Hiram Am and us Frantz:

STORY OF A PENNSYLVANIA PREACHER/INVENTOR


| September/October 1984



Box 385, RD1, Pine Street Slatington, PA 18080

In the summer of 1976 I saw a huge one cylinder engine in operation at the Blue Mountain Gas &. Steam Engine Meet at Jack town, Pennsylvania. I learned that it was a Dieter engine rated at 15 HP, and that the present owner uses it to power a silo filling blower. I was astonished at this use, but the owner assured me it is a very reliable and powerful engine, weighing at least three tons.

Evidently, several other Dieter engines are still in existence, perhaps unidentified, as there are very few identification marks or name plates on this make.

I soon realized that the Dieter engine was made by the Dieter Foundry in Cherryville, Pennsylvania, a village that I can see across the Lehigh River from my farm at Rising Sun. A former neighbor of mine, Mr. Leslie Remaley had worked at Dieter's Foundry between 1930 and 1940, so I spoke to him about the Dieter engine. He referred to it as a Frantz engine, saying that the credit for its design should be given to a Rev. Frantz. He told me the engines had no longer been in production when he worked there, as a fire had destroyed the patterns, and demand for one cylinder engines had dropped because electric motors and farm tractors were in common use by 1930. Mr. Remaley referred me to a mutual acquaintance, Hiram Frantz, who knows much about the early years of automobiles and one cylinder engines used on the farm and in the home. Mr. Frantz is the name sake of his uncle, Rev. Hiram Amandus Frantz, and he unfolded this story:

The Reverend Frantz was born in 1864, near Schiedy, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, one of eleven children. The first known evidence of his mechanical ability was a modification of a treadle powered sewing machine. Rev. Frantz served as pastor of a church in the Tamaqua, PA area from 1895 to 1900 during which time his wife was injured and lost some use of her feet. To enable her to use a sewing machine, Rev. Frantz designed and built a wind up mechanism for her sewing machine so that she used her feet only to operate a brake pedal. The sewing machine with its wind up mechanism is still in the possession of Mr. Frantz. It was patented and marketed by Rev. Frantz.

In 1900, Rev. Frantz became the pastor of churches at Cherryville and Kreidersville, PA. He developed a close friendship with Dieter's Foundry owners and they gave Rev. Frantz an outlet for his mechanical ability. Working together, with Frantz designing and the Dieters producing, the one cylinder gasoline and kerosene engines became a reality.