nearby. At this, the two scrap men fled.

Joe MacMurachy is known as the person who found what became the “Selkirk” variety of wheat. While cutting a crop of wheat in 1930 that was suffering severely from rust, a disease, he stopped for lunch. While eating his lunch he noticed three plump heads of wheat on the table of the binder. As they were not noticeably affected by rust he saved them and planted them year after year until he had enough seed for a small field. In 1935 while a rust outbreak devastated the wheat crop in the area, his small field showed no effects. He supplied seed from this field to the wheat researchers with the Federal Department of Agriculture who used it to develop the “Selkirk’ variety of wheat which was widely sown on the prairies in the 1950s.

Peterson’s Traction Straw-Burning Engine

Peterson Straw-Burning engine
Peterson Straw-Burning engine

N. C. Peterson and Sons were a manufacturer of steam engines located in Sarnia, Ontario. N.C. Peterson began his working life as a blacksmith in Smiths Falls, Ontario and relocated to Sarnia in 1857. Mr. Peterson added a foundry to his blacksmith shop then a machine shop and boiler shop. His two sons joined him in the business which then became known as N. C. Peterson and Sons. By 1884, they were producing portable steam engines. Traction engines soon followed. N. C. Peterson and Sons produced both wood burning steam engines and straw burning steam engines.

The straw burning steam engines used a return flue type boiler where the hot combustion gases from the burning fuel follow a U-shaped path through the boiler. The combustion gases first flow through a large tube to the front of the boiler and then flow back, or return, through small flues to the rear of the boiler where they then escape upwards through the smoke stack. The large tube and smaller flues are both surrounded by water which absorbs heat from the gases so turning the water to steam.

Peterson

Straw was a very popular fuel for steam engines when they were used to power threshing machines. Straw was readily available from threshing and cost the farmer nothing. Using straw to fuel a plowing engine was not feasible.

This engine is little more than a portable steam engine fitted with traction and steering gear so it can move on its own power. Note that there is no drawbar so it could not even pull a threshing machine from one location to another. Horses would have to do this while the engine moved on its own power.

In 1901, N. C. Peterson decided to retire and the sons decided to locate westward as steam engine sales were booming in Western Canada with the opening of the Prairies. The Sarnia shop was closed down with the equipment being shipped to Winnipeg along with 8 unsold steam engines. The sons established the Peterson Foundry and Machine Works in Winnipeg where they soon were given all the foundry business they could handle as the city was rapidly expanding. When they were able to consider building steam engines again, it was apparent that the day of the steam engine was rapidly ending so no Peterson engines were ever built in Winnipeg.

The Peterson engine in the Manitoba Agricultural Museum collection was one of the eight shipped west in 1901. It remained in its shipping crate in the Peterson Foundry until it came to the Museum in 1965.