Kory Anderson Completes Restoration of Historic Steam Engine

On Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, Kory Anderson accomplished a dream.

The owner of Anderson Industries and AFS Corporate Member Dakota Foundry, Anderson and his team had spent a decade rebuilding a Case 150 steam engine. A road locomotive used to tow plows and heavy freighting, the Case 150 is a part of agricultural history that was believed to be lost to the ages. But ever since he was 10 years old, Anderson had yearned to rebuild the behemoth, and the project was completed last fall when he unveiled the engine at the James Valley Threshers Annual Threshing Show in Andover, South Dakota.

“It’s kind of like climbing Mt. Everest,” Anderson said. “It requires a lot of discipline and training.”

When he was 10, Anderson first met George W. Hedtke of Davis Junction, Illinois. Hedtke drove up to Anderson’s home in Andover in a flat-deck truck that carried a boiler to eventually be placed in a 150 HP Case Road Locomotive. Hedtke’s stories about the steam engine hooked Anderson, and it sparked an interest that carried him to where he is now.

In high school, Anderson restored a 65 HP Case engine, and he went on to study mechanical engineering at North Dakota State University. Then in 2006, Anderson founded Anderson Industries and began making foundry patterns for a nearby metalcaster. Around that time, Anderson visited Case’s archives in Racine, Wisconsin where the original blueprints for the engine were discovered. Converting them to a CAD format took two years, and happened while Anderson built his Anderson Industries. In 2014, Anderson bought Dakota Foundry, not just to continue crafting the steam engine but to advance his business.

And now, after countless challenges bested and new relationships formed, Anderson has built the steam engine. It required knowledge of casting, machining, welding, assembly, metallurgy… and 8,000 hours and somewhere around $1.5 million.

“In the 15-20 years before I started building the engine there was a lot of training to be able to understand and develop the skills to be able to do the project and have the knowledge and skillset to be able to do it,” Anderson said. “It required an incredible team of people who are skilled in many different trades.”

The finished product is impressive. It’s 15 ft. wide, 14 ft. tall and 28 ft. long, weighing 75,000 lbs. and develops 8,000 ft./lbs. of torque. Over 100 years later, it is heavier and more powerful than any tractor built today.  

“I’ve never climbed Everest and I don’t know what that feels like, but I would imagine the feeling is probably the same,” Anderson said. “The real thrill and the real excitement is in the climb and the work to overcome a challenge.”

It’s successful completion is also a testament to manufacturing, and metalcasting.

“It’s a tribute to the casting technology, one of the oldest forms of manufacturing and the advancements in technology have allowed us to bring a great piece of history back to life” Anderson said. 

Click here to see this story as it appears in the March 2019 issue of Modern Casting