Circa 1898 40 HP Climax
Made by: Erie Gas Engine Co., Erie, PA
Year: Circa 1898
Serial no.: 139
This engine, built by Erie Gas Engine Co., Erie, Pa., is an early design by Charles Jacobson, who later built engines under his own name in Warren, Pa.
It was first installed in a candy factory in Saint Marys, Pa., but was later moved to a flour mill in the same city. A railroad siding entered the mill and passed over the cellar where the engine was located. The copper patch atop the cylinder is said to have been applied by the railroad’s boilermaker after a derailed car fell through the floor and damaged the engine.
The flour mill ceased operation in about 1940, and the building was converted to a drug store and plumbing shop. The engine was sealed up in its basement room, reachable by only a trap door and ladder. In 1980, John Wilcox and Paul Harvey finally received permission to cut a hole in the floor large enough to hoist the engine out, piece by piece. It’s on display at Coolspring on loan from John Wilcox and Paul Harvey.