Mechanical Powers for the Farm or Workshop

By Staff
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Frick & Co.'s portable steam engine.

Reprint from American Agriculturist, July 1875

It is an accepted principle in the use of powers that one should
never employ a man when he can use a horse, and never use a horse
when the work can be done by either wind, water, or steam. For farm
or rural labor the three powers last named may be very extensively
applied with profit. Wind and water are only applicable for
stationary purposes. They are employed through the medium of
machines, cheap in their construction and their use, and in many
places can be made available where steam might be objectionable.
But steam may be applied everywhere, and in many cases may with
advantage displace the cheaper powers of wind and water. It is a
portable power, and in this lies its greatest usefulness to the
farmer. With a steam-engine he can pump water and force it to any
part of the farm for irrigation or for his stock; he can thrash at
the barn or in the field, or at his neighbor’s fields and barn;
he can saw fuel or lumber at home or in the woods; he can press
hay, and gin, or pack cotton, or grind his own or his
neighbor’s feed, and do whatever work may be desired at home or
away from it, and thus make it profitable for himself and
convenient for his neighbors. The saving of time in doing his own
work will make it possible for him to spare time to do work for
others who may wish to hire his engine, and thus the benefits of
steam-power be very largely extended. We have heretofore described
various styles of mechanical powers, windmills, water-wheels, and
steam-engines; and now illustrate a portable farm engine made by
Frick & Company, of Waynesboro, Franklin County, Pennsylvania,
which has an excellent reputation. It is known as the Eclipse
Portable Agricultural Steam Engine, and is specially manufactured
for farm use. It is mounted on a suitable truck furnished with
springs, where the boiler rests upon the axle, so that it may be
moved over rough roads with safety. It is simple, safe, light, and
effective, either as a stationary or portable engine. The
smokestack is hinged, for the double purpose that it be out of the
way when storing the engine under shelter, and to avoid the shaking
of the long perpendicular cylinder during transportation. It has
also a spark-arrester, so that even straw when placed on the top of
it will not ignite. The same safety exists below at the ash-pan,
which is provided with a close-fitting door, which can be closed if
found advisable. It received the first prize medal over all other
competitors at the Cincinnati Industrial Exposition of 1874, which
is a valuable recommendation. In choosing an engine for any
purpose, the special points to be considered are simplicity,
safety, strength, and durability, but when an engine is chosen for
farm use, safety from fire by sparks or ashes is one of the most
important considerations. To be able to use an engine near the barn
or a straw stack, or in a field in which there are dry, inflammable
stubble and shocks of grain, is often very desirable, and this
Eclipse steam engine here described is intended for these very

… The special points to be considered are simplicity, safety,
strength and durability…

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