In this section we feature agricultural steam traction engines that are still operational in the USA. Most of these can be seen in shows around the country as listed in the particular engine information. We have used information and pictures provided by the owners and have assumed that information to be correct.
One thing you will notice is a wide variation in horsepower ratings. Formulas for rating changed over time and some manufacturers were more conservative than others in ratings.Case changed their rating system in 1910 and a 9 horsepower became a 30 and a 12 horsepower became a 35 and so on up the line. Most engines around today date from around 1900 to 1924. Case built their first traction engine in 1878 and their last one in 1924. By the mid 20s the gasoline tractor had spelled the end for steam traction engine production. The early engines were not as finely developed as the post 1900 models. They were often replaced by newer models and few survive today. Many of the engines built in the 1905 to 1924 period were used until the mid to late 40s.
If you have an engine you'd like to include on our site, please send us more information.
Steam engines in farming, and how steam engines work
Tom DeBacker, Bob Condon, Jere DeBacker -- Boulder, CO
Originally used as a sawmill engine in the Texas Creek, CO area, this engine has been in the DeBacker family since 1967. Restored by Bob, Tom, Jere, and other family members and friends, this engine can be seen at our fall pumpkin patch in Boulder, and is usually running on weekends in October.
descendants of Jerome DeBacker -- Boulder, CO
This "Contractors Special" Avery steam traction engine was built in 1907. This engine was used around Mead, Co. until 1915 when it was purchased by Jerome DeBacker for use in threshing and plowing in the Boulder area.
Stuart Anderson family -- Boulder, CO
This engine spent its working life in Adair County, Iowa, and was purchased new in 1917 by Bruce Main of Fontanelle, Iowa. Dale & Clair Boyd sold it to Stuart Anderson of Boulder, CO. in January of 1990