Farm Collector


Frick Company, Waynesboro, Penna.

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C, is acquiring a
portable steam engine and boiler believed to have the longest
operating record of any such engine in America.

Built in 1877, moved from place to place over rough roads, and
left out of doors in all kinds of weather for decades, this outfit
was in active service for 72 years. Now rebuilt, the engine runs
smoothly in spite of its 82 years. The boiler is no longer able to
withstand pressure, but has been fitted with new doors, a new
stack, and new woodwork for the wheels.

The outfit was made by Frick Company at its plant in Waynesboro,
Penna., and was the second model of a long line of portable
engines. It was assigned number 315, and still carries this
designation on the steam chest of the engine.

The equipment was first sold by a firm in Baltimore to a man in
Madison County, Virginia, named Alfred Walters. He used it nearly a
quarter of a century for driving sawmills at various locations in
the woods; he also owned another Frick portable engine. The boilers
were fired by Hammett Kilby, who died a number of years ago.

About 1901 Walters sold engine No. 315 to J. C. Clore & Son,
who had been operating a wood-working plant for making chairs at
Madison Courthouse since 1830. The Clore plant is still going
strong, and in a year’s time now turns out 2400 or more chairs,
chiefly of walnut.


  • Published on Mar 1, 1960
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