The 42-Year Itch: Fairbanks-Morse Model NB

From shed to shop, Bob Gill and Gene George managed to haul the carcass of a 12hp 1913 Fairbanks-Morse Model NB engine and restore its original splendor.

| October/November 2019

Bob Gill’s and Gene George’s 12hp 1913 Fairbanks-Morse Model NB, back together and ready to run 42 years after they acquired it.

The year was 1976. The United States was celebrating its 200th birthday, Gerald Ford would lose the presidential election in November to Jimmy Carter, Sylvester Stallone’s movie Rocky would win best picture at the Oscars, and in Paducah, Kentucky, Bob Gill and Gene George were on the search for antique gas engines.

The 12hp FM Model NB in the process of restoration.

Bob and Gene had known each other since ninth grade, and worked together. Gene was just starting to become interested in engines at the time, though Bob had been collecting since 1968 (see GEM, June/July 2014). Early in the year, one of their coworkers had mentioned that his wife’s grandfather had two engines for sale near Burna, Kentucky. Due to bad weather and other commitments, Bob and Gene weren’t able to follow up on the lead for a couple of months.


The 12hp FM Model NB as found in 1976.


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