OLD IRON EUPHORIA

Maytag

Sad, huh?

Content Tools

Box 376, Columbus, New Mexico 88029

In my opinion, those of us who seek aging piles of rust for the sole purpose of saving ancient items for posterity, go through two drug influenced stages in our chosen task.

The first, of course, is the adrenalin high which follows the successful convincing of some victim that he has no earthly use for that scrap pile, and could at least buy a couple of drinks with the generous sawbuck or two we have offered him.

The second, which involves even more adrenalin, comes after the long period of pounding, sandblasting, cleaning, repairing and painting of the who is. This is when you back up your Honda to the flywheel, and rev up said Honda till the flywheels get going and the long awaited banging and chugging starts. I don't believe any stimulant can equal the charge you get from watching the putti-putti doing its thing. My wife shakes her head sadly every time I walk past the Maytag, give it a confident kick, and leap for joy when it starts its bangity-bang.

I am looking forward to another one of those 'second highs' perhaps next summer, but in the meantime I thought others might be interested in the process I went through getting my scrap pile home after the 'first high.'

For a couple of years I had noticed the old Fairbanks Morse 4 horse vertical water cooled thumper sitting on the bank of Lake Chelan some halfway up the lake and on a 15-foot bluff miles from the nearest road. It had apparently been used to run a pump for a small orchard up the hill. One spring, I noted there had been a small brush fire in the area, and the old machine was laying on its side. I immediately twisted the arm of a friendly County Treasurer, found out who was paying taxes on that area, and looked him up. Making my 'museum material' spiel as convincing as I could, I soon walked away with a rough receipt for the old engine.

The following pictures illustrate the process of getting it home. Taking off cylinder, piston and rod to get the big chunk down to about 500 pounds, carefully lowering it over the bank into a 400 pound capacity Meyers boat with some 1000 feet of water below it; towing it some 10 miles down lake; and finally getting it into shallow water at a boat ramp. Lake Chelan is about 1400 feet deep off the bluff area, so needless to say I had two 1/2' nylon lines on it at all times, fastened to the heavy ski eyes on the stern of my boat. It was a job, but fun, and it will all be justified one day when it starts thumpety thumping.