| January/February 1989

Drip-oiler found in water hopper

The day she fired off! Notice original drip-oiler found in water hopper.

37 Chestnut Hill E. Hampton, Connecticut 06424

Last summer, at a local tag sale, I spotted an old engine. It turned out to be a Fairbanks-Morse 3 HP Z. It looked like it needed a lot of tender loving care. The owner said he'd never had it running, but, it seemed to be complete. The flywheels turned, stiff but free. I had always been interested in old farm equipment, and maybe I could get it running.

I took the old engine home (I was bitten). Under all the years of grease and rust was an engine begging to be run. One of the bearing caps was broken in two. Thanks to a good friend, it's now brazed back together. When I was cleaning out the water hopper, down under all of the debris, was the original (?) drip-oiler. The glass was broken but I soon found a new one. With everything cleaned up, the day came to try to get it started. I wheeled her over a couple of times, she coughed and fired up in a cloud of thick, rich smoke that soon cleared. She took off running free!

Soon after that I took it to a show. She ran all day in the rain. As I walked around the displays I saw a unique happiness in the eyes of the exhibitors. This puzzled me and ate at my mind.

This winter/early summer I took the Fairbanks-Morse down to nuts and bolts. Each piece was cleaned, sealed, filled and primed. I partially reassembled it and primed it again. Then I tracked down the original color and painted it. I polished all the brass and it is now complete. She is restored 100% (almost). The original nameplate was found in the main body under an inch of ancient grease and oil. It now shines proudly on the water hopper.

I am taking it to a local show this weekend. I now know that unique happiness, and I'm sure it shows in my eyes. What a feeling to breathe new life into old iron.