Steadman's Snowplane

Greenwater Provincial Park - Monday, February 25, 2002 - by: Gerald Crawford
A friend of ours, Jim Steadman, found this machine somewhere and fixed it up. He sometimes drives it around the lake. His information is that it was owned by Dr. Silver, of Hudson Bay, years ago, but he doesn't know who built it originally.
Editor's Note: I am so glad to know that the snowplane is not just some relic of the past. On Friday Wayne Lorch, son of Karl E. Lorch, the manufacturer from Spy Hill who built so many of these machines, phoned me as he was trying to find out about the machine we had in the story on snowplanes on Tuesday.

Wayne was there and told me that he had visited the Fudge factory in Moosomin and that like his father's production, much of it was sold to Canadian and US military contracts. The reason his dad had set up the factory in North Dakota was to fill the US contract for the machines.

I had said that I thought the Fudge machines were slightly bigger an Wayne explained that those his father built and those manufactured by Fudge were about the same size and that my impression of size was most likely related to the size I was at the time and that is what I had assumed as well.

The one here in Tisdale is fitted with a Continental Engine but Wayne said that of the more than 640 machines his father built, some had Lycoming engines, some Franklins, inline six cylinder Gypsy Major and even some with small radial aircraft engines. Most were only two or three seat machines like the one shown in the Tuesday article but he has one with a 260hp Lycombing engine that is more than a third larger and seats four people.

But as mentioned in the original story the vast majority of these machines that whirled around were one-off contraptions built as farm shop projects. My father mentioned that a garage owner in Wawota, Wes Lamb, had built one and Wayne said that throughout North America there were all kinds of these machines made. Careful examination of Gerald Crawford's picture shown here shows that this machine is powered by a conventional automobile engine and uses a hefty drive belt to power the propeller.

If you have a picture or story about a snowplane
send it along as this is a piece of history that needs to be preserved.