roots of motive power


1924 Buffalo Springfield Steam Roller

This Coal fired steam roller is a perfect example of the dying steam engine markets of the late 20’s. The only reason an internal combustion motor is not fitted to this piece of mechanical beauty is that steam power, unlike internal combustion engines, produces almost full torque from start making jobs like road rolling much easier with steam power. It wasn’t until the 1930’s when internal combustion transmissions were advanced enough for road rolling applications that steam was dropped.

Spending most of its life in Des Moines, Iowa it was retired in the late 1930’s and somehow made it to California to be included in the Root’s of Motive Power collection in Willits. Here it is shown in fully restored condition at the Roots Steam Operation and Safety course, fired by wood instead of coal for the beginners that would be handling it.


(via Baldwin 1910 2-6-2 pushes 1918 Shay into work house)


(via 1916 Heisler two-truck steam locomotive comes in to take water)