Familiar Places

A rare Faribault comes home to Minnesota

| February 2007

  • BackviewofFaribaultEngine.jpg
    'The back view of the Faribault engine, serial no. 795. '
  • FaribaultEnginebyHarlan.jpg
    This view of the Faribault engine shows how beautifully it was restored by Harlan Hjermstad.
  • BrassTag.jpg
    'Right: This brass tag is all that remains of another engine made at Faribault, No. 729. It appears that the number four was superimposed over the two to show what horsepower this engine was supposed to be. Notice how the design is different from the tag on the actual engine (above). Harlan Hjermstad owns this tag, held by Dick Sunsdahl. Far right: An end view of the 4 HP Faribault engine in a newly-refurbished addition to the State Bank of Faribault, Minn. '
  • Faribaultengines.jpg
    Faribault engines from 6 HP on up looked like this portable from the 1910 catalog.
  • 2viewsof4HPFaribaultengine.jpg
    'Two views of the 4 HP Faribault engine, showing the governor (left) and sideshaft and the workings of the engine. '
  • mountedopen-jacketFaribault.jpg
    The mounted open-jacket Faribault engine from a 1910 company catalog. It was made in 3 and 4 HP sizes.
  • DickCarlander.jpg
    'Dick Carlander (left), president of the State Bank of Faribault shakes Harlan Hjermstad’s hand. Harlan sold the engine to the bank to preserve its heritage. Dick Sunsdahl (right) played a key role in bringing the engine home. '

  • BackviewofFaribaultEngine.jpg
  • FaribaultEnginebyHarlan.jpg
  • BrassTag.jpg
  • Faribaultengines.jpg
  • 2viewsof4HPFaribaultengine.jpg
  • mountedopen-jacketFaribault.jpg
  • DickCarlander.jpg

The chances of getting a Faribault gasoline engine to come back home seemed slim to none to the people of Faribault, Minn. In fact, nobody knew exactly how many of the rare engines existed since their manufacture by Faribault Engine Mfg. Co. began a hundred years ago - or where they might be located. But people did know they were rare, so attaining one would cost a pretty penny. Even if it was possible to get one.

Stirring the drink

Though he wouldn't admit it, the straw that stirred the drink was Dick Sunsdahl of Faribault, along with his friend, Bill Helling. "For years, Dick Sunsdahl and I wanted to see a Faribault engine come back," Bill says.

Dick's nephew David Sunsdahl of Stephen, Minn., had found some Faribault engine literature and Dick had it displayed in his shop. "I would always ask people in the community and my collector friends whether they knew of any Faribault engines," Dick says.

A 2006 auction ad in Farm Collector magazine not only advertised a Faribault engine for sale, but even better, revealed it was in Minnesota.



"Right in the middle of the auction bill was a Faribault engine, being sold at the Dale Hindahl auction at Byron, Minn.," Dick says. "What an experience that was to see that engine up for sale! I didn't even know that engine existed in Minnesota. I just knew I had to take part in trying to obtain that engine and get it home to Faribault."

Actually, Dick admits he wanted the engine for his own collection. "I knew it would fit my needs and style of my hobby, because it had been manufactured here in Faribault, so I was attached to the idea of what a tremendous history and heritage it would be, representing the manufacturing of this community, a very unique, high-quality engine.