DAN PATCH: a real horse

Content Tools

R.R. 13, Box 302, Muncie, Indiana 47302

The letter by Dave Kreitler of Libby, Montana in 'Smoke Rings,' GEM January-February, 1979, pg. 12, in which he inquires about a Dan Patch engine and asks if Dan Patch was a famous ficticious race horse prompted me to do this article.

Dan Patch, a real horse, and Dan Patch, a real engine, had one thing in common-M.W. Savage of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dan Patch was foaled in 1896 and became a world champion pacer with mile records in 1903-1905. In 1901 Dan Patch was purchased by M. E. Sturgis of Buffalo, New York for $20,000. In December, 1902 M. W. Savage of Minneapolis purchased Dan Patch for $60,000. M. W. Savage once refused a $180,000 offer for his great Dan Patch. In 1909 the undefeated Dan Patch was retired and was returned to Minnesota. Dan Patch and M. W. Savage both suffered heart conditions and on July 11, 1916 Dan Patch died. The next day M. W. Savage died!

Dan Patch, the engine, was made by the M. W. Savage Factories Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota, M. W. Savage, President. In their engine line-up, they also had an engine named Dazzle Patch, after another race horse Savage owned.

In checking my 12-year cumulative index to GEM, there are only two references to pictures of Dan Patch and one reference to a picture of Dazzle Patch. The one of Dazzle Patch is of an old ad of 1912. The two to Dan Patch includes one courtesy of Morris Blomgren in which he reports the 5 HP and larger engines were named after the horse, Dan Patch, and the smaller engines Savage named Dazzle Patch. The 1912 ad states engines range in size from 1? to 12 HP. M. W. Savage Factories Company backed their engines, according to the 1912 ad, by a 30-day free trial offer and 5-year guarantee backed by $5,000.

I have, unfortunately, never seen a Dan Patch engine, so I can be of no help as to color. Apparently two or three Dan Patch engines are still showing off their horsepower.