Bluffton Man Breathes Life into Steam

By Eric Olson

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 13, 2008 at 2:23 PM EST

THERE AREN’T MANY FOLKS AROUND NOW WHO REMEMBER WHEN THESE GIANTS THUNDERED ACROSS THE FARM FIELDS A HUNDRED YEARS AGO…IMMENSE STEAM DRIVEN TRACTORS THAT PLOWED FIELDS, THRESHED WHEAT, CUT TIMBER.

Dave: This is the machinery that built this country, all the buildings and the roads. Dick you need a wrench here?

DAVID PENCE DOESN’T REMEMBER WHEN STEAM POWERED THE FARM BUT HE KNOWS ALL ABOUT THE MACHINES THAT DID IT. DAVE HAS SPENT THE LAST TEN YEARS RESTORING THIS 1913 FRICK STEAM TRACTOR…

Dave: I’m within a few days of being able to build a fire..

THE TRACTOR WAS A WRECK WHEN DAVE GOT IT. HE TORE IT DOWN TO THE LAST NUT AND BOLT AND BEGAN REBUILDING IT. THIS ISN’T THE KIND OF MACHINE YOU MOSEY DOWN TO NAPA TO GET PARTS FOR…

Dave: This is a piece of bronze…

IF SOMETHINGS BROKEN YOU FIX IT OR MAKE A NEW ONE…YOURSELF.

FS LATHE

DAVE’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH STEAM BEGAN WHEN HE SAW HIS FIRST ENGINE AS A KID BACK IN THE ‘50’S, ON A FARM NEAR CROOKED LAKE..

Dave: And there was a steam engine in the barnyard and I was probably about five and that thing fascinated me and I never got over it. This was a casting that was broken and I fabricated this, ‘the steering? Yea. There’s several thousand dollars worth of work in the front axle. If I didn’t have that thing to work on why then I’d have to go find something to work on because that’s just what I like to do.

DAVE SAYS IT’S IMPORTANT TO KEEP THIS OLD TECHNOLOGY ALIVE, AND PASS THE KNOWLEDGE OF ITALONG TO THE NEXT GENERATION. NOT TO HOLD BACK PROGRESS…BUT TO REMEMBER WHAT IT TOOK TO BUILD THIS COUNTRY, AND TO HONOR THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO DID THE BUILDING. ERIC OLSON REPORTING OUT IN YOUR COUNTRY.




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