Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Miniature steam, gas engines a hit at Claremont Hogfest

Last Saturday’s Hogfest celebration saw more than its share of full size tractors between the antique tractor show and the parade. And there were some children’s size pedal tractors in town. 

But a look at a display on Front Street revealed a table full of scaled-down replicas of steam and gas engines that may at one time have seen their full size counterparts at work in Dodge County.

Eric Brekke, a Claremont native now living in Kansas City, was back in his hometown with a display of some of the power plants that he makes as a hobby. His parents, Butch and Peggy Brekke, and brother Adam still live in the area and had joined him at Hogfest. 

A machinist by trade, Brekke said that he makes all the parts for his engines “from scratch” and that even included a miniature spark plug, less than an inch long.

Most of his replicas are of early gas engines but some went back even farther to the days of steam.

A model of a “road roller” featured a small steam boiler and the coal to power it. Brekke explained that the road roller would likely have been used in the late 1800s on city streets which had an early form of pavement called chip and seal.

Gravel, tar and small rock would be mixed together and spread by men with rakes from wagons. Once the mixture was spread on the street the operator of the steam road roller would come along and roll

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Dodge County Independent

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