The Best Steam Engine was a machine ahead of its time. In 1906 Daniel Best’s steam traction engine design made mechanical improvements to farming equipment, which allowed for ease of operation and cost savings to owners. Best’s most significant improvement was the use of a piston-type or spool steam admission valve that alternated high-pressure steam in and exhaust steam out. By balancing the steam pressure, the steam engine tractor was able to move forward and backward more easily, depending on the orientation of the valve.
The Best steamer weighs 34,000 pounds and has wheels 8 feet in diameter in the front, and 5 feet in diameter in the back. The water tank holds up to 940 gallons of water and uses approximately 300 gallons of water per hour. The pressure inside the boiler is 160 pounds per square inch. The steam engine can be powered by different types of fuels such as wood, straw, coal and oil, with oil being the preferred fuel.
This monster machinery is not to be missed and will be on display at the museum for six months.
Join us as we place this piece, on temporary loan from Joe Heidrick, in the museum on October 13th at 11am as part of our Second Saturday Series. A discussion with Joe Heidrick, Tim Heidrick, Jess Gilbertson, and Ed Claessen will begin at noon. Come by and see this piece of agricultural history.