Rock Star: Fairbanks-Morse Z Rock Crusher

Early rock crushers were critical to crop production – and provided an additional revenue stream on the farm.

| April 2019

 fred-rock-toss
Fred tosses a large limestone rock into the rock crusher during a demonstration at the 2018 Midwest Old Threshers Reunion.
Photo by J.O. Parker

The antique rock crusher at the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion has been a people pleaser for 40 years, drawing steady crowds to watch and learn as the machine clanks and churns, turning limestone boulders into gravel.

With several demonstrations held daily during the annual reunion, which takes place in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, over a five-day stretch ending on Labor Day, volunteers Fred Fleming and Mike Dietze work like a well-oiled machine, tossing limestone into the rock crusher.

The two men, both from the Lincoln, Nebraska, area, have been attending the reunion since 1982. They typically arrive at the reunion grounds about a week early to help set up the stationary gas engine area. Part of that involves helping other volunteers haul rock from a nearby quarry to use in the crusher demonstrations.



Adding a crusher to the display

Built by Wheeling Mold & Foundry Co., Wheeling, West Virginia, Mt. Pleasant’s rock crusher was donated to the Old Threshers association in the 1970s. The Wheeling firm was established prior to 1900; the crusher was likely built between 1910-1930. At some point, one of the crusher’s flywheels was replaced with one from Universal Crusher Co., Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

wheeling-rock-crusher
The rock crusher at Mount Pleasant, which dates to the early 1900s, was built by Wheeling (West Virginia) Mold & Foundry Co.
Photo by J.O. Parker



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