This 110-horsepower steam tractor was originally built and operated by the Pacific Coast Borax in 1894 for use at their company holdings at Borate, California. It was tried as an experimental means to replace mule teams to haul borax to Daggett on the Santa Fe Railroad, but proved to be too unwieldy, cantankerous and unreliable. As with all such devices, either animal, human or object, it soon picked up a nickname, "Old Dinah." In July of 1909, Joseph R. Lane, a Rhyolite merchant, purchased the tractor and put it in service between there and the Keane Wonder Mine, in Death Valley. His Keane Wonder Traction Company used the tractor to haul supplies between the two points, pulling two trailers with 20 tons of freight and crawling along at 3 to 4 miles per hour over Daylight Pass and down Boundary Canyon, past Hell's Gate to the Keane Wonder. Old Dinah usually consumed 3000 gallons of oil and water along the way, but Lane realized a profit of about $200 per trip utilizing Old Dinah. In November of 1909 however, Old Dinah blew her boiler, due to years of hard desert water clogging her boiler tubes. Dinah sat where she died for 20 years, a desert oddity sitting alongside the road in Boundary Canyon. In the late 1930's, the Pacific Coast Borax Company spirited her away one night and placed her as a display at their new tourist facilities at Furnace Creek. She sits there to this day. Photo taken March 1998.
(Courtesy David A. Wright, Great Basin Research)