P.O. Box 42, New Tripoli, Pennsylvania 18066
Located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, is the home and farm
of Sam Kriebel, engine enthusiast. Sam has seriously collected
engines for more than 30 years and has acquired a diverse group of
manufacturers, including rare local limited production makes.
However, Sam’s pride and joy is not a local name, but rather
one manufactured in Batavia, Illinois. It is a 5 HP Challenge,
serial #39, which was installed new on the farm on December 19,
Sam’s grandfather, Isaac Kriebel, purchased this engine from
the local dealer Jacob L. Freed in Lansdale, Pennsylvania (now an
auto dealer). Sam still has the original bill of sale showing the
cost of $300.00 less 10% for cash. The bill of sale also includes
the various hardware and line shaft to install the engine in a
Sam recalls that the engine’s main use was for pumping water
on the farm, along with the various other chores, such as wood
sawing, feed grinding, corn shelling, bag winch and thrashing in
the barn. He remembers, as a youngster, doing more than one chore
at a time, saying ‘If you needed to pump water, you didn’t
waste the power, you also went upstairs and shelled corn. The
object of the engine was to make life easier on the farm.’ In
the teens, a second Challenge was added to the power building,
mainly for the thrasher. It was an 8 HP, which unfortunately was
scrapped in the 1940s during the war. Sam says men came around to
farms on scrap drives during the war years and wanted old machines.
If you didn’t give up an old machine like the Challenge, they
gave you dirty looks and called you unpatriotic.
One afternoon the 5 HP came very close to becoming scrap. Sam
had picked up the sledge hammer and had given the flywheels a
couple of smacks, but before they broke up, he was interrupted by
his father who called him away to milk cows. Fortunately, no one
ever did get back to scrapping the old machine.
In the early ’30s a relatively more modern higher speed
magneto ignition Fairbanks-Morse was purchased to pump water. The
old 5 HP basically sat idle and unused for thirty years until about
1960 when Sam’s family picked up interest in working with these
older machines. Fortunately, between 1930 and 1960 the 5 HP had
been turned over and oiled, thus staying in good mechanical
condition as it is today. It starts only with the kick of a
flywheel on a good battery.