Who is Steve.....and Why Miniature Steam?

Texas, USA - Manufacture date: 1955
Height = 6 ft.  
(includes base)
Width= "ample,  so don't ask"
Style: Impulsive, eccentric, laid back
I grew up the son of a hard working father who was, for many years, a supervisory machinist and mechanic with a company which serviced the textile industry, here in the southeastern United States. "King Cotton" was still the major employer  in our part of the world, and Greenville, South Carolina was its Mecca. Every 2 years THE major international textile machinery exhibition, worldwide, was held in the old "Textile Hall" building, here in town. Every textile machinery manufacturer around the world was there to display the latest in technology.... and spy on each other.

One of my fondest memories was the year when I was about 5 or 6, and my father took me along with him to see the show. I can recall the thunderous noise levels when, each hour, all the exhibitors would power up their machines for a  period of demonstrations. As a small lad, these huge towering, deafening machines were quite intimidating as they caused the whole building to rumble and shake. (it's a very BIG world when you are 6 years old.) My father must have noted the anxiety in my eyes, as I fought to maintain a brave face in front of the one person in the world I didn't want to see my fear. He lifted me up onto his shoulders and his noisy world didn't seem quite so large anymore. He must have carried me on his shoulders for miles that day as we wandered the floor.

We came upon his employer's exhibit and, low and behold, there sat a most amazing little machine. John D. Hollingsworth, on Wheels was the premier repair company for carding  machines (machines that comb out the cotton before it is turned into thread) and  many other textile machines. There on the table sat a tiny scale model of a loom, about 16 inches long and maybe 10 inches tall, weaving a tiny roll of  finely woven fabric. A loom is the machine in a textile mill which weaves thousands of individual threads into cloth. Mr Hollingsworth was in attendance that day and, when he saw my interest, he took time to explain how the little machine worked, in terms a small boy could digest, and how it was his own very special toy.

I've  never forgotten the day I got a special peek into my father's  world, nor the kindness of his employer. I certainly never forgot that wonderfully tiny little machine as it whirred and rattled along making that tiny little roll of cloth. This was the beginnings of my fascination with small machines, one which has never left me.

One year, when the Sears Roebuck Christmas Catalog came, (remember that wondrously magical "Wish Book"?) there among the toys was a picture of a small working steam engine. I suspect it was a Jensen from later information John Foskett of Jensen has shared. I wanted that little engine very badly, but times were hard for our family and I instinctively knew better than to ask for one. As Christmases came and went and that little steam engine was forgotten.

Life went on, with time in the military, marriage, divorce, jobs to do, a company to run, another marriage and a new family.  I hadn't thought about that little steam engine in many years. One day I was browsing in a junk shop and saw part of one for sale. This portion of the tale is better shared on the Jensen 25 page. My interest was instantly rekindled and I've been studying, hunting and buying these marvelous little machines for years now.

A few years ago, our daughter and her husband blessed us with a new grandson. I could not have custom ordered a little boy with interests any closer to my own. We now share the fun of these engines and we enjoy running them when either of us is stricken by the steam muse. Someday I hope he will be able to share them with his sons and grandsons, as he tell them tales of  how his Grandfather was a really strange and eccentric old codger, but he had some great toys.

confession ends thusly....


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