The Twenty-Five Dollar Engine

By Staff
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18 Dolbeare Drive Louisiana, MO 63353

An article in the June issue of G.E.M. sort of reminded me of
the acquisition of my first antique engine which was about twenty
five years ago.

I was born and reared in Eolia, a small town of about 300 people
in east central Missouri. They used to have benches on the streets
for people to sit and visit. One day I was sitting on a bench
talking to a Mr. Horace Hoskins who was about 85 years old at the
time.

I expressed the desire of obtaining an old engine, and he
replied that he had one he no longer needed and would be willing to
sell. Then he told me a little of the history of the engine.

This engine is a 1? HP model Z Fairbanks-Morse. John Booloodian,
who operated a candy kitchen and ice cream parlor in Eolia bought
this engine new in 1916 for twenty-five dollars. He used the engine
on a five gallon ice cream freezer from 1916 until 1925 when
electric power was brought into town. At that time Mr. Booloodian
replaced this engine with an electric motor. Mr. Hoskins bought the
engine from Mr. Booloodian. Mr. Hoskins said, ‘Mr. Booloodian
stated that he got twenty five dollars worth of good out of it so
he would sell it to me for twenty five dollars.’ Mr. Hoskins
used this engine on a water pump for a while. Then, as he was a
carpenter, he put the engine on a concrete mixer and it was used
that way for years. When I asked Mr. Hoskins how much he wanted for
it, he gave a little laugh and said, ‘Well, I paid Johnnie
twenty-five dollars for it, and I guess I got twenty-five dollars
worth of good out of it, so I will sell it to you for twenty five
dollars.’

I never have been able to figure out their reasoning, but you
may be assured I have not got my twenty-five dollars worth of good
out of it yet and I don’t think it likely I will. In other
words, it is not for sale!

I thought I was buying only the engine, but he sold me the
complete mixer. He had mounted it on a wood frame, which was about
rotted out. Later, I loaned the mixer to my good friend Clarence
Fischer of Clarksville, MO, who by the way is retired as a
field-man for the John Deere Company. Mr. Fischer, a man of many
talents, and a good craftsman, decided to rebuild the frame of the
mixer. He used steel and really did a wonderful job. It should last
forever and that’s a long time.

Of all the use this engine had during the years, it is still in
its original configuration and has never been overhauled. It starts
easy and runs good, and if you stay with the mixer for 8 hours you
will know you have done a day’s work.

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines