This steam engine is being used to pull a trailer full of children across a field. The ride looks slow and sooty. Valued more for power than for speed or agility, steam engines were once a common sight in the Morrison County landscape. Steam engines provided the energy needed to power a variety of machinery, including sawmills, water pumps and threshing machines. Threshing outfits, which typically included a huge threshing machine and steam engine, moved from farm to farm during harvest time as neighbors helped each other gather grain. The Pierz area, where this photograph was taken, probably needed several threshing outfits due to its rich productive soil. Steam engines create steam by burning wood to heat up water contained in a long tank. The steam created from the hot water turns a large wheel to which a long strap is attached. The other end of the strap is connected to another machine, thus providing it with power. The length of the strap was to help lower the risk of fire as steam engines got very, very hot.
We are hoping to identify the people in this photograph. If you are able to help, let us know (320-632-4007).