Tennessee Kentucky Thresherman Show Engines

Fairbanks Morse Engine

Content Tools

720 Bell Road Antioch, Tennessee 37013

Sometime ago, about 1987, the membership and board of directors of the Tennessee Thresherman Show of Adams, Tennessee voted to buy two large Fairbanks Morse engines in Wyatt, Missouri. One was a Fairbanks Morse Co., Y style, V.A. 3 cylinder, 180 HP at 257 R.P.M., 36,600 pounds. The other was a Fairbanks Morse diesel, stationary, 4 cylinder, 240 HP at 257 R.P.M., style V.A., 46,000 pounds.

The engines were installed used in Wyatt, Missouri, by a Mr. Hunter Raffety in 1947 to furnish electricity for the town and a huge gin that he owned. About 1954 the town got their power from another source. The gin was sold and shipped by rail to California. The engines have been sitting there since that time in a cinder block building.

After going through some volunteers who failed to move the engines, it fell my lot to take the job and get the engines moved to our showgrounds. During our show in July 19891 recruited 15-20 workers. In August, on the work day, I had 12 people show up. I went prepared to stay two days but, with all the help, I got done by 3 p.m. that day.

We uncoupled generators, removed nuts from anchor bolts, took down all air and water pipes. The roof was steel trusses bolted to the blocks. We removed all nuts but four. I was going to lift the roof later.

In October 1989, I was able to get the haulers and a local crane service and some volunteers. We first removed the exhaust stacks and the complete roof, trusses and all. We then lifted the 4 cylinder out and onto a trailer. The crane then moved to the other side of the building and lifted the 3 cylinder onto another trailer. We then lifted the generators outside to be loaded onto another trailer. The next day miscellaneous parts, pipe exhaust stacks and other hardware were loaded onto a Tennessee Kentucky Show tractor and trailer and my truck and trailer.

After everything was out of the building we picked up the roof again and reinstalled it and bolted it back down. All trucks left for Adams and all were there before 9 p.m.

I had a crane out of Nashville, Tennessee there the next a.m. and we unloaded the engines onto the crosstie cribbing. The generators arrived as we were finishing with the engines and we cribbed those up also.

They have been covered for the winter and we hope to pour some foundations in spring or early summer and maybe have one running by showtime. Our show dates for 1990 are July 20, 21 and 22.

We already have a 2 cylinder, 140 HP Fairbanks Morse set up and running on the showgrounds. Just before showtime in 1989, someone went into the injector pumps and stole the injector pump discharge valves, then put the lines back into place, I suppose to try to keep the engine from being run at the 1989 show.

After finding out why the engine would not start I came back to my shop and made the two parts and we ran the engine the next day and all during the show.

One thing about moving the two engines that I am thankful for is the fact that no one was hurt (not even a cut finger), and no damage was done. I have seen pictures and heard about some of the things that can and have happened to people moving little, as well as large, engines. No matter what you are moving, do it safely.