Rollag Minnesota WMSTR 2012 – Steam Shovels, Steam Tractor Plowing, & Spark Show

This is the final installment of posts about the WMSTR 2012 show, it has been fun getting all this information together to share with everyone.

The steam shovel area at this show is great, there are so many in one spot and they are all working at the same time.  This gives us a small glimpse of what it would have been like when the Erie and Panama canals were dug.  When walking amongst these machines, it kinda makes you feel like you are walking around living dinosaurs.  The noises they make, even when at rest make them sound like they are breathing, have heart beats, and you even get a roar every now and then.

Two of these shovels came from Kentucky, they were donated to the WMSTR when the upkeep became too great for the previous owner.  I am glad they were saved from the scrap heap that claimed so many of these machines over the last hundred years.

The next video is one I almost didn’t get to shoot, my phone battery died while shooting the videos of the big engines and the sawmill.  I shot this video with my wife’s phone, and though I hate to admit it, it turned out okay (even with the pink case causing funny looks).

I have loved steam tractors since growing up running an 18hp Advance Rumely that dad had.  I learned how to operate that engine at a young age, and operated it for a couple years by myself before the engine was sold.  The engine that backs in front of me while shooting the 110 Case plowing up the field is the same size engine dad had.

This show is the first one I remember attending where a 110 Case is operating.  They are all incredible pieces of machinery, but I had heard so much about those over the years I am glad I had a chance to see one in action.  It was not being used to its full potential but it still sounded nice while working hard.

There is also an Avery gas tractor in this video.  This is the style of tractor that really began to replace the steam tractors in the field.  They could be operated by one person quite efficiently, and did not require constant coal/wood/water refills.  I like the sound of the old gas tractors, I wish it hadn’t overpowered the sound of the steam engines in this video though.

The last video is also something I had heard of but never witnessed in person.  There are just a few shows that put on spark shows, this one is unique because they do it with steam shovels and steam tractors every night during the show (weather permitting).  They place a mixture of sawdust in the firebox on the engines and give them time to begin to burn.  A load was placed on the engine, which creates a very strong draft across the fire and up the stack.  This draft pulls the glowing pieces of sawdust through the flues and out the stack.

The Avery engine, due to higher pressures and engine speeds, managed to send a plume of sparks at least 40 feet straight up.  They looked amazing with the full moon as a backdrop.


Thanks for following along with our many posts about the 2012 WMSTR.  We all had fun there, and it is definately something you should go see for yourself if you can.  There are many things to do that we didn’t cover here (my love of engines gets in the way sometimes according to my girls).

This is the fifth and final post in this series:

Check out our first post – Kids Activities –HERE to get a general overview of the WMSTR show.

Check out our second post in this series – Big Engines – HERE

Check out our third post in this series – Steam Train Ride, Baker Fan, & Gas Engine Buildings – HERE

Check out our fourth post in this series – Steam Log Crane & Steam Sawmill Operation – HERE

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2 thoughts on “Rollag Minnesota WMSTR 2012 – Steam Shovels, Steam Tractor Plowing, & Spark Show

  1. Pingback: Rollag Minnesota WMSTR 2012 – Kids Activities | The Scholl Bus

  2. Pingback: Rollag Minnesota WMSTR 2012 – Steam Train Ride, Baker Fan, Gas Engine Buildings | The Scholl Bus

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