A Dandy Little 'D'

| August/September 2000

1108 Emery Lane Clarksville, Indiana 47129-1508

The Fairbanks-Morse Company was started sometime in the year 1823, and by the 1920s was an extremely successful operation, manufacturing and selling all manner of hardware type items, especially for the farm. In 1913, the company abandoned its already popular hopper cooled type N gas engine for a completely new version called the Type Z. The type Z was an instant success. The small and compact 1? HP Z Model D of 1928 was no exception. It was successful from the beginning. The D was a very popular engine in the 1920s, and today's collectors of 'old iron' are still enamored by this little jewel. Probably one reason for the D's popularity among today's collectors is the fact it weighs roughly 160 pounds, thus it is no problem to load or unload at your favorite engine rally. Rated at 1? HP, the D could be ordered from the factory with a variety of additions. These extras could include an extended crankshaft, steel skids instead of wood, and also an auxiliary water hopper made of sheet steel. Of course all of these additions were added to the base price of the engine, which was approximately $55.00.

However, by the late Thirties the base price had almost doubled. Any additions such as steel skids instead of the traditional wood skids added a hefty cost of $4.00 per unit. This would not be much by today's standards, however you must keep in mind the D was being manufactured and sold during the period commonly referred to as the 'depression days,' and $4.00 wasn't easy to obtain. At that particular time in history a used Model T Ford automobile could be purchased for approximately $5.00. If a farmer or a city dweller had intentions of buying a hopper-cooled gas engine it is doubtful it would be ordered with any high-priced additions unless they were absolutely necessary. However, Fairbanks-Morse Company, like many large companies building and selling gas engines, tried in every way to satisfy the wants of its customers and, at the same time, produce an excellent product at a reasonable price. Costwise the F-M D was competitive and, with a large selection of special additions, the D was a popular source of power.

1: View of the mixer side of the D, this is a 1938 model. Notice the groove in the flywheel! The 750 watt generator is missing.

2: This photo reveals the extra long spark plug wire that is necessary. Also note the street L for filling the water hopper. There are no openings in the radiator to accomplish this purpose.

3: This view shows the oil gauge and the FMJ magneto. A muffler was not necessary. Photos numbered 1, 2, and 3, are all views of the 1938 model.