The Twenty-Five Dollar Engine

Model Z Fairbanks-Morse

Content Tools

18 Dolbeare Drive Louisiana, MO 63353

An article in the June issue of G.E.M. sort of reminded me of the acquisition of my first antique engine which was about twenty five years ago.

I was born and reared in Eolia, a small town of about 300 people in east central Missouri. They used to have benches on the streets for people to sit and visit. One day I was sitting on a bench talking to a Mr. Horace Hoskins who was about 85 years old at the time.

I expressed the desire of obtaining an old engine, and he replied that he had one he no longer needed and would be willing to sell. Then he told me a little of the history of the engine.

This engine is a 1? HP model Z Fairbanks-Morse. John Booloodian, who operated a candy kitchen and ice cream parlor in Eolia bought this engine new in 1916 for twenty-five dollars. He used the engine on a five gallon ice cream freezer from 1916 until 1925 when electric power was brought into town. At that time Mr. Booloodian replaced this engine with an electric motor. Mr. Hoskins bought the engine from Mr. Booloodian. Mr. Hoskins said, 'Mr. Booloodian stated that he got twenty five dollars worth of good out of it so he would sell it to me for twenty five dollars.' Mr. Hoskins used this engine on a water pump for a while. Then, as he was a carpenter, he put the engine on a concrete mixer and it was used that way for years. When I asked Mr. Hoskins how much he wanted for it, he gave a little laugh and said, 'Well, I paid Johnnie twenty-five dollars for it, and I guess I got twenty-five dollars worth of good out of it, so I will sell it to you for twenty five dollars.'

I never have been able to figure out their reasoning, but you may be assured I have not got my twenty-five dollars worth of good out of it yet and I don't think it likely I will. In other words, it is not for sale!

I thought I was buying only the engine, but he sold me the complete mixer. He had mounted it on a wood frame, which was about rotted out. Later, I loaned the mixer to my good friend Clarence Fischer of Clarksville, MO, who by the way is retired as a field-man for the John Deere Company. Mr. Fischer, a man of many talents, and a good craftsman, decided to rebuild the frame of the mixer. He used steel and really did a wonderful job. It should last forever and that's a long time.

Of all the use this engine had during the years, it is still in its original configuration and has never been overhauled. It starts easy and runs good, and if you stay with the mixer for 8 hours you will know you have done a day's work.