It’s A Wonderful Fairbanks Morse

By Staff
1 / 3
Lyle Paddick, RR J, Box 320, Oblong, 111. 62449 found this engine in near original condition. Look inside for his story, 'It's A Wonderful Fairbanks-Morse.'
2 / 3
3 / 3

RR 1, Box 320, Oblong, Illinois 62449

I woke up this morning thinking about what we were doing back
about twenty years ago, and that’s how this story that I’m
about to tell you came about.

Paddick and Son Auction Service is located in east central
Illinois, just two miles outside a small rural community called
Oblong, population 1,800. At the time of this event, we had been in
business for about twelve years. We were engaged in buying and
selling used farm equipment, and held monthly farm machinery
consignment auctions as we were still paying for the family farm.
My son, Dennis, had finished school and began to work full-time in
our operation.

Early one morning a long time farmer, Mr. Kirk, stopped by our
business to discuss that he had decided to retire from farming and
that he would like us to take a look at his machinery and tools, as
he didn’t feel he had enough equipment to have a public
auction. Mr. Kirk wanted us to come out to his place and spend some
time with him to see what we might suggest. The farm was located a
few miles north of us and we told him that we would be glad to stop
by that same day.

The equipment consisted of an 8N Ford tractor, including all of
the three point tools, and a large inventory of old horse drawn
farming equipment. After we looked over all of the machinery
outside of the barn, Mr. Kirk suggested there were more things
inside the barn and invited us to come in. As we walked into the
barn I was immediately drawn to a wonderful looking engine, one
such as I’d never seen before. It seemed to be looking at me,
encouraging me to ‘come take a look.’ It was a Fairbanks
Morse with many brass parts in excellent condition, and my
instincts told me that this was a ‘special’ gas engine. The
barn had been used for storing hay, and the dry hay had given the
engine super protection from drawing dampness for years and years.
I turned to Mr. Kirk and asked him, ‘Do you intend to sell the
engine with the other equipment?’ He answered me by saying,
‘I haven’t any use for it now.’ He continued to tell me
that his father purchased it when he was a small lad. Furthermore,
that it had been used previously for several years to grind feed
for livestock. The grinding equipment consisted of a Litz burr mill
and corn shelter all set up as a unit. We made an offer and Mr.
Kirk accepted, saying that it was fine with him. Dennis and I drove
back to Oblong to get the tilt-bed truck so that we could load some
of the tools, but I certainly wanted this 8 HP Fairbanks Morse
engine to have priority and be loaded with other things on the
first trip.

Several days passed and I was in doubt about keeping this engine
or selling it, and so I contacted a buyer in Indiana. I invited him
to come by and see this very special engine, and he did so and left
a bid. I happened to be gone that day. It was a good offer, but
word had gotten around that we had purchased the engine and a day
or so later, Harry Chapman, a good friend, stopped by to look it
over. Harry had several engines of his own and I was eager to have
his advice. After looking it over, Harry said that he could get it
running with very little trouble, everything was intact and showed
very little wear in the moving parts. We discovered that squirrels
had carried nuts into the horizontal cylinder and the water hopper
for winter storage. Mice as well had taken a fancy to this engine
and had made a home within, but all it really needed was a good
cleaning. The leather on the end of the spring loaded wizard mag,
the mag which runs hot like a generator and rolls against the
flywheel, also governs the speed of the engine, and needed to be
replaced. Harry said he could make that by cutting a circle from an
8′ leather scraper like he used as a ‘roustabout’
worker in the oil fields by forcing the scraper through the pipe
with oil pressure. The leather was V4′ thick, just the same as
the original, and so it made it ‘good as new.’ A small
pinhole in the gas tank required only the attention of a drop of
solder and it too was fixed.

Owning this engine and finding it in original condition was the
dream of a lifetime, and I have valued this opportunity and have
appreciated and protected this fine example of engineering to keep
it in its original condition for others to marvel at and enjoy.
Once a year I do brush on a light coat of linseed oil to enhance
the color and to preserve the wood. This engine is mounted on
factory metal trucks; purchased at the same time were two wooden
clamps that are complete with bolts and wing nuts for locking the
wheels together when being used on the belt. (I didn’t show
them in the picture). They are for the purpose of stopping the
rocking motion which a hit and miss engine has.

I have fully retired now and have turned the family farm and the
used farm equipment business over to my son Dennis and his son

I feel like I’m in heaven already when being able to show my
8 HP Fairbanks Morse gas engine. Taking care of this special engine
gives me real pleasure, and how could one choose more relaxing
hobbies than exhibiting antique gas engines and going fishing?

I’ve been told that this engine is rare. If you have any
information about this type of engine or one like it, please
contact me-I’d like to visit with you about it.

The date of birth of this engine is stamped on the flywheel
shaft, on the right side of the engine. It is marked: 1910
Fairbanks Morse, 8 HP, 300 Rev., Serial #101469, built July 23,

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines