Adirondack Engine

A 1910 Fairbanks-Morse Comes Out of Hiding

Fairbanks Morse

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Some guys have all the luck: Bob Naske is the lucky new owner of this very original 1910 F-M 1- HP, sitting on what appears to be its original cart.

This has never happened to me before, although I do read about it happening to others. I recently received an e-mail from a man whom I had never met concerning an old Fairbanks-Morse engine. Somehow, my small web site ( came up on his search for 'old engines.' His e-mail said he had a '1910 FM 1- HP on an original-looking metal cart.' From there, he went through the entire history of the engine - right from the name of the original owner and where and what the engine was used for! He said he was thinking of selling it, but had no idea how to start the process or what it was worth. My reply was that I would certainly help him, and I asked where he was or if pictures were available. The location given to me was only an hour away, so I made the short trip to look at it and give him my suggestions. I took along C.H. Wendel's Fairbanks-Morse - 100 Years for reference and serial number dating.

Upon meeting this nice retired gentleman and his family, we looked over the engine and he again told me that it came from a camp on a lake in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York, where it was used to run a small, portable saw mill. There was still some oil-soaked sawdust here and there on the engine. The magneto had been taken off and stored in his house and the engine had been kept in his dry garage. It was missing only the muffler and was untouched by any restorer's hand. Very little rust was evident, although the original paint was faded. The original engine components included the starting crank, gas tank, crank guard, oiler and the truck that the original owner had placed it on. The Sumter magneto had the usual warped and cracked pot-metal base. He asked me what I thought it could sell for, and before replying with any monetary value I expressed my interest in owning the engine. This would make his disposal of the engine as painless as possible. I then quoted a price that I would pay for it, and he said he was thinking of the same figure. I left him my book to look at and went back the next day to pick everything up. I invited him to see my collection at his convenience, and I think I made a friend.

The engine turned out to be a headless 'Z' made in 1915, serial number 162215. To obtain such an original engine so close to home and not have to pay an outrageous price for it was certainly a nice experience. And as a bonus, I know the complete history of the engine - something I can't say about any of my others.

The magneto is being repaired, and as I got the engine in the fall of 2001 I have time to get it running for the 2002 show season. It will certainly be left original as a tribute to its former owners.

Contact engine enthusiast Bob Naske at: 2059 State Hwy. 29, Johnstown, NY 12095.