CAse 12-Horsepower Sweep

Several years ago, we received a call from Jem Blueher from Anvil Wagon Works in Livingston, Montana and he asked if we’d be interested in a early 1900 Case 12 Horsepower. I said we’re always looking for old equipment. I asked if it was a traction or stationary engine, and he said, no…’s literally 12-Horsepower. Ok, you have my attention.


If you bought a Thresher or Sawmill from Case and you didn’t want to buy a steam engine to power it, but you had draft horses on the ranch, they offered their Portable Horse Power, or “Sweep”. Patented on August 15, 1905 (797,101) it used six teams of draft horses to rotate a large gear with smaller pinyon gears that drove a shaft that could be used to power a Thresher or sawmill or anything else. Case offer a Thresher that was shaft driven and could get its power through the shaft from the Sweep. Many Threshers were belt driven and you’d need to convert the shaft to a pulley and belt system.


Jem had rebuilt the axles, but the tongues were missing. This was too unique to pass up. Several of our volunteers kicked in and we were able to obtain the Sweep for the museum.


It had sat outside for a while and all of the babbitt bearings were froze up, but the rest was in remarkable good shape for over 100 years old. What was so unique and tied its history to Montana, Jem had documentation that it was used on the Walters Ranch outside White Sulfur Springs. There was also pictures of it being used on the ranch running a sawmill. This was fantastic that we could tie its history to being used on a ranch in Montana.


From our research, there are only a handful of these 12 Horse Sweeps left. There are lots of smaller one-two horse versions, but not many 12-horse ones. We found one that had been restored in Illinois and they were gracious enough to give us pictures and measurements so we could rebuild the tongues.


Hunts Timbers cut and donated the timbers for the six tongues. With careful measuring, we were able to cut and fit each tongue into the pockets in the big bull gear. Each was cut and numbered to fit into the pockets. We cut and fit end caps and chains for the double trees of the 12 horses.


With the tongues complete, our next step is to design and build a clutch and pulley system to run a belt to run some of our equipment. That’s this summer’s project.


Attached are some pictures of ours and the one in Illinois.