At this past year’s Maker Faire Bay Area, I had the privilege of riding atop a steam-powered Case 40 horsepower steam traction engine from 1940 with Stephen Rademaker.
After Stephen showed me how the engine works and what it was used for, we began to speak about maker collectives in general. It turns out that the very engine I was standing on was the impetus for Kinetic Steamworks. A bunch of folks got together to restore it and Kinetic Steamworks was born through that process. Rather astutely, Stephen said of the engine:
We realized that what we really needed was a lot of help to keep it going, to maintain it, and to continue learning. This engine, being a real founding member gave us the opportunity to draw people in with different talents and skills that is really what the organization is about. To share resources, talents, experiences, and look back at old technology and see how they shaped today and shaped yesterday…That’s what this place [Maker Faire] is, that’s what these people are. They find out that what they do and what they have and what they’re interested in brings them together with 200,000 of their closest friends.