Looking for Clues to Mystery Engines

| November/December 2004

  • Mystery engine
    This issue's ''mystery engine.''
  • Lobo engine

  • Mystery engine
  • Lobo engine

Sharp-eyed readers were quick to identify our 'mystery' engine in the September/October 2004 issue of Steam Traction. It was of course a 'Lobo,' manufactured by Fairbanks Steam Shovel Co., Marion, Ohio.

James E. Matz, 6151 Woodard Road, Andover, OH 44003, sent in the first correct identification, writing: 'The mystery steam engine on page 9 of the September/ October 2004 Steam Traction is a Lobo engine, manufactured by the Marion (Ohio) Steam Shovel Co. I believe Edward Huber had at least part interest in the company. I really enjoy Steam Traction magazine.'

From what we know, James is partly right m noting a connection to Edward Huber. According to Jack Norbeck's Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines, James Fairbanks, founder of Fairbanks Steam Shovel Co., worked as a superintendent at the Huber Mfg. Co. Note the Lobo is a return-flue, as were Hubers.

Other readers responding included Alan New, who wrote: 'I'm identifying Spaulding's mystery engine for this month. It is a Lobo engine, built by the Fairbanks Steam Shovel Co. of Marion, Ohio. If you change the front round head tank to a square one, change the wheel hubs to riveted ones and add the front flange to the boiler barrel, you have a Huber, which was built in the same town.'

Thomas Stebritz also recognized the engine: 'I am enclosing a photo of Spalding's latest mystery engine. I am not opting for a prize, however the engine is the Lobo a very neat design except for the round front water tank. A close look at the thresher shows a steel machine with a tubular tailings elevator a Case! recognizable even with the Ruth feeder. The Lobo was built by the Fairbanks Steam Shovel Co. of Marion Ohio.'

For getting his answer in first, James receives a free copy of Prof. P.F. Rose's Steam Engine Guide.