Frozen Fairbanks Engine

Fairbanks Engine

Clark W. Colby

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R.D. #1, Lang Drive, Amsterdam, New York 12010

I've always been interested in old engines, but never really got involved until March 1985. My two great-uncles owned a farm and my friends and I were always visiting them. While there one day in March we noticed an interesting piece of iron poking up through the ruins of an old building that had collapsed. We investigated and discovered a 1? HP Fairbanks engine, serial #5466. It was frozen in the ground halfway up the crank. My great-uncle told me they had bought it at an auction in 1935 and were never able to make it run properly. It sat in that building for 50 years.

My friend and I worked at it most of that day and I took it home with me that night. It was badly pitted and it took about 100 hours labor to get it running and painted. I was new to the hobby and needed advice on the paint color. I would describe it as an upright Fairbanks. My friends assumed it was a Fairbanks Morse and told me to paint it a dark green. I later found out it is a Fairbanks as built by Bates and Edmonds and it should have been painted oxblood red.

I then joined the Tri-County Old Time Power Association, Inc. and participated in a show in April 1985 at the Old Home Days in Mayfield, New York. I took the engine my great-uncles had given me. It ran beautifully all day . Both of my great-uncles, Clarence and Edward Sager, were there to hear it run.

I have since increased my collection of engines including several other types, bringing my total to 13 now. My main interest is in the Fairbanks as built by Bates and Edmonds.