Old Threshers Pick 1989 STEAM ENGINE OF THE YEAR

Steam Engine

Jim Adams

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A reprint (with permission) from Threshers Craft, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, January/February/March 1989 issue. Submitted by Jim Adams, Midwest Old Threshers, Route 1, Threshers Road, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa 52641.

The Midwest Old Threshers Board of Directors selected a 25 HP Russell steam engine as 'Steam Engine of the Year' for the 1989 Midwest Old Threshers Reunion, scheduled for August 31 to September 4. The engine, owned by Charles and Alden Fricke, Mt. Union, Iowa was chosen several months ago, even before the 1988 Reunion was history.

The Fricke brothers acquired the steam engine, built in 1922, from Lloyd Widmer, Winfield, Iowa. Widmer is a former director, steam engineer and volunteer at Midwest Old Threshers. He retired from the Board of Directors in 1982.

The engine has received 'tender loving care' from the Frickes during their ownership. In 1952, it was completely restored.

In 1981, the Frickes replaced the flues, setting the engine up in a location on the Midwest Old Threshers grounds. A tree was used to support the front of the engine and rail ties were utilized to give support to the other portion of the engine as work progressed.

In 1985, the engine was taken to Cedar Rapids, Iowa where Tunnie Melsha replaced the flue sheet at that time.

In addition to this steam traction engine, Alden and Charles Fricke also exhibit tractors and gas engines, as well as three other steam engines. The steam engines are: a 6 horse power Russell engine built in 1899; a 6 horse power Nichols and Shepard engine built in 1885; and a 12 horse power Russell engine built in 1914.

The Fricke brothers have had a long association with Midwest Old Threshers and have given of their time and energies to support the Association through its forty years of existence. Their efforts were recognized in a small way in 1988 when they were both given Old Threshers Awards during a special ceremony at grandstand, prior to the Cavalcade of Power.