Preservation for the Future

By Staff
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Fezzy with his 1917 3 HP screen-cooled Fairbanks-Morse Z engine, serial no. 249897.
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The 1906 Canadian 5 HP?Fairbanks N, serial no. C3159, for which Fezzy sacrificed a nice 10 HP Root &VanDervoort.
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Gas engines are a family affair with the?Hanauers. (From left) Patty, Ben,Mercedes and Fezzy, with the 15 HP Fairbanks.
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The 1906 Canadian 5 HP?Fairbanks N, serial no. C3159, for which Fezzy sacrificed a nice 10 HP Root &VanDervoort.
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The 1931 15 HP Fairbanks-Morse screen-cooled engine, serial no. 768581, on exhibit during the Albany, Minn., Pioneer Days?Threshing Show.
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The timing gears and magneto of the 15 HP FM.
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The badge shows basic information about the 3 HP?Fairbanks-Morse Z.
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A view from the front, showing the exhaust valve.
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A flat belt would fit onto this flywheel on the FMZ.

Although Bob “Fezzy” Hanauer of Albany, Minn.,
has been a serious collector of everything from old motorcycles to
antique snowmobiles, antique gas pumps and small tractors, he
always comes back to gasoline engines as a favorite.

“My dad, Bob Sr., was involved with the first Stearns County
Pioneer Days, so I kind of grew up around it. I started playing
with gasoline engines when I was 7 years old,” Fezzy says.

In fact, Fezzy got his first engine when he was 13 years old.
“It was on an old farmstead south of Albany. Mom and Dad became
friends with the person who lived there, and one day they mentioned
they had this old gas engine,” Fezzy remembers. “We went out and
looked at it, brought it home, and I tinkered around with it. That
was the first engine I made run. It was a 1-1/2 HP Monarch, and
they were the original owners.”

His tinkering probably comes down through his genes, as his dad
has been involved with engines for many years, as well as his great
uncle, Ben Hanauer. Ben built a model steam engine based on a
Corliss twin-cylinder engine, a home-made tractor, a riding lawn
mower and many other items.

Over the years, the 41-year-old collector has had a variety of
engines, from a 10 HP Root & VanDervoort to a Jumbo, an Economy
and others – but it was a little Briggs & Stratton that really
got him hooked, and cemented his friendship with Pete Kruger. “We
pulled that little Briggs &Stratton F off the shelf and worked
on it until we got it running. Then we just sat in the shed and
watched it run. Three hours later, after five or six phone calls
from my wife wondering when I was going to come home for supper, I
was hooked,” Fezzy says. “Everybody has their own little thing.
Some people like football, some golf, but I enjoy engines. The
thing I enjoy most about collecting stuff is driving around and
meeting people. You won’t get a purchase every time you go
somewhere, but it’s always fun to sit down and spend an afternoon
with an older gentleman who collected these for years and years –
and learn a little bit more about the engines and the hobby.”

Fezzy’s fascination with Fairbanks-Morse engines hinges a great
deal on their looks. “There are so many different types of FM gas
engines produced through the years, so many different models and so
many variations of each model,” Fezzy says. For example, his 3 HP
upright Model T looks totally different and is built different from
one with a serial number only three apart. “That intrigued me. From
what I learned, FM would pretty much build you an engine to meet
your specifications,” Fezzy says. “They were probably one of the
largest producers of gas engines at the time, and probably one of
the longest-lasting, so it’s kind of neat to see them making from 1
HP to several hundred horsepower engines.”

So he began collecting FM engines. One is a 1906 Canadian 5 HP
N, serial no. C3159, for which he had to sacrifice a nice R&V
10 HP. “It’s a hot-tube with an igniter engine, and one of the
things that really gives me a kick is when my 12-year-old daughter
can start it and run it,” Fezzy says. Mercedes opened her 5th grade
classmates’ eyes when, during a field trip to the Pioneer Days
grounds, she heard the boys “oohing” and “aahing” over the machine,
then stepped forward and started it.

Fezzy says both of his children, Mercedes and Ben, are really
into the engines. “That’s one of my reasons for being down there at
the grounds, to basically get the kids involved. I’ve been
fortunate. I grew up around this stuff, even though I didn’t live
on a farm. I’d like to see things get passed down generation to

“Kids nowadays don’t realize what this stuff is unless they’re
taught. They don’t realize what a person had to go through just a
hundred years ago to live. It’s fun to look at their expression
when I tell them this particular engine spent its life producing
light so people could see what they were doing, or pumping water so
people could take a bath. Today you just turn a key or flick a
switch, but years ago you had to crank the engines to get them
going. In their lives, everything might have not been just right,
and unreliable as everything was, it was the best they had. They
had to live that way, because there was no other way to live.”

Another of Fezzy’s FM engines is a 1931 15 HP screen-cooled
engine, serial no. 768581. “I had put word out that I was looking
for a larger FM engine, and a friend called me and said he was
going on a hunting trip,” Fezzy says.

The upshot was that the friend found the 15 HP engine and hauled
it back from Canada. Fezzy thought he would have to go get it, so
he was surprised. He had also been told the machine, which was a
ball of rust, as he says, did not have a magneto, so he figured
he’d have to spring for that. After he’d examined the engine, the
friend pulled the magneto out of his pickup and gave it to him.

Fezzy’s work on the 15 HP machine reflects his personal beliefs.
“There was a repair done on the side of the cylinder many years
ago, and I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to weld over all
the cracks to make an engine look better. Somebody spent the time
to make the engine a usable engine and to make it work, so we
didn’t take off the patch bolted to the cylinder,” he says. “It
shows that in the old days they repaired things, and didn’t just
throw them away and get a new one. Besides, it gives it a little
bit of character.”

The screen had to be completely rebuilt, and Pete Kruger did
yeoman work in helping Fezzy get the machine into tiptop shape.

After rebuilding the engine, they found an original drawing of
the cart, and built that. “It’s as close to original as we could
make it, except for the front wheels, which aren’t the same size as
the back ones,” Fezzy says. “Doing this engine was a real big
learning experience, because it was the first one we did total
restoration on. It’s a nice big gas engine.”

He also has a 6 HP FM H with a red stripe on the flywheel. “It’s
a real slow-running engine with a clutch pulley on the side,” Fezzy
says. The hit-and-miss engine fires only three or four times a
minute, and coasts the rest of the time, so when kids see it, they
often jump back when it fires. “The younger generation that comes
through the buildings during the show are interested in the
engines, and ask a lot of questions,” Fezzy says. “They want to
know how this old stuff works. Farm life years ago depended on
these things. Without them, there was no electricity, no water,
nothing else.”

Fairbanks-Morse king

Fezzy’s favorite engine is his 1917 Fairbanks-Morse
screen-cooled 3 HP Z, serial no. 249897, a model that was only
manufactured from 1917-1918. “I’ve seen a picture of one on the
Internet, but that’s the only other one I’ve ever seen. So I think
it’s pretty rare,” Fezzy says. “I looked at this engine for quite a
few years, and wanted it, but it was never for sale. When it did
come up, I had to part with three other engines so I could get this
one.” Those were a pair of Jumbos and an Economy.

This 3 HP is the smallest screen-cooled engine the company made,
and was made in two styles. The farm engine had a clutch pulley on
the side, while the generator engine, like the one Fezzy has, had a
wider flywheel on the opposite side as the magneto.

Though this engine and several other of Fezzy’s FM engines are
fairly easy to date through serial numbers, some are not. “All the
engines ran in succession, so if a 600 HP 4-cylinder upright came
off the line in Wisconsin, the next serial numbers might be a 2 HP
D salt-block engine,” Fezzy says. Canadian serial numbers did not,
however, follow this pattern.

As a sidelight to his collection, Fezzy has several 100-year-old
engines, the 5 HP Canadian N already mentioned, a 4 HP H and 3 HP
T. “It’s kind of neat to see the progress we’ve made from what was
back then a hundred years ago, to now – how much things have
changed, and how much they haven’t changed, how things are built,
how they run and what makes them tick,” he says.

Today, in addition to his collection of FM engines, Fezzy has a
1 HP Gray, a 6 HP Eaton that came out of Canada, and his wife has a
5 HP Galloway that’s been in the family since it was new. “Her
great-uncle purchased it brand new as a saw rig, and when her uncle
passed away we had just started dating, so we went to the auction.
The saw rig cart was sold for $5 for scrap, but it didn’t interest
me at that time,” Fezzy recalls. “The engine was stuck outside for
30 years, and as her father developed Alzheimer’s we tried to get
the engine redone before he passed away, but we didn’t quite make
it. We have the original bill of sale and the company certificate
that came with it. We just about have it back to life now.”

Fezzy says he wishes more people knew about the actual and
sentimental value of many of the old engines. “The price of scrap
iron is up, so you still hear stories about how people scrapped
these old engines, and how someone will be driving by a scrap yard,
see an old engine and save it,” he says. “I want the hobby to keep
growing, and fortunately our Stearns County show (Albany, Minn.,
Pioneer Days Threshing Show, held the third weekend in September)
has continued to grow from year to year. Our gas engine display is
really growing. In the last five years, we’ve had several different
people bring gas engines, and we’re working to make this one of the
largest gas engine shows in the state of Minnesota. Every year it
gets a little better. But on the other hand, every time one of the
older people in the club passes on, that’s knowledge that is gone
forever, not only on the old gas engines, but the great old prairie
tractors, like the Aultman & Taylor and Rumely. Those big
machines had about 36 HP, while today’s tractors of the same size
and weight have several hundred horse.

“A lot of my friends couldn’t understand, and people still can’t
today, why I play with this old stuff,” Fezzy says. One of the
reasons is that it’s a family affair for the Hanauers. His wife,
Patty, helps with the sandblasting, they get involved and they go
to different shows together. “One of the big things in my life is
to preserve stuff so kids can remember how things were done,” Fezzy
says. “If we don’t do it now, nobody else will.”

Bill Vossler is a freelance writer and author of several books
on antique farm tractors and toys. Contact Bill at: Box 372, 400
Caroline Lane, Rockville, MN 56369;

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