P. O. Box 70 Climax, North Carolina 27233
It all began when the Frick Company management realized that a considerable amount of valuable storage space in their plant at Waynesboro, Pennsylvania was being occupied by steam engine foundry patterns of a long gone steam era and the decision was made to dispose of these patterns, as soon as possible, even burning them if necessary.
Mr. W. J. Eshleman of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, then employed by the Frick Company, persuaded management to let him make an effort to save the patterns for posterity. With the encouragement of Mr. Eshleman, four members of the Williams Grove Steam Engine Association formed a partnership and acquired the patterns and drawings. These men were William S. Strayer, John Baish, Willis E. Fisher and Roy Richwine. Under the leadership of Bill Strayer, the patterns were moved and stored in an old mill near Williams Grove, Pennsylvania. The patterns were then used to make parts for Frick steam engines on request.
These four gentlemen also organized the Frick Engine Club as a means of gathering and dispensing information on Frick steam engines. The club brought Frick engine owners closer together and made it easier for them to enjoy their hobby.
Then, in 1970, Mr. John Baish passed away and the other three partners decided to sell the patterns and drawings so Mr. Baish's estate could receive his share.
A museum in Georgia purchased the patterns and drawings, but found it inconvenient to move them. After approximately a year, James S. Ferree, Jr. acquired the patterns and drawings for The Old Time Historical Association, Inc., Climax, North Carolina. The Old Time Historical Association, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to 'preserving our heritage'.
Mr. Ferree, with the help of his son, Donald, and several volunteers, used a fleet of three tractors and trailers to move the patterns and drawings over two weekends in October, 1973. The distance between Williams Grove and Climax is 400 miles. The patterns are stored in and fill a large barn loft.
During this period the Frick Engine Club had become dormant. James S. Ferree, Jr. is President of The Old Time Historical Association, Inc., and also a Frick engine owner. Mr. Ferree took on the task, along with his many other duties, of reviving the Frick Engine Club. Under Mr. Ferree's leadership, the Frick Engine Club continues today as an affiliate of The Old Time Historical Association, Inc.
The club maintains a list of known Frick engines by serial number and their owner. This list is updated and published once each year for the membership. A bulletin is published quarterly in which members can list 'free' items for sale or wanted. Reprints are made of old Frick catalogs, parts books and drawings which are sold to help support the club activities. The patterns will again be used to make parts for Frick engines in the future.
Mr. John Parmer of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, also employed by the Frick Company, was able to preserve the Frick engine and boiler records. These records show the size and type of engine, major components, when manufactured and where shipped. The boiler records show si2e, type, specifications, code number and test data.
The Old Time Historical Association, Inc. acquired these records from Mr. Partner's estate in October, 1980. Frick engine owners can get copies of the records for their respective engines. A fee will be charged to cover the cost of searching and copying the records.
The Old Time Historical Association, Inc. and Frick Engine Club now have the Frick steam engine records, drawings, and foundry patterns back together after many years of separation. It is believed that Frick is the only make of the old time steam engines that has such a set of records, drawings, and patterns still in existence.
Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Frick Engine Club may write to: Frick Engine Club, P.O. Box 70, Climax, North Carolina 27233.