Steam Engine Tractor Drives Along with Burning Embers Flying from its Smokestack

As the tractor drives by, the crowd delights watching its steam engine throwing showers of sparks.
Loukia Papadopoulos

What you see in this video is a 1911 Case 32-110 horsepower traction steam engine at a tractor pull event in Pinckneyville, Illinois. As the traction steam tractor goes by, crowd delights at the steam engine throwing showers of sparks as burning embers fly from its smokestack.

"Don't worry about the fire hazard. What you see is a very exaggerated amount of burning embers coming from the smokestack. The sparks are created as a night spectacle for entertainment. Before this pull, sawdust was added to the firebox to enhance the night "spark show," said the video's description.

It goes on to explain how the tractor avoided being set on fire back in the days where it was actively used in the fields.

"The steam engine provided power to the threshing machine via an extremely long belt to keep any embers away from the dry chaff and straw that was separated from the grain. Piles of crop were gathered as they were needed and not all gathered up and piled in one place at one time," added the video's description. 

This ensured that if there was a fire it would be small and contained to a small portion of the harvest leaving the rest of it safe and fire-free. The steam engines also had spark arresters and required water which meant water was generally available should a fire occur.