Farm Collector

A Testament to Craftsmanship

Early pump and motor showcase uncommon attention to detail.

ne evening I attended a mini-school on pumps held by one of our suppliers. An older fellow from a plumbing firm in Hull, Iowa, was there as well. During the course of the evening, he mentioned having a couple old pumps. He had been to our museum, and said if the pumps were cleaned up, they’d look nice there.

He later delivered them to the supplier for me to pick up on my next trip. I got them home, cleaned them and painted the oldest one. I was struck by their graceful lines, both in the pulley and the pump, and the attention paid to detail during manufacturing. 

A big improvement over pumping water outside

To a modern plumber, the pump would not be much. The 1/6hp engine would likely generate enough power to deliver 200 gallons an hour (a modern residential submersible will pump that much water in 10 minutes).

Now, let’s think this over. Farmers’ wives were either getting water from the pump outside, or, if they had the luxury of a cistern to catch rainwater, they could have a pitcher pump over a dry sink in the kitchen, as my grandmother Lacey had.

This pump changed all that. With this, they could have a faucet above the sink with water coming from it. You did not need to go outside for water or pump it by hand (never mind the fact that it was still just cold water).

The pump and motor were built in Dayton, Ohio. Master Electric built the engine, and Monarch Engineering built the pump. Monarch is still in business, but this pump is not part of their current product offering!

The unit is finely crafted. It even has a threaded coupler to push the motor up to tighten the belt. With a little care (and clean water), these pump/motor assemblies would enjoy a long life with minimal attention, save for giving each end of the motor a few drops of oil every six months or so. So it goes. FC

Jim and Joan Lacey operate Little Village Farm, a museum of farm collectibles housed in 10 buildings at their home near Dell Rapids, S.D. Contact them at (605) 428-5979.

  • Published on Mar 9, 2021
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