THE FARM ALBUM

A Little History


| September/October 1995



Traction Engine

'Who bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.' Matt. 13:25.

Advertising Manager of Frick Co.

Frick 'Eclipse' Traction Engine and 'Centennial' (1876) Model Metcalf Thresher Made at Quincy, Pa. Photo Taken in the Late 70's.

Frick Co. of Waynesboro, Pa. were one of the early pioneers in the building of the traction engine. In these early days they were called. 'Self-Propelled' engines. They were the only vehicles that would move them selves that the people knew anything about. What an event when the 'steamer' came to do our threshing.

Nearly all the early traction engines used the chain drive. It was a noisy and loose arrangement. It would stand more than the engine could pull going up hill but when going down it would frequently jump the sprockets. Then what could you do? Just keep her in the roadif.

The next model substituted a train of small gears mounted between two heavy iron bars, for the chain. These gears must have had a good deal of backlash, noise and wear also, and were later changed to the system of reduction gears which bridged the space with fewer parts. By 1885 these engines were highly perfected and gave remarkably good service.

The Metcalf thresher was built at Quincy, Pa. where George Frick at one time had his shop. It must have been a right good thresher for it was on the market for many years. Mr. J. T. Metcalf as a youth operated the Frick steam engine which had been built in 1856 and is now in the Ford Museum. The writer took a picture of Mr. Metcalf in Quincy, leaning against the wheel of one of the old traction engines. At that time his company was making small air compressors for gas station use.