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150 HP CASE PROJECT
by Kory Anderson

Grown men could stand under the boiler of the original 150 HP engine,
shown in this illustration from the original Case catalog

The 150 Horse Power CASE steam engine is somewhat like the story of the Titanic. It was built as the largest steam traction engine of its time, but all we have left are the stories and a few pictures. Ever since I was a little boy listening to the stories George Hedtke would tell about this great engine I was fascinated by it.

I was at an auction with my dad when I was 4 years old where he purchased a 65 HP Case steam engine. After rebuilding this engine at the age of 19, I decided to undertake the seemingly impossible task of building a 150 HP CASE.

The project started with a trip out to Racine, Wisconsin in 2006 to the CASE plant where I met Rich Tworek, who gave me a tour of the archives where all the old drawings were stored. I paged through the thousands of old steam engine and shop equipment prints and was able to make copies of whatever I needed to start the project.

Immediately when I got back home with my drawings I started to recreate them into 3D CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) where I could generate a complete 3D Model of this great machine and also run FEA (Finite Element Analysis) to test areas of high stress to determine what type of material would be the best to use.


Kory and Scott Beamish with the 150 flywheel pattern

In 2008, I began making the wooden patterns out of mahogany that were needed to make all the castings for the engine. I started with the pattern for the Cylinder Head and when I had finished that pattern it was the first visualization of what this engine size would actually be, which is HUGE. Over the last 5 years I have continued to make patterns and currently have about a third of the over one hundred patterns done that will be needed to make this engine.

Patterns built by Kory
The casting process

We had Jonas Stutzman from Middlefield, Ohio build a brand new boiler for the engine in 2011 which we have now in Andover, SD. In December, 2013 we poured the first casting for the engine part number 1400C, the Engine Cylinder casting. The original 150 Case development started in 1904 and the first drawing was the engine cylinder casting 1400C, then all the parts were designed from the cylinder out to the wheels.

Right side of the engine showing the steam steering device
I imagine that all the men who created this engine for the first time in 1905 would never believe that over 100 years later we are building this exact machine again. Too bad we don't have a few of them around to learn from the mistakes they may have already made. The advantage we have today is over 100 years in technology advancements in Machining, Fabricating, and in Metallurgy to use higher quality iron where needed.

This project will be an investment of $1 million to recreate a historical giant, and visitors to the show can view the progress of this project as we host the CASE expo at the James Valley Threshing show in 2016.


Billed as "the World's Largest Traction Engine", the first 150 horsepower Case engine was developed and built in 1904 by J.i. Case Threshing Machine Company in Racine, Wisconsin. Less than a handful of these engines were produced and none survive today. But if things go as planned, the Anderson family will have a brand new one in operation within the next few years.

One original boiler is the only piece of any of the original engines still in existence today. It was tracked down and found, and now resides in Andover. Although the flues, thru stays and flue sheets had been removed long ago, it served as the pattern to build a brand new boiler, which is waiting for assembly. All the other parts will have to be cast or fabricated from scratch

Kevin Anderson with the new 150 HP boiler built by JS Boiler Works,
standing in front of the original boiler.

According to Anderson, "We are presently finishing the engineering of the 150 into 3D CAD (Computer Aided Drafting), then as the patterns are completed castings will be poured and we will start making parts.

We have had a lot of people question the possibility of the resurrection of the 150. it would not be possible without the engineering programs now available. When we have all the prints converted into 3D CAD models, we can validate the design to ensure there are no interferences as well as run finite element analysis to test the stresses and potential fatigue points in the design. If there are any issues we will be able to see it in the CAD model and address it before any parts are made. There may be even some mistakes on the Case factory prints themselves. Remember, the 150 was designed over 100 years ago and was built as just a prototype.

This project will be one of the biggest recreations ever and we are very, very excited to make it happen."

The 150 Case Steam Engine parts are coming together.
Kory Anderson with the flywheel which was cast at the foundry early in June. It is 16" wide and weighs about 1400 pounds.

Specifications for the old Case 150 HP, from the Case archive documents:

BOILER - Shell 42 inches in diameter.
TUBES - Ninety-three 2 inch tubes, 108 1/2 inches long, of cold drawn, seamless steel tubing
FIRE BOX - 58 1/4 inches long, 39 1/4 inches wide, and 45 inches high, made of the best open-hearth flange steel.
HEATING SURFACE of boiler, 515 square feet. Grate area of boiler is 15.8 square feet.
BOILER PRESSURE - The boiler tested at 350 pounds hydrostatic pressure, and can carry 160 pounds as a working pressure.
WATER TANK - The capacity of the tank is about 500 gallons
WATER FEED - An Ejector will fill the water tank in eight minures from any stream or other accessible water supply
FUEL CAPACITY - The coal capacity is about 2750 pounds.
ENGINE CYLINDER - 14 inches diameter by 14 inch stroke.
HORSE POWER - The engine easily develops 150 brake horse power running at its normal speed of 300 revolutions per minute.
TRACTION POWER - The engine has been built for heavy hauling purposes and is capable of drawing 40 to 50 tons up grades from 5 to 10 percent. The engine itself, not loaded, will go up a 40 percent grade

Descriptions from the Case archive files:

"The rear wheels were eight feet in diameter and 30 inches across. The length of the Road Locomotive was 25 feet and three inches, and the width was 10 feet.

The engine has been designed for use in localities without steam railway facilities or where the tonnage of freight is insufficient to justify the building of a railroad. In hauling heavy loads or plowing on a very large scale it can be used at a saving of at least 50 percent over ox, mule or horse teams.

The water and fuel capacity is sufficient for hauls of eight to ten miles."

The boiler was the standard locomotive type, with large fire-box and ample heating area. Being mounted on springs and hung in front of the rear axle, it could travel the roughest roads without injury. This was an essential feature of the Road Locomotive.

Very little cast iron was used in building this engine in the 1900's. The driving gears were cast from a special steel mixture, had extra wide face and heavy cogs to insure the requisite durability, without which a freighting engine could not be made a paying investment.

Special attention was directed to the strong construction of the drive wheels. They were built to stand rough usage. The wide tires with the diagonal lugs afforded a grip that insured strong traction power, another necessity for a road locomotive.

Case Road Locomotive 1906

James Valley Threshers is extremely proud of Kory and his awesome 150 HP Case project. It is the most significant project in the history of Case engines, and has created immense interest and excitement in the community of Case enthusiasts.

The James Valley Threshing Show is the perfect opportunity for everyone interested in this amazing feat to meet Kory and learn about it first hand. It is an opportunity not to be missed! We hope to see you all at the Show in September.

Progress is being made as shown in Kory's video - Pouring the 150 Case cylinder

The Legendary 150 HP Case Steam Engine, an article written by George Hedtke, was published in the Farm Collector magazine for March/April 1987. Don't miss this exerpt from the fascinating original article.

Continue to the 80 HP Case Restoration Project

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