Now for the actual construction of the original CliShay.

Bob Maynard, one of the founders of Cinder Sniffers, had an idea to design and build a steam powered locomotive which could be built by someone with limited equipment and limited machining skills. When the locomotive was completed, it could be operated by someone with limited operating skills. This was somewhat of a tall task. Building a steam engine with close tolerances and operating a steam engine takes some skill.

As Bob built the CliShay, he chronicled the adventure with articles which were eventually published in Live Steam magazine. Bill Fitt, the publisher of Live Steam had several telephone conversations with Bob regarding simple steam locomotives which were somewhat akin to the logging locomotives.

The logging locomotives of the 1880 era featured vertical boilers,geared drives and vertical or slanted cylinders. They could easily navigate sharp curves, steep grades and uneven track. The Shay locomotive was built in Lima Ohio and the Climax locomotive was built in Cory Pennsylvania. The Shay and Climax were the inspiration for Bob’s creation. Was Bob’s locomotive a ShayMax or a CliShay?

Bob’s work on the CliShay began in 1975 and the first article appeared in Live Steam in November 1977. Doris Fitt, wife of publisher Bill Fitt purchased the CliShay as a Christmas gift in 1975. A cardboard cutout of the CliShay was the gift until the original locomotive was completed and delivered to the Fitts in Michigan.