No Soot in the Flues Yet!

| January/February 1994

  • Frick traction engine
    My 8 x 10 Frick traction engine
  • Baby Huber
    ''Baby Huber'' at new home.
  • # Picture 01
    Brother and myself (standing on trailer) sister and my father (standing on ground).

  • Frick traction engine
  • Baby Huber
  • # Picture 01

123 Ohio Avenue Morgantown, WV 26505

Since I was a child my family would attend various steam and gas engine shows. We went because my father has been collecting gas engines for thirty-two years. He started collecting engines because his great uncles had machine shops near Glenville West Virginia, where he used to spend the summer as a child. One machine shop located in an oil field region, the Glenville Tool Company, was line shaft driven using a large gas engine Dad is not sure what type of engine it was, because he was a child and did not pay attention to the engine. The shop also had a steam boiler and steam hammer to sharpen oil field bits. My father isn't sure when the shop closed, but in 1962 he tried to buy the engine. To his dismay he was two weeks late. The most despised person in the antique industry arrived first-the scrap metal dealer. Dad confronted the dealer to find that he had filled the cylinder with dynamite and blew it to smithereens! This is what started Mother's worst nightmare: his pursuit to collect 'junk '

While going to engine shows as a child, I did not like the gas engines as well as I liked the monstrous steam traction engines. Most likely I annoyed the engine owners, because I would always ask for a ride. Since I would ride traction engines all day my father knew where to find me

At 22 years of age, I began looking for a steam engine to buy. I told my cousin, who is vice-president of the C & V Engine Club in Chambersburg Pennsylvania, of my quest. He told me of a friend of his who owned a Frick. Two weeks after I asked my cousin to inquire about the engine he called me. The following Saturday my cousin my neighbor (a retired railroad fireman), and a friend who collects inch and a half scale trains and I were on our way to look at an 8 x 10 Frick The owner was asking more money than I had, so every night I prayed that no one would buy the engine One day my luck changed. The insurance man came to the door and asked if I was 'Jeff.' I told him yes so he reviewed my policy with me' giving me the amounts of my 22-year old dividends. I laughed and said 'It took that long to make that amount?'

He said, 'Son, this is insurance not an investment!' It was my lucky break, and all I needed except for $50. Needless to say, that Saturday I took my father to see the engine and I bought it. I never felt so great in my life!!! My first traction engine!!!

The engine is complete, including the boiler feed pump and the adjustable governor pulley. The front wheels do not match and the connecting rod is twisted, so if anyone has these parts I would be interested in obtaining them. The engine, originally used by a professional thresher, has not had a fire in it since 1927. Amazingly, the Frick has never sat outside since the last firing. When it was sold to the man I bought it from, he built a building and stored the engine in it until I purchased it. The engine is still at his house and I drive there to work on it. Once it is restored, I hope to keep it at the C & V Show grounds. I would also like to thank everyone who is helping with the restoration.


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