View Full Version : 1854 Huggleston Steam Waggon

Old Busted Hotness
07-09-10, 07:50 AM
Digging through the family archives, I came across the technical drawings for this most unusual device. It is probably the first 4-wheel-drive vehicle, designed for exploring and mapping the rough terrain across the US-Canadian border. It accomplished two Rocky Mountain crossings, in the days before roads.

It was commissioned by Felix Huggleston (a distant relative) and built by the Lima Locomotive works. Many technical obstacles had to be overcome, including flexible suspension (not normally a requirement for locomotives) and steam generation at extreme boiler angles, again a situation your normal loco does not encounter.

There was a crew of two; a driver, in this case Felix, and a fireman/spotter, who, when not stoking the boiler, would step outside onto a platform to overlook the terrain ahead (much of which was invisble to the driver).


Starting with the front half of an XC and a TLT axle, I made the wheels and boiler by wrapping .020 styrene inside a roll of tape. Steering was by the rear wheels, as the weight of the boiler prevented steering the front wheels.


Suspension by walking beam/leaf spring, with stout lower links.


Driver's compartment, with entry door and spotter's platform


Front of the Steam Waggon, showing the boiler, smokestack and steam dome.

The Department of the Interior took a dim view toward Felix's expedition, as driving a steam engine through several thousand miles of forest was, in the words of Secretary of the Interior William Walker, "dangerously stupid, at best." Refused funding by the government, Felix (heir to the vast Huggleston Parasol Company fortune) funded the expedition himself, beginning with the construction of this remarkable vehicle.

The fate of the expedition, and of Huggleston, will be revealed at the end of this thread. Stay tuned for an historic journey.

Old Busted Hotness
07-09-10, 07:52 AM
A somewhat interesting note on the expedition itself: Huggleston planned to cut wood for fuel, and replenish the water in the boiler from rivers, streams and springs. However, a glance at a map showed him that this plan would not work, as known water sources were scarce along the border.

Huggleston therefore sent forth a party to construct and fill water tanks along his proposed route, and to cut some wood for fuel, so it would be dry enough to burn when he got there.

It was this expedition that did most, if not all, of the actual mapping.

Excerpt from Huggleston's journal:

19 May: [year unknown, probably 1855] In an unexpected contradiction to the information given by the advance party, animal life along the border region is quite sparse. I have seen not one buffaloe, nor deer nor antelope. Yesterday I espied through my glass a small herd of possibly the latter, but so great was the speed at which they fled I was unable to ascertain the species. Even small game such as hares do not appear to live here.

Stoker [the fireman's name was Stoker, first name unknown] thinks the noise of our passage has caused them to flee, and points out that many of the aforementioned animals can be seen at night, while I sleep in my tent and he gathers wood for the next day's passage.

Dear Stoker is an uneducated man, so I take his views with a grain of salt. In the few weeks we have been travelling, Stoker's reluctance to voice his opinions has receded the farther we stray from civilization. I shall soon have to have words with the man.

Excerpt from the board meeting of the Lima Locomotive Works, 14 October 1853:

"Huggleston should stick with making fancy parasols and leave the engineering to us men as have the temperament for it."

"Indeed he thwarts our efforts at sound engineering with every new telegram, and they number over one hundred already."

One may conclude that Huggleston's Folly (as the machine was informally known) was not Lima Locomotive's finest effort.

Efforts to unearth the telegrams continue.

Old Busted Hotness
07-09-10, 07:53 AM
More on the build:


Rear wheels (smaller than the fronts, I think the gearing will work out but won't know for sure til I install the front driveshaft)


Battery compartment


Right-hand cylinder/wheel assembly


A considerable amount of bracing was required to accommodate the swinging cylinders, which were fixed to the lower links. Flexible steam pipes were used, and these proved troublesome.


Driving seat and steering wheel. Huggleston complained at great length about the seat, and the effort required to steer, eventually surrendering this duty to Stoker and taking up his fireman's spot on the platform in front. He did not, of course, take over the duty of stoking the fire, as such duty would not suit a gentleman.

Huggleston's "duty" consisted largely of sitting in a camp chair on the platform (under a parasol, of course) and shouting instructions into the speaking tube.

Old Busted Hotness
07-09-10, 07:55 AM
It was pretty huge. L 22'2" W 10'6" H 14'. About the size of a monster truck, plus all the gear that they stowed all over it. Weight, fully loaded, 30 tons. The model is approximately 1/14 scale.

More from the journal:

8 November 1853: Today received a telegram from Lima {Locomotive Works] with the glorious news that the Steam Waggon's best speed is 28 miles per hour. With that figure I may conclude that the traverse of the 49th Parallel may be made in but six days, and with only six watering stations, spaced two hundred miles apart. Advised Jones to construct these stations with all possible speed.

Needless to say, top speed on the level, flat terrain of Lima's proving ground did not correspond to the same speed on the terrain along the frontier. Huggleston's assertion that the crossing could be made in six days, and his subsequent preparation for a six-day journey, proved disastrous.

The crossing in fact took two years.

A note on spelling. Huggleston proudly displayed a drawing of the Steam Waggon for all to see, starting in 1849. When prompted that he had spelled "wagon" incorrectly, he responded: "Perhaps an ordinary wagon can suffice with one G, for Goods perhaps. Mine, however, carries two G's, for Glory and for God, to whom I shall dedicate this noble enterprise."

Clearly, the man was an a$$.


Tender and water tank


Feedwater pump, and left-hand cylinder support with notch for the water tube.


Front of boiler. The speaking tube is visible on the railing.


Other end of the speaking tube, next to the driving seat.


Overall shot with the roof support started. The roof support was a cast-iron hoop, intended to support the expedition's luggage. It seems a bit over-built for the purpose, but as it did not fail under use (possibly the only part not to do so) that point is debateable.

Old Busted Hotness
07-09-10, 07:56 AM
1st May 1855: Today we begin our glorious enterprise! We arrived in Duluth, a town in the Minnesota Territory, by ship, and supervised the unloading of the Steam Waggon and the supplies we will need for our journey. We were observed by the residents of Duluth, many Frenchmen, Red Indians (Stoker, much to my surprise, speaks their incomprehensible language as he served in the Indian Wars so recently concluded. He tells me they are known as the O-Jib-Way, and is negotiating with them for such guidance as we may need) miners and fur trappers.

To the north, I see a great forest. We shall not want for fuel on this journey! Stoker has gone into town to purchase additional axes, saws and other tools as will be needed. For my part, I secured us a suite of rooms at the Hotel Duluth, the most deluxe available as we shall not enjoy accommodations indoors for some time. I must note that the Hotel Duluth does not measure up to the fine establishments in Philadelphia, but as we are on the frontier one must make allowances.

The Steam Waggon has aroused much curiosity in the population. I mounted the platform and addressed the crowd, speaking to them of our endeavour. Upon concluding, the crowd cheered hurrah! and wished me well. The trappers informed me that the forest extends north from here even into British Canada, a distance of nearly one hundred miles!

The Northern Frontier shall be a grand adventure. Tonight we feast, tomorrow we embark.

Some more progress today:


Roof panel installed, as well as some edging around the tender. The rain gutters channel rainwater into the water tank.


The left-hand cylinder pivots on another massive cast-iron bracket, this one attached to the water tank. The small water tank is a bit of a mystery.


Drinking-water pump


Guess what this coil is for


Pimpin', 19th-century style.

Old Busted Hotness
07-09-10, 07:58 AM
2 May 1855:

At noon we set out from Duluth, to the cheers of the crowd and even a hastily-assembled brass band! The saloon in town was doing a brisk business with all the revellers, and Stoker procured several bottles of whiskey, wine and bourbon from this establishment, perhaps rather more than necessary for a six days' journey.

We steamed north into the forest, and Stoker began clearing our path. Jones and company left a map for us at the hotel, which did show the way to make the best progress and the location of the first water depot, which is a great river. When I reach this river I shall name it The Huggleston River [known even then (as it is today) as the Rainy River; this would not be the last attempt by Huggleston to re-name every natural feature he encountered, the country would be girdled with Huggleston landmarks had he had his way.]

Our course has strayed but little from the true North, as this ancient forest offers room for progress. It is as if God Himself has placed the trees in a manner most favorable to our progress. Stoker has had to fell only twenty large trees today, and as for smaller ones we can simply steam over them. Trees up to nine inches across yield to the might of the Steam Waggon.

Nonetheless, progress today was slower than I anticipated. To the rear can still be seen the lights of Duluth. Another difficulty is taking readings with my sextant in the forest. One needs a clear view of the sun to use the instrument after all.

Tonight we rest, while Stoker cuts the trees we felled earlier into logs for fuel. I prepared for us an excellent brisket from our stores, which we may need to supplement with fresh game as we encounter. I anticipated making two hundred miles today. Instead we have made less than two.

This poor whiskey, the best available at the frontier, is nonetheless quite refreshing after a long day of travel and bolsters my spirits after the day's adversities.

I must admit Stoker was correct in one aspect; my insistence on bringing my portable telegraph machine was perhaps a folly. I shall instead rely on the good will of such travelers as we encounter to relay my messages home.

7 July 1855:

Arrived today at the mighty Huggleston River, which forms the border here in the Minneota Territory. From here we follow the river west unto the 49th Parallel. I shall petition the Department of Maps [no such agency exists, or ever has] to rename this line in due course.

As the river is shallow be quiet Stoker, I know you were jesting at my expense we shall steam along the banks as there are no trees damned trees as far as the eye can see the eye can see nought for the trees and we shall make rapid progress. Plenty of water and wood for the boiler.

Are we really two months into this journey? I am astounded that the woods has slowed our progress so markedly, but now we are at the banks of the Huggleston we shall speed unto the Pacific Ocean where I shall strip off my cloting and shout to the heavens why have you done this to me then turn about and return home as heroes we shall walk as gods among men.

Although the compass and chronograph have broken, Stoker damn the man damn damn damn him has seen fit to bring a pocket compass, and my fine pocket watch shall serve as chronograph so we may ascertain our position o god nearly a thousand miles yet to go is this my private hell upon earth? There is no more whiskey Stoker damn the man bathes in the river soiling its water with his stench how dare he defile the Huggleston such?

I shall not pay Jones for this. The river was here to be found, he nor his men did not construct a watering station so I shall save one sixth share of his extortionate expense. Perhaps he has built two stations at the 400 mile mark a devious man would do that will we ever reach it

We have depleted our stores long ago, even rationing the tobacco to one smoke per day, in the evening. Stoker has suggested an alternative used by the Red Indians, known in these parts as the Soo as we have left the O-Jib-way way way behind us. I know not whether to trust this Indian tobacco, but Stoker swears by it has he got tobacco and kept it from me o I shall see to him he will be dealt with damn damn damn the man and his heathen ways

Old Busted Hotness
07-09-10, 07:59 AM
28 July 1855: Awakened today bound hand and foot, and blind-folded as well! I heard Stoker rummaging in the tool locker at the rear of the Steam Waggon, and he later unbound me that I might see the spectacle to come. Upon the banks of the Huggleston River [the seventh such river so far] which lies at the bottom of a mighty gorge we cannot ford, Stoker produced a quantity of Dynamite and an ignition box for same dynamite we have dynamite why does the man conceal it from me and set off mighty explosions of same on both banks of the river, producing a gentle slope that we may cross.

I shall not forgive the indignity of being bound like an animal, or indeed a madman!

14 September 1855:

On to the plains of the Dakotah! Behind us are the woods, ahead lies the Pacific, and Glory! Stoker has filled the tender to overflowing with wood as now the open plains stretch before us, and the Steam Waggon can stretch its mighty legs, today reaching our top speed and sustaining it for a period of many hours. We shall swim in the Pacific before Christmas!

Ahead lies one of Jones' watering stations, I see it in my glass the devil awaits us there and beyond that the Rockey Mountains [actually the Pembina Hills] which do not appear as daunting as reports have indicated. Those nancy men fear hills such as these and name them as mountains? I laugh at the so-called explorers of old. Men of spirit and character can overcome all obstacles stoker looks upon me of late with pity but I know evil lurks within his heart and [illegible]

And now we rest at the watering station, filling our tank. Stoker has taken the rifle and returned with a deer, and we dine on venison this night. I cannot think why the man insists upon locking the rifle and ammunition away when we have seen no men for many months.

I really wish I had Stoker's journal. I'm developing a fairly intense dislike for Huggleston, and I didn't spend two years with no one else for company. And now on top of it all, Stoker has to play frontier psych nurse.

1 August 1855: Even the great steam pistons shout my name to the heavens as we pound across the open prairie, Huggleston Huggleston Huggleston Huggleston Huggleston WOO WOO! The whistle blows and fills me with an indescribable joy Stoker doesnt like the whistle he says it is a waste of steam but he will pay for his insolence the whistle the whistle WOO WOO! Huggleston Huggleston [the rest of the page is filled with Hugglestons and the occasional whistle]

9 August 1855 [apparently a "good" day]: Tragedy upon the prairie. The Steam Waggon has broken down. Stoker says it is a valve operating rod and we may proceed no further without it. The steel rod is cleft in twain, and bent as well, and no blacksmith for hundreds of years [miles]. Stoker is constructing a small forge of such stones as can be found that we may repair this rod and resume our voyage to the Pacific and my glorious destiny stokers destiny is to serve me damn the man the glory shall be all mine although we are perilously short on wood we may have enough to effect this repair. Can grass be burnt in a boiler? But we yet have Dynamite if the damnable man will open the locker.

20 December 1855:

All the elephants have died but one, and Rome lies far afield. No sign of the army have they forsaken me as well? Caesar must be buried and I shall see him in his grave then Rome will be mine mine all mine lord of of the empire strong men will tremble when they hear my name [it goes on like this for most of the page. Clearly he thinks he's Hannibal at this point. Previous entries refer to being snowbound in the Rockies.]

Old Busted Hotness
07-09-10, 08:00 AM
Time to get on with the build:


A quick coat of flat black (final color will be gloss black with gold pinstripes). Luggage platform over the left front wheel was supplemented with a roof rack.


Steam lines and valve boxes


19th-century bling


Ground-level view. It's hard to imagine how truly big this thing was. Like two one-car garages on top of each other, and made of cast iron.


Started on the rear locker


Brake block and linkage

Old Busted Hotness
07-10-10, 08:19 AM
6 January 1856:

Today I awakened to a feeling of great mental clarity. I seem to have suffered a Fever most grievous, and this morning it has lifted and my spirit is restored. I look upon my surroundings and see things as they are, and they are frankly grim. The Steam Waggon sits in four feet of snow, its mighty wheels buried as they have been these many months. The water in the storage tank has frozen solid! We sit upon the side of a mountain. More are visible to the west, and to the east as well. Our supplies have long been depleted, such tools as we have are much worse for wear. The few ropes we have remaining are frayed and mended many times. I fear that we must rely on such poor devices for our very survival.

Some time in the past, Stoker has built us a rough Cabin, so that we may enjoy some comforts until the snow melts and we may resume our journey.

Of Stoker there is no sign. His bed is undisturbed, and an accumulation of snow can be seen upon it. What has become of the man? His boots and overcoat, both much the worse for wear, sit upon our only chair. There are bones in the fireplace, and some salted meat hangs upon the walls. My belly is full as it has not been for many weeks. Blood litters the floor and my hands as well! [this page bears some brown stains that may indeed be blood] Have I in my hours of madness done some unspeakable act to this man who has shown me so much kindness on our journey? Dear Stoker forgive me, may God have mercy upon your soul, and mine as well. I know not how I may continue, nor what fate awaits me upon my return. O Lord, I did not mean to become a murderer and cannibal!

My newfound mental clarity comes with no small measure of despair.

07-10-10, 12:00 PM
Where do these ideals come from buddy??? 1strange1

Old Busted Hotness
07-10-10, 03:20 PM
History, my man, History!

8 January 1856: Awoke this morning to a great Commotion, the blanket that serves as a door was thrust aside, and standing in the doorway, a Bear as tall as a man, standing upon two legs! Then the bear did thrust back his head, and behold, it is no bear but Stoker who has returned! Wearing the skin of a bear from head to foot, and pulling a sledge laden with venison that should last us many months.

Stoker's account of the last part of our Journey has been most enlightening. As I was in no fit state to record it properly (my journal entries of late show an appalling lack of mentation) I shall recount it here:

In late September we passed the Milk River and made way toward the Rockey Mountains. With the open prairie behind us, progress became slow as we fought up and down ever more difficult slopes, but enjoyed magnificent views from each new peak. I apparently was bound to the platform, or in inclement weather, upon the floor of the cabin, so unpredictable were my actions in those days. Stoker, insolent as ever, said I had the Crazy Eye but it has gone now and he felt I could be left alone so that he might hunt.

During our passage through the Indian territory, we received some kindnesses from the Black Foot Tribe, but none wished to accompany us. Stoker's view is that such a choice was wise even though they are Savages, for it is not they who freeze upon a mountain side in the bitter winter, miles from home.

And yet! We are close to the Continental Divide, after which all waters flow into the Pacific. Stoker tells me we have strayed from the true course of the 49th Parallel, necessitated by the passage through these majestic peaks. I can comprehend that necessity, gazing upon the countenance of these mountains which offer little in the way of comfort.

In early November we arrived at this mountain and could go no further as our way was impeded by deep snow, and even the Steam Waggon's power could not overcome it. As wood is plentiful, Stoker built us this cabin and did also fill the tender of the Steam Waggon, that the wood may be seasoned when once again we may make steam westward.

And so, when the snow melts away and our water is once again liquid, we shall resume our Journey to the Pacific. But I fear that will not be for many months.

07-10-10, 03:36 PM
Jeff, your to blame, you left those funny crayons out again. 1no1

Old Busted Hotness
07-10-10, 04:12 PM
21 November, 1853, letter from Lima Locomotive works:

Mr Huggleston: We have completed your latest request for modification the Forest Ram. However, while the Design Staff agrees that a spiral stairway to the roof platform would be aesthetically pleasing, the Engineering Staff advises that an ordinary ladder would perform the same function and add considerably less unnecessary weight, nor would it remove from service valuable space in the tender. As the journey you propose is long and arduous, I would advise the latter.


As the Forest Ram does not appear on the original drawing, I had to improvise. I believe this is consistent with the rest of the build.


Tool locker, with keyhole


Throttle and brake levers. Clearly ergonomics was an inexact science back then.

hot ford coupe
07-10-10, 11:25 PM
I have a feeling that this is related to more than crayons here. The symptomatology resembles more of a lacquer problem than one of crayons. Although the diagnosis seems to be an open and shut case, more tests will be needed for confirmation. These things take time.

07-11-10, 08:31 AM
OBH: Go on, I am reading.

Old Busted Hotness
07-11-10, 10:28 AM
I have a feeling that this is related to more than crayons here. The symptomatology resembles more of a lacquer problem than one of crayons. Although the diagnosis seems to be an open and shut case, more tests will be needed for confirmation. These things take time.

Funny you should mention paint. The model is now in the paint booth. Wisely I didn't spray all of it into a paper bag and have enough to put the gloss black on.

Crazy? Bah, that's what all those psychiatrists said! 1what1

And the story (admittedly a product of a diseased imagination, whether that imagination was born in 1853 or 2010 is a minor point not worthy of discussion among gentlemen) continues:

21 May 1856:

Once again we can make our way West, towards the Pacific and Destiny! Although the Steam Waggon is in a state of disrepair, having rusted in the deep snow, Stoker has gotten it in running order after many days of tinkering, and using animal fat for lubrication, as we brought along insufficient quantities of lubricating oil. But steam now leaks from every joint, and ominous Noises can be heard in its operation. Far from the luxurious carriage it was when we left, my poor Waggon now rattles like a Bucket full of Bolts. But still we make way across the mountains.

Today, a Great Descent, down down down the mountainside, the brakes smoking, supplies and wood falling from their compartments, Stoker madly reversing the engine in a vain effort for precious traction, churning up an impenetrable cloud of soil, and snow, and fallen Pine needles which obscures the view to the front. It is only the trees which we cannot see that slow us, the mighty prow of the Steam Waggon rendering them to Splinters as we descend farther, and faster, and father yet, thrilling me with the speed, and Danger. I blow the whistle and hear its mighty voice echo through the canyon Huggleston Canyon! until we lie exhausted at the bottom of a gorge, facing yet another mountain to climb, but not until we retrieve our supplies from the path behind us.

During our rest in the Gorge, Stoker damn him admits to me two new truths: One, he knows not where we are, beyond the knowledge that we sit at the bottom of a gorge in the mountains, which is plain for all to see. And two, that he has unbeknownst to me been Poisoning my food with an Indian remedy against Madness, and that we have now run out of this remedy. Who is he to judge me mad or to experiment with remedies from the Black Foot, which he said would either kill me or stop the madness. Either way, Stoker said, I would no longer be mad oh damn the man.

Stoker has shed his suit of Bear skin as the weather is fair, and no longer resembles the wild vision that has haunted me in these months of inactivity. Although neither of us has had a Shave since when was it when when late September as the blasted man will let me near no sharp objacts for why I cannot see

There is a River here, but it is shallow enough to ford, and we have gotten from it some fine Fish for the evening meal.

Old Busted Hotness
07-11-10, 03:01 PM
22 May 1856: And up and up and up the mountain we go, making slow progress but the river behind grows ever smaller as we struggle up the slope toward the heavens higher and higher we go, no more than 100 yards today and many more to go until we reach the summit no damn you Stoker I said the summit passes are for the weak we can make the summit I tell you

23 May 1856: Once again I find myself trussed to the platform. Stoker's soul will writhe in Hell for this indignity. Even now he ignores the lofty summit of this mountain for the easy way of the pass. But already I can see the next peak ahead blow the whistle for me Stoker

Old Busted Hotness
07-12-10, 06:38 AM

Started on the pinstriping


Freakin' egomaniac


Steam-pressure gauge and whistle valve on the ceiling

Old Busted Hotness
07-12-10, 08:07 AM
Actual photo from 1905:


Not THE Steam Waggon, but certainly A steam wagon.

4 July 1857: Mountains ever mountains shall we ever see level ground again? But Lo! before us lies a great Lake [Ross Lake] stretching far to the south and less to the north. Stoker presents to me an Interesting Fact, that the local Indians do refer to our course as the Medicine Line as United States Soldiers will not cross it medicine medicine the Line is my Medicine why does Stoker converse with the savages behind my back and not allow me the Right which is mine of negotiating our passage through this country he knows not [illegible]to Hell with the man I say!

Today we encountered some United States Cavalry, who did inform us that we are now in the Oregon Country, and that we are but eighty miles from the Pacific Ocean! What wondrous news, that we may fulfill our Destiny at last! And not to spend another winter in the mountains with Stoker poisoning me binding me and mocking constantly mocking he will pay pay pay damn the man to the deepest pits of Hell

The Cavalry were kind enough to escort us to their Fort, where a blacksmith was able to effect the many repairs needed to the Steam Waggon after many hard miles. The cracks in the Boiler are now repaired, steam lines are mended, and some real Oil for lubrication applied. And what food these soldiers enjoy! Fresh greens, bread, and potatoes, all things we have been denied these years in the wilderness I myself ate seven potatoes at one sitting, and more for breakfast the next day, potatoes potatoes how I have missed them but Stoker's head looks like a potato now that I see it I cannot dissemble myself from this illusion potato head, potato head! Stoker has a potato head! with melted butter

5 July 1857: Bound to my cot in the soldier's Fort. Damn the man.

07-12-10, 12:29 PM
This is like watching a build and a movie at the same time. I tune in every day to see what's next in the quest of Huggleston. he1he1clap1

Old Busted Hotness
07-12-10, 07:11 PM
6 August 1857: At last the sea the sea the blessed sea My Destiny fulfilled the sea the sea my destiny destin-sea my long journey is done and I can be rid of the damnable man Stoker there is a Seaport here and he can book passage East while I I I go on to greater things to fame and glory I can run the Steam Waggon and none will bind me to any hard steel rails no frayed smelling ropes none but blessed Freedom but Stoker's black soul lives on he has sent a Man to travel with me I know his real motives not to Travel but to Torment i sent him away away back to the pits of hell from which he sprang and to stoker i shall see to him before he sails i shall strike him down he can join his damned man he sends to spy upon me to steal the glory that is mine i shall have his potato head, potato head, potato head upon a platter but he is no john the baptist he is a demon sent to drive me insane with his red indian medicines and his ropes and his bear skin he can be buried in it or better yet left to rot, to rot and more potatoes shall sprout from his hideous neck and i shall have potatoes this evening as much as i can eat and tomorrow his head for breakfast or perhaps lunch if i sleep late as is my right as a gentleman then to the north to explore alaska territory to claim it from the smug british and the sneaky russians i shall have it all only a short trip mere weeks and i shall walk upon the bering sea and mock them in their fur hats and tsars tonight potatoes tomorrow stoker dies and to alaska the arctic circle and the north pole itself

Well, it's clear Huggleston has left sanity far behind at this point. What fate awaits the faithful Stoker? And does Huggleston make it to Alaska?

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion!

Old Busted Hotness
07-13-10, 07:07 AM

Footplate area is looking busier


Pinstripes coming along slowly

Old Busted Hotness
07-13-10, 01:22 PM
Article from the Vancouver (BC) Times, August 9, 1857:





Our Southern correspondent tells a tale of such strange behaviour that it beggars belief, yet Witnesses to the extraordinary events all verify their truth.
At a Rooming House in Blaine, Oregon Country, a Philadelphia man, Felix Huggleston, attacked another man, his travelling Companion known only as Stoker, inflicting a most unusual though not mortal wound, later escaping the scene in a steam-powered wagon in which the pair had travelled more than 1,300 miles, from the port of Duluth on Lake Superior.

Witnesses report that Mr. Huggleston, who had been ill for a period of several months, entered the Rooming House via the kitchen, proceeded into the dining room where the Guests were enjoying breakfast. He then fetched up a fork and assaulted the man Stoker, inflicting several Wounds in the man's neck.

Captain Jonathan McPhee, of the steamer Mollie Ann, on which Stoker had booked passage to the East, said Mr. Huggleston "fought like a madman against the man Stoker, who had done nothing to provoke the attack. The madman carried on screaming about potatoes, for why I cannot say. Clearly the man was deranged."

Mr. Huggleston then bolted from the room. He was heard to shout, "I have killed him, Glory Hallelujia, at last I am free," despite not having killed or even seriously wounding Mr. Stoker. Mr. Huggleston then escaped the scene, steaming north atop a device which defies the imagination.

Captain McPhee described it best: It resembled in many aspects a Locomotive, but ran not upon steel rails but the ground itself, and at such great speed that mounted men could not catch him. Even the forest did not slow his progress, the great Locomotive knocking trees down as if they were tenpins! Never have I seen such a thing, nor do I ever wish to again."


While Guests of the Rooming House assisted the wounded Stoker, pressing clean cloths to his wound, the man stood up and exclaimed, "The Dynamite!" and ran bleeding to his first-floor room whereupon he did discover the lock Smashed, and a quantity of Dynamite he had hidden therein, to be Missing. "The poor fool, we must stop him!" cried Mr. Stoker, and he too ran from the Rooming House.

But so great was the speed of Mr. Huggleston's escape that none could hope to catch him.

Mr. Huggleston was last seen speeding to the north, toward our Fair City. Citizens should be warned that the man knows no Reason, and is armed with much Dynamite. Vancouver Police request that any who see the man or his Device should immediately contact them.

Another, from the Times, August 11, 1857:




Vancouver Police have stopped the madman Felix Huggleston, who escaped after attacking a man in the Oregon Country on August 8, as Huggleston approached the settlement of Surrey.

Police Constable Ulysses Draper reported: "Well, he was easy to find, wasn't he? What with the smoke, and the straight line of flattened trees. When we caught him up he was crossing the mud flats there, churning up a great spray, and none wished to approach. We blew our whistles and shouted for him to stop. Even then I could see the man was in mortal danger, as his machine's boiler was glowing red hot. But it was all over when he shoveled in the Dynamite."

The resulting Explosion could be heard for miles, and fragments of the glowing metal started several small fires.

The mad Mr. Huggleston is presumed dead, and of his Steam Waggon, nothing remains but smoldering wreckage slowly sinking in the mud, still steaming as it cools.

Letter received by Mrs. Anna Huggleston:

11 August, 1857

My dear Mrs Huggleston,

As you know it was my privilege to accompany your husband Felix on his expedition along the 49th Parallel. It is my sad duty to inform you that, although Felix completed the journey, he shall not be returning home. Felix was killed today as the boiler of his Steam Waggon exploded.

I would gladly escort his body home to you, but not a trace of him can be found. We must assume the worst, but know that he did not suffer, as the explosion was very powerful and mercifully quick.

I shall arrive by steamship on 9 September, and shall return to you Felix's journal which will, I feel, explain much.

Yours in service,


And a totally unrelated (?) item, from the Vancouver Times Police Blotter, 20 December 1857:

9:00 P.M. Police were called to 19 Armory Lane, where a Citizen did complain of a man shouting "Potato head" but no man could be found.

Old Busted Hotness
07-13-10, 08:42 PM
And now, Stoker's perspective:

June 6, 1855

Today is a happy day! I was finally able to convince Felix that the marine compass is broken, and rather than steaming to the north, we have in fact traced a giant circle through the woods of the Minnesota Territory.

Merely crossing our path, as we have already done, was not enough evidence for Felix. He put the devastation (for the Steam Waggon cuts quite a swath through the woods) down to "a herd of bears." But when confronted with his initials carved in to a great Fir tree, he relented that perhaps a slight error in navigation had been made.

If I had said nothing, we would steam in circles until all the trees in the Territory were flattened. I am certainly glad I purchased a supply of Whisky for I shall be driven to drink before this journey ends!

Old Busted Hotness
07-14-10, 06:53 PM
More from Stoker's journal:

July 7, 1855:

At last we find the river which marks the northern border of the Minnesota Territory, but with some unease. Felix's refusal to turn back to Duluth for more supplies troubles me. Although we could have been back in a day or less, only retracing our route, he insists on running ever north, and now ever west. His mania for the 49th Parallel, which I do not understand, is consuming him and I fear for his sanity.

We are making do nicely with the pocket watch and compass, although the compass must be removed from the vicinity of the Steam Waggon to get an accurate reading. Felix insists that this is not the case, and tries to navigate while we are under steam, so we get lost more often than necessary. At night while Felix sleeps, when I have finished cutting wood for the morrow's fuel, I am also able to hunt some game. I hope to shoot a Buffaloe, as that will feed us for many days, but I have seen none here in the woods. Nor have I seen the "herd of bears" that Felix insists is tracking our movements.

This night I had a proper bath in the river, while Felix scribbles nonsense in his journal. Although it is far too late to return East, I question the wisdom of my decision to make this journey with him. As Lieutenant Rodgers said when our Colonel was struck and killed by an Apache's arrow, "We are in it now. Pray we get out alive." I have done so nightly.


Huggleston's egomania strikes again


About done with the pinstripes

Old Busted Hotness
07-15-10, 08:27 AM
And more from Stoker:

July 27, 1855:

The farther we stray from civilization, the farther Felix strays from sanity. Last night he unleashed his explosive rage upon me, insisting that I address him as Mister Huggleston, as it is only proper and appearances must be kept up.

Appearances? To whom? Perhaps to the Buffaloe, or the Prairie Dogs, or his herd of bears? We have seen no man for five months.

So great was his rage that he did fetch up a piece of wood from the tender and attempted to beat me with it. I held him off easily, and when he had exhausted himself I bound him hand and foot. If he is to act as a madman I shall have to treat him as such. And call him as Felix, because madmen cannot be afforded the privileges of gentlemen. One must keep up appearances after all.

September 9, 1855

Today we encountered a party of Sioux, and I was able to converse with them. I shall relate that conversation:

Me: I greet you in peace. My name is Fire Maker [a pretty fair translation]
Sioux: We greet you in peace. I am Great Buffaloe. Your prisoner appears uncomfortable.
Me: He is no prisoner, but he is mad. He has visions of men and things that are not here, and will not wake from his dream. He is called Huggleston, Man Who Is Chased By Bears.
Sioux: I see no bear.
Me: I see no bear. Only he can see the bears.
Sioux: Those are the worst kind of bears.

Old Busted Hotness
07-15-10, 06:19 PM

Found enough sticks in the yard to fill the tender


Also picked up some Sculpey clay and started modeling Stoker. He still needs work before I stick him in the oven.

As for Huggleston, should I put him in the hero pose pointing forward, or hog-tied?

07-15-10, 06:22 PM
[QUOTE=Old Busted

As for Huggleston, should I put him in the hero pose pointing forward, or hog-tied?[/QUOTE]

Hog-tied. Looks like Stoker is in control.

Old Busted Hotness
07-16-10, 06:03 AM
Poor Huggleston:



Damn damn damn you, Stoker!


Stoker's arms sagged a little in the oven, but the Steam Waggon has a tilt column so it's cool.

Also, video:


Old Busted Hotness
07-16-10, 06:46 PM
Man... check out the potato head on this guy.


Old Busted Hotness
07-17-10, 06:11 AM


Old Felix looks like he's gonna bust a blood vessel.

Old Busted Hotness
07-18-10, 06:37 AM
And it goes on!


Huggleston's oversized chest (maybe he keeps his ego in there), tent, tent poles and Stoker's footlocker


Glass, rifle, and harder to see, coffee pot and a rag stuffed in the speaking tube.


Overall progress. It's down to all the little things now, pots & pans etc.