roots of motive power

elements + modalities

Fire, representing action and creativity, fuels the signs of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.
Water, symbolizing emotions, underlies the signs of Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces.
Air, corresponding to intellect, is the dominating force for Libra, Aquarius, and Gemini.
Earth, which stands for substance and practicality, is the hallmark of Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo.

The cardinal modality marks the beginning of the season and the power of initiation.
The fixed modality corresponds to the middle of the season and the power of sustaining.
The mutable modality represents the end of the season and the power of change.

Aries: You are cardinal fire. Your root power stems from an ability to initiate (car- dinal) action (fire). Your success requires initiation, the pushing and furthering of your goals. You need to liberate (fire) yourself from any oppression so that you will be able to lead (cardinal) yourself and others.

Taurus: You are fixed earth. Your root power comes from stability (earth), patience, and sustaining (fixed) an effort for long periods of time. You need to con- nect to your five senses and ground yourself (earth and fixed) in matters that concern your talents, values, and finances.

Gemini: You are mutable air. Your root power manifests in the ability to adjust (mutable) the style of communication (air) to any fluctuating circumstance. As long as you improvise (mutable) and wield your intelligence (air), you will achieve your aspirations.

Cancer: You are cardinal water. Your root power derives from initiating (cardinal) emotional processes (water). You are a giver (cardinal) of life. To tap your potential, you need to give birth (cardinal) to situations that will allow you to nurture (water) people or projects.

Leo: You are fixed fire. Your root power comes from perseverance (fixed) in action (fire). You can become famous and respected in your circles if you main- tain a steady and focused (fixed) creative force (fire) with the ultimate goal of benevolence.

Virgo: You are mutable earth. Your root power emerges from your ability to edit, fix, and adjust (mutable) situations so that life around you becomes more efficient and effective (earth). This editorial work ultimately ought to be directed toward service to humankind.

Libra: You are cardinal air. Your power root lies in initiating (cardinal) commu- nication (air). This ability grants you mastery over relationships and justice, provided that you initiate (cardinal) conversations and work on your diplomacy (air).

Scorpio: You are fixed water. Your power root springs from the ability to remain (fixed) intensely emotional and intimate (water) in relationships. You can be success- ful if you allow yourself to expose and be exposed, to heal and be healed, and to dive as deep as you can into the fundamental (fixed) essence of the emotional (water) motives of others.

Sagittarius: You are mutable fire. Your root power emerges from your capacity to spread (mutable) philosophies, moral codes, and belief systems (fire), especially when you engage your innate sense of optimism. Your duty to humankind relates to teaching, learning, and adjusting (mutable) the negative attitudes and actions (fire) of others.

Capricorn: You are cardinal earth. Your root power comes from initiating (car- dinal) practical applications of talents, assets, and resources (earth). You embody the business plan of the zodiac wheel. Your success is assured when you set a definite goal (cardinal) and then practice patience and discipline (earth).

Aquarius: You are fixed air. Your root power stems from a stable and consistent (fixed) interplay with your community and friends (air). You are the pillar (fixed) of a large group of people (air). Your success lies in cultivating innovative, funny, and futuristic ideas (air).

Pisces: You are mutable water. Your root power derives from your capacity to improve life and generate change (mutable) via imagination, mysticism, and com- passion (water). Your can cultivate success with your sensitivity to the emotional (water) states of others. Dreams and fantasy (water) often serve as the tools by which you manifest your preferred life.


Roots of Motive Power’ Climax Locomotive. The third type of North American geared locomotives and the first to be posted here. From the Roots’ website:

Engine #4 was build for Holmes Eureka Lumber Company in 1922 by Climax Manufacturing of Corry, Pennsylvania and carries builder’s number 1621. The engine was sold to Pacific Lumber of Scotia, California in 1937, where it was retired in 1954. Bert and Ferne Rudolph of Willits acquired the engine in 1955 and brought it to Willits, where it was kept until acquired by The Roots of Motive Power in 1990. The engine has been restored and was operated by the Roots of Motive Power as recently as 1993 during our “School Days” demonstrations.

The locomotive is a two-truck geared engine with about 200 horsepower capable of 26,400 lbs traction at 200 pounds steam pressure. The unit is operated at about 50 pounds pressure today.

A long way from operational this locomotive has been moved into the shop for a complete overhaul to fix the aforementioned 50 lbs of working pressure it has been limited to. Hopefully they can restore this locomotive along with the Robert Dollar Shay


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


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.


The Dolbeer Steam Donkey is highly regarded as the first for purpose steam winch used in the pacific northwest when it was first patented in August of 1881. It’s design was purposefully made to handle the much larger Timber that is found in the Pacific Northwest, compared to the logging operations in the Eastern United States. It’s popularity was first noted when it could do the work of 20 oxen during it’s trial run, and could haul logs up to 20ft in Diameter. In the years that followed in the North West logging operations saw these logging donkeys grow to more than 4 or 5 spools.

This particular example can be found at the Mendocino County Museum in Willits, California. It is fully functional and has been carefully restored by the Roots of Motive Power.


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

Built in 1914 this is a much more refined version of the Heisler locomotive. Much like Roaring Camp Railroads #2 this locomotive also has a v-twin cylinder design that powers a centrally driven shaft and 8 coupled wheels. This locomotive however has a much more conventional boiler compared to the shorter wagon-top type on #2 and a much longer all weather cab.