The 3 HP Alpha Engine

| June/July 1994

  • 3 HP Alpha Engine

  • 3 HP Alpha Engine

Rt. 9, Box 356 Florence, Alabama 35633

Two years ago a group of local engine enthusiasts were invited to display their treasures at a local historical gathering. My dad and I decided to attend just to see and hear them run. While there, we heard talk of organizing a local club to promote and preserve old engines and tractors. We jumped in head first! We were hooked! The new club would be known as 'Shoals Flywheelers', and would grow to over fifty members in two years. On our way home, we talked about engines, and Dad's recollection of his first encounter with a 'one lunger'.

Dad, E. T. (Buck) Jaynes, was born July 4, 1918, on a dairy farm near Florence, Alabama. His uncle ran the dairy for a local doctor. During his early years, growing up at the dairy, Dad was fascinated with an engine that ran the milking machine. His most notable memory, was the time the crank shaft broke. The trusty Model 'T' truck was jacked up with the rear wheel removed to run the vacuum pump until a new one could be ordered.

Several months after our talk about the engine my dad, who is a master carpenter, was called upon to do some restoration work for the doctor's son at his home on the other side of Florence. As Dad was talking to him one day, the subject of the old engine came into the conversation. Dad asked if he knew whatever became of the old dairy engine. The answer came as quite a surprise. After over sixty years, Dad was standing within fifty yards of the historic engine. It had been saved, and was in the owner's barn. The bad news was, this gentleman was an antique dealer and collector.

After a week he could stand it no longer, and finally mustered the courage to return and ask the big question. 'Would there be any possibility that you might consider selling the old engine?' The answer came after a short pause to ponder the response' No, but I will give it to you.' I think Dad almost broke a world speed record, getting home and phoning me at work, with the news. Of course we had it home by that afternoon, but it was in sad condition after spending almost half a century on a dirt floor of a barn.

It took over two weeks to free the piston, but when the club had its first show in the fall, engine and owner were there, and looking proud!


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