A new steam engine made an appearance at the Dacusville Farm Show this year. Fired up and powering a sawmill was this 30 hp J.I. Case portable.
The brass data plate attached to this engine doesn’t give you a lot of information, just the horsepower and the engine number.
The owner told me he believes it was built between 1915 and 1920. A register of Case engines posted at www.steel-wheels.net list engine number 23033 and number 23052 as being built in 1910 but does not include this engine’s number. A list of serial numbers posted at www.jicasecollector.com has 1910 production running from 22870 to 24277 . Based on those two sources I think 1910 is probably about right.
I haven’t found a 1910 Case catalog online but there is a 1916 catalog posted at https://archive.org . Portable engines were available in sizes ranging from 18 up to 80 horsepower. Judging by the catalog illustrations available, the design of the Case engine did not change very much from year to year.
All sizes except for the 18 and 30hp models were available with straw burning attachments and jacketed boilers for an extra $50. With this engine your choice of fuel was limited to wood or coal. If you were operating a sawmill like this one, that wasn’t an issue.
This photo gives a good look at the side mounted engine with the water heater below it. The Case catalog included testimonials from owners like: “ It’s an easy steamer.” and explained that the heater used exhaust steam from the engine to heat makeup water before it entered the boiler to increase efficiency.
Case portable engines were offered at prices ranging from $600 for an eighteen hp to $1300 for an eighty hp model..