AUCTION FEVER

Before Dismantling

Content Tools

14150 State Rt. NN S.E. Stewartsville, Missouri 64490

At the Hamilton Steam Show at Hamilton, Missouri, a friend, Donald Walters, a member of Lathrop Antique Club, was walking around like he was on a cloud.

The town of Patton burg, Missouri, no longer had any use for their electric power plant and offered it at auction. This was a flood town that had received a government 'buyout,' and made a new town on a hill several miles up the road.

Don said, 'Guess what I got!' to Tim Griggs, Charles Pugh, a salvage expert, and his close friend Brad Foster, owner of a one cylinder International tractor. We all guessed he bought an engine at the sale.

But Don said, 'No More!' Two? was mentioned and three? 'Nope, all four! The shooting match!'

Wow! Disbelief echoed. Tim, Charles and Brad just stood there. 'Ahhh! Not possible,' was the comment. Then Charles the salvage expert was mad at himself for not attending the auction. He helped his dad at the steam show, who did a good job at the tractor pull.

Don Walters had purchased the whole power station. Four Fairbanks-Morse engines and generators: two 1932-32E-14 150 HP 2 cylinder 98.6 K.W.; a 1948 32E-14 300 HP 4-cylmder 200 K.W.; and a 1956 38F-59 600 HP 16 cylinder 400 K.W. The first three are 300 rpm. The 16 cylinder is 1200 rpm.

After the check cleared the bank, we went with Don Walters to see his purchase. Wow, can't describe it! It is eight or nine feet tall with a pit to allow flywheel clearance. After admiring this old power station and talking with past operators (names are forgotten in the excitement), getting several truckloads of spare parts, we used all the film in our cameras for pictures.

The 16 cylinder has no head or heads. Now read this twice: eight cylinders down, normal; eight cylinders upside down; so eight injectors in the middle fired the engine. All in excellent condition. There were even some owner's manuals with this equipments.

The Co-op Electric Company had only removed wiring outside the building to make it safe, with some wires draped from poles to show no connection.

A piston sitting near the injector workbench didn't move when two of us, Tim and Don, tried to load it as did the three older heads. It may have been magnetism in rebar in the floors. It was also mentioned that when the town closed, powered equipment and some of the parts ended up here.

This auction sold a fire truck which ran (it's a '48 Ford), and the whole fire station, a nice late model building. Arrangements are now being made to move this treasure to Lathrop, Missouri, antique show grounds. Don Walters, David the 'salvage expert,' and Tim Griggs 'retiree' and show exhibitor, have started removal by labeling and cutting pipes and wires to ready these for transport to their new home.

Pictures at the scene before dismantling. Below, two views of the four cylinder.