Bringing a Portable Otto back to Nebraska

Chris Epping

Subscriber
Several years ago my Sister was going through family photo albums from her Husband’s Grandparent’s attic. There were many photos from their family’s farm near Broken Bow, Nebraska dating back to 1905. Two of the photos immediately caught my attention big time! They were of a factory portable Otto that was used for various tasks on their farm over 100 years ago. The Otto company had a strong following here in the state, but this is the only portable that I have seen evidence of in our area. I’ve always admired the unique cart, cooling system, and other first class features of these engines, but now I felt like we had a more personal connection with this elusive machine. So it was easy to not turn down a recent offer to bring one back to Nebraska. It is a first class machine and one of three known to survive. It was originally found in New York and is in remarkable condition. It will take a good cleanup and a few repairs, but will be a worthy project. We are pleased to have it in the collection. First the pictures from the farm and the original catalog.
 

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Mike O

Sponsor
Looks nice Chris and Rod Congratulations on your new addition to your collection But whats the deal with the Abenaque ? Not even worth mentioning ??? :shrug:
 

LCJudge

Subscriber
Wow, looks so much better just sitting in that nice clean shop! That will be a really neat engine with one of the restorations you do on them Chris. The photos you found are fantastic and having a family connection to such a rare hunk of iron tops it all off.
 

Kevin O. Pulver

Email NOT Working
Chris, for some reason I think that's one of the neatest engines I've seen you post. I'm not sure why, I think it must be the Broken Bow Farm Story.
I think I met your sister once out at your place.
I don't suppose there's any way your brother-in-law still has that Barn standing on his place is there?
It would be neat to get a updated photo in that same location. thanks for sharing it.
if there's any details you can share as to how you acquired it, I would be interested to hear them.
You know I had them postcard of my grandfather on the old Harley Davidson motorcycle, but I missed the finding the building in front of which it was taken on Central Avenue in Kearney by only 4 months.
 

Chris Epping

Subscriber
Wow, looks so much better just sitting in that nice clean shop! That will be a really neat engine with one of the restorations you do on them Chris. The photos you found are fantastic and having a family connection to such a rare hunk of iron tops it all off.
Thanks Tommy, appreciate the opportunity to have it.

---------- Post added at 10:09:56 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:07:32 PM ----------

Chris, for some reason I think that's one of the neatest engines I've seen you post. I'm not sure why, I think it must be the Broken Bow Farm Story.
I think I met your sister once out at your place.
I don't suppose there's any way your brother-in-law still has that Barn standing on his place is there?
It would be neat to get a updated photo in that same location. thanks for sharing it.
if there's any details you can share as to how you acquired it, I would be interested to hear them.
You know I had them postcard of my grandfather on the old Harley Davidson motorcycle, but I missed the finding the building in front of which it was taken on Central Avenue in Kearney by only 4 months.
Kevin, no sadly the barn is no longer there. The really sad/scary thing is around the time my sister married into the family, they hauled off about 20 semi loads of iron off that place. It was all really old stuff too. I dread to think if the cart or other parts could have been in the pile. A big cart like that would have been the type of thing that would have gotten saved even if they junked the engine. I hate to think about that now!
 

LCJudge

Subscriber
Chris,
I think about the times I've lived through and the opportunities I've had to save things but just passed them by. You mention the piles of iron.....so many farms had them and we watched them being scooped up and hauled away. A lot of good parts for both engines and tractors as well as complete items were loaded into the hoppers and most shipped to China. I remember the days when an engine that was missing a few parts was considered undesirable and left in the heap. Now we'll grab it if its just the cylinder and base (or even less) and try to build from there.
 

Kevin O. Pulver

Email NOT Working
Judge, first engine I bought other than a Maytag was an lb International in early the mid-1980s for about $20 from a local collector who had it in the back of his pickup when he came into the gas station where I worked.
it was missing a pushrod and I wondered where I would ever find such a thing. An old local mechanic grabbed the other push rod and went across the street to the shop and whittled me out a new one on the lathe. I was amazed! I found out later he was living history. He had helped modify the Enola Gay for its bomb run on Japan. Many years later when I find my 12 horse Champion Hercules log splitter engine I built a cylinder head, push rod, and the fuel mixer for it. I was wishing Sammy Roeder could have seen me then.
The little lb International got sold at the George Archer auction in Iowa. If anyone has a little lb that one push rod is a little larger diameter and cut down on the ends, this might be a little history for it. I would love to sit down and hear your stories of the hunt!
 
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