The Brown Marvel

| October/November 1988

Rt 1, Box 151 Cumberland City, Tennessee 37050

Some thirty odd years ago, in the small middle Tennessee town where I live, an old gentleman ran a grist mill. He pulled the mill with a 10 HP, hopper-cooled Fairbanks Morse. About four or five years ago I thought I  would try to find his engine. After asking a lot of questions, I found out it was broken up for scrap iron, but while I was in the process of trying to find the 10 HP Fairbanks, I found an upright, air-cooled engine named The Brown Marvel, built by Ballou Mfg. Company in Belding, Michigan.

The engine was in an old shed across the street from the school I attended as a boy. It was frozen and stuck up as it had been sitting in the shed for some fifty-six years. I was told by a friend that it came out of an iron ore mine. We think it pulled a water pump used to wash the iron ore. The mine closed down in 1927 and the engine was put in the shed a couple of years later.

After a few nights of work we managed to get the engine apart. When we started putting it back together, we realized that the governor weight was missing. For three years we carried the engine to shows in five different states and never found anyone who had ever heard of The Brown Marvel. We then put a picture in the GEM asking for information. I received a letter from Mr. Anchor Hanson in Melda, Montana, saying he had restored a Brown Marvel, but sold it to Mr. Clyde Sherman, in Washingon State. Mr. Hanson said after about three or four years of searching he only found one more Brown Marvel in up-state New York. We know of only three of these engines at this time.

Mr. Sherman took the governor weight from his engine, and had one made for me at a local foundry. With the help of a couple of friends, I now have my engine in good running condition. Thanks to GEM for helping in getting the information I so desperately needed.