Reeves 40-140 Cross Compound

The 1912 Reeves 40-140 cross compound steam traction engine was donated to the Mitchell County Historical Society by Ed, Evelyn and Ray Smolik of Osage, IA. The Smolik Brothers formerly housed this rare engine at Antique Acres near Cedar Falls, IA until moving it to the "Smolik Exhibit" building at Cedar Valley Memories in 1992. This engine, #6867, is the only survivor of the 1912 Reeves 40-140 known to be in operation.

Marshall Truman Reeves founded Reeves & Co. in 1874 in Columbus, IN. Incorporated in 1888, the company started building steam engines in 1895. Reeves & Co. built some of the largest steam traction engines in North America. The huge engines were often called "road locomotives" to set them apart from railway locomotives. With a cab height of two stories, the massive Reeves 40-140 allowed the engineer (driver) to see over the cross compound engine. Weighing in at about 26 ton, the #6867 Reeves 40-140 was the largest manufactured by Reeves and is equipped with power steering.

Reeves & Co. was sold to Emerson-Brantingham Co. of Rockford, IL in August 1912. Steam engines were phased out gradually by the internal combustion tractors that were lighter, faster and became more economical after WW I.

In 1955, the Smolik Brothers, were on one of their well-known trips for the next unique piece for their collection of agricultural equipment. They were particularly searching for large steam traction engines when a man in Conrad MT said they had a 40 hp Reeves. The Smoliks were doubtful but they followed the man back to his farm. Ed spied the engine come into view down the rough road. It was a big 40 hp Reeves, there at Pugsley Crossing on the Marias River, downstream from Tiber Dam. This Reeves had been used to power an irrigation system but was no longer operable. Ed made an offer to buy the engine but it was less than the Pugsleys thought the Reeves was worth. Ed left them with a check and a month later they had cashed the check. The Smoliks owned the Reeves, arranged to have it moved to Iowa and begin the search for parts. They rescued this unique piece of equipment and restored the engine back to its full glory. The powerful Reeves can be seen in action, plowing with the John Deere 14-bottom lever lift plow during the Annual Cedar Valley Memories Power Show.

We are thankful to the Smoliks for their many gifts and for the wisdom and courage of the Mitchell County Historical Society to accept them. Many others have generously added to this collection, given monetary donations and volunteered countless hours to make Cedar Valley Memories a place for all to take a step back in time.

The 1912 Reeves 40-140 Cross Compound engine was featured as the 3rd, in a series of 8, limited special event postal cancelation at the 7th Annual Cedar Valley Memories Power Show in 2002.

Cancelation drawing by Lori Mark