Assistant Manager & Advertising, Frick Company, Waynesboro,
The last Frick steam traction engine, which was built in 1929,
was recently purchased by W. H. Carrick of Denton, N. C, who will
place it among his collection of antique engines. Mr. Carrick
already owns three Geiser and three other Frick engines.
The picture shows this fine engine, No. 29,592, threshing wheat
at the farm of the previous owner, C. W. Thornhill, R. D. 2,
Culpeper, Virginia. The picture was taken on July 6, 1960, and the
engine is driving a 28 by 47 Frick steel thresher which was
‘built new’ in 1947.
Mr. Thornhill has threshed wheat with a Frick rig every season
for the past 46 years. He also owns and operates a Frick sawmill,
which is installed in a field on this same farm.
Mr. Thornhill bought the Frick engine from Ager P. Gregg, who
then lived at Dickerson, Maryland, and who had used the engine for
No. 29,592 is no ordinary engine. She sports a jacketed boiler
built with butt-strap riveting to hold 150 to 175 pounds of steam;
her 91/2 inch by 10 inch cylinder delivers 65 horsepower. Her
oversized water tank holds 150 gallons. Her extra-long crankshaft
is fitted with a second belt wheel. The ground wheels are a
heavy-duty ‘hauling’ type, with steel rims 7/8 inch thick
and with 24 spokes; they are both driven through cushion springs
from the 51/4 inch axle. These drivers are as high as a man, being
74 inches in diameter, with a 20 inch width. Total weight of the
engine is around 25,000 pounds.
Mr. Thornhill recalls the old days when a threshing hand would
walk to the job on some distant farm and be there ready for work at
noon Monday. He would stay with the rig until noon on the following
Saturday, sleeping in barns or under the thresher, or perhaps in
the cookhouse. He would return home Saturday night with his
week’s pay, of a dollar a day. While baths and changes of
clothing might be rare, the meals served the threshing crews by the
farmers’ wives were something never equaled.
Mr. Thornhill in 1914 bought a 30 by 52 Frick thresher, an 81/2
by 10 Frick traction engine, a 125 foot belt and a canvas cover
measuring 20 by 30 feet, all for $2400, at the factory in
Waynesboro, Pa. His father in 1910 purchased a 2 horsepower Geiser
‘Domestic’ upright and boiler for $135. The engine had a
three-by-four cylinder, and was capable of sawing nearly 20 cords
of firewood a day. An engine of this kind is in the collection at