Rainy Day Fairbanks Morse

By Staff
article image

1543 Laguna Lane, Lakewood, New Jersey 08701

I ‘ve been an engine enthusiast for about five years and
have owned several Fairbanks Morse engines. I enjoy the stories in
GEM of finding engines, and you say to yourself, does this really
happen?

Well, John (Mr. Woodpecker) Smith and I went to the Fall 1992
Rough and Tumble engine show at Kinzer, Pennsylvania. On the way
back, using the same route we have taken many times, and close to
home, IT HAPPENED!

I told John to turn the truck around quick! I had just spotted
an engine about 300 feet up, in the driveway of the house we’d
just passed. John said, ‘You’re kidding, aren’t
you?’ I told him NO!!! John promptly turned around and we
pulled in the L-O-N-G driveway. It was an ENGINE!!! It was there
all alone, in the rain, in front of the garage, just waiting for
us. Our pulse rate was increasing dramatically, and I almost fell
out of the truck. Rushing to the door, I knocked, and excitedly
inquired if the engine were for sale. The response was, ‘YES!
Go take a look.’ We could not believe what was happening.

The engine was in the basement of the house when the current
owner moved in twenty-five years ago. He took it out the week
before, for their moving/garage sale. No one showed any interest in
it. The owner never had it running just left it in place where the
previous owner had used it to run a wood shop. We negotiated a
price, and within five minutes, the engine was loaded in the truck
along with two wooden boxes full of extra engine parts.

It took me about two hours fussing with the engine, cleaning the
igniter and mixer, setting the timing, oiling things that were dry,
to get it running. This engine runs very well and fires once every
thirty or so revolutions. It’s a beauty.

The following weekend I took the engine to the Pineland Antique
Engine Association Show at Batsto, New Jersey, where my new find
stirred up a lot of interest.

The engine turned out to be a Fairbanks Morse vertical, 2 HP,
Hit & Miss Jack of All Trades with cooling tank. The five digit
serial number dates the engine to around 1906.

Don’t ever say it can’t happen because it could, and in
the most unexpected places, even close to home!

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