Frick Company, Waynesboro, Penna.
With the exception of windmills, the Clore plant has used, in
turn, all the recognized forms of power. After beginning with
hand-and-foot-power tools, the pioneers in the business constructed
a huge slanting wheel, over 30 feet in diameter, which was turned
by a bull, and later a horse.
With all its size, this treadmill developed considerably less
than one horsepower continuously. Four horses were later hitched to
the wheel by means of sweeps, and cogs were used to multiply the
A dam was next thrown across a nearby stream and the fall
utilized for water power to drive the sawmill, a planer, lathes and
other machinery. This served for a good many, years, until a boiler
and steam engine were installed outside the plant, with a long belt
running to the shafting.
This served until about 1895, when a vertical boiler and engine
were placed inside the factory. Sparks, rising straight upward
through the tubes of the boiler, caught the roof on fire in April,
1901, and burned down the plant.
When it was rebuilt, the Frick engine was put in service. Steam
from the horizontal boiler was used for heating the building in
winter, operating a kiln for drying lumber, and bending pieces used
in chairs and other furniture; at the same time the engine drove
the machinery. Later, gas-engine power, was tried, and finally
electric motors were installed.
The 1877 engine was kept for reserve power, and steam continued
to be drawn from the boiler for various heating purposes. When the
big power house at Riverton, Va., was submerged by flood waters, a
few years ago, the Frick steam engine was put back on its load.
The engine has a bore of seven inches and a stroke of ten
inches; it was originally rated at about ten horsepower. The boiler
has the old style cone-shaped ‘expansion’ band at the
waist, and was one of the first pieces of Frick equipment to carry
the ‘ECLIPSE’ trademark, which later became known the world
For some years the boiler and engine were mounted on a concrete
base at the Clore factory, where they remained in service until
November, 1949. The wheels have now been replaced and the outfit
can be easily transported. On February 7, 1950, Clore wrote, ‘I
did not care to carry over 75 pounds of steam, knowing that the
engine was old; however, it might be made to carry 100 pounds or
George Frick, who founded Frick Company in 1853, had begun
building light farm machinery and the turntables called
‘horsepowers’ in the late 1840’s. His first steam
engine was constructed in 1850.
The early Frick engines were used chiefly in small mills, as an
adjunct to water power; later they were mounted on wheels and made
portable, for driving threshers and sawmills. In the 1880’s and
succeeding years many thousands of Frick steam traction engines
were also produced.
In 1950 F. Hal Higgins published in the Pennsylvania Farmer
magazine the statement that, ‘No name in American agricultural
implements stands higher or has survived longer than that of
In the early 1880’s Frick Company started making Corliss
engines and refrigerating machines. The life of the heavy
engine-driven ammonia compressors was also remarkable; many of them
were in continuous operation, day and night, for forty or even
fifty years, and some ran sixty.