THE STORY OF AN ENGINE THAT COULD NOT BE FIXED

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L. to R. Steve Barger, Jody Barger and Eddie Adams sawing wood. Courtesy of William E. Hall, 15700 Santini Road, Burtonsville, Maryland 20730.
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Eddie Adams ''Minute Car Wash''. Courtesy of William E. Hall, 15700 Santini Road, Burtonsville, Maryland 20730.
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Two views of the 60 HP Geiser, as found. Courtesy of William E. Hall, 15700 Santini Road, Burtonsville, Maryland 20730.
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60 HP Geiser as it appear Courtesy of William E. Hall, 15700 Santini Road, Burtonsville, Maryland 20730.
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60 HP Geiser as it appear Courtesy of William E. Hall, 15700 Santini Road, Burtonsville, Maryland 20730.
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Aultman Taylor 20 HP, E. C. Adams on platform-others unknown. Courtesy of William E. Hall, 15700 Santini Road, Burtonsville, Maryland 20730.

15700 Santini Road, Burtonsville, Maryland 20730.

This story is about an engine that was looked at by some of the
better steam engine men and they agreed that the bucket of rust
could never be fixed. My friend, Mr. William Waters and I looked
and I agreed. After a wasted afternoon, we decided to waste the
evening. Soon our good sense gave way to the inevitable and the
obvious decision was made. It was not our first impossible job and
may not be our last.

The crate of rivets and parts was what was left of a 60 hp, yes
60 hp, not U U Geiser engine, No. 18263. The engine was built by
the Geiser works of the Emerson-Brantingham Co. in Waynesboro, Pa.
It was the last engine built for the year 1921. The last engine
built by Geiser was 18298, so you can see that we have one of the
last of a proud line.

It should be noted at this time that they replaced the
‘R’ ‘T’ ‘U U’ with the 40, 50, 60 HP
engines and discontinued all others due to declining sales of steam
engines.

Bill Waters and I purchased the engine in partnership and
started to work. It consisted of a well-rusted boiler, broken rear
axle, disassembled gears, rotten cab and no smokestack. These were
the minor items. After 5 trips of 300 miles each we had replaced
the axle, assembled the gears, and discarded the remains of several
other things. I was beginning to feel as if I had made a mistake.
With the help of Mr. John Brian’s two sons who drive a tractor
trailer for him and my old 56 Ford pick-up, we got the pieces
home.

After a complete tube job, building up the front flue sheet, and
a section of boiler including 21 stay bolts, we were ready to go.
We took it to the National Trolley Museum and it created quite a
sensation. We ran it for a year but never took it to a steam show.
We found that it needed more work and we will never take it to a
show until it is right. At this point I bought out my partner’s
share and became the sole owner.

It was at this time that another young man entered the picture.
He is Edgar C. Adams, and currently in the U. S. Navy. He is a
steam man from the word go, and especially likes Geiser. Despite
his navy career, it was not long before he owned No. 18263. We all
work together on steam engines and it is one happy group. It
consists of Eddie, his wife, Betsy, his three brothers-in-law
Bobby, Dwight, Joe, and parents, friends, relatives, and sometimes
me.

The engine was originally bought by Mr. John T. Fogle of New
Midway, Md., who went to the factory to get the engine. I cannot
state the exact date, but it probably was about 1923, as many
manufacturers had engines in stock that had been built earlier.

The history of the engine comes from Mr. R. Brantly Keeny, who
knew the engine when it was new. He says that Mr. Fogle got 40 $100
bills from the Woodsboro Md. bank and went to the factory and ran
it home to save the freight. He had made the deal through Collins
& Grosnickle of Frederick, Md. He traded in his ‘U’
Geiser because it would not pull his 32-54 Rumely thresher. They
ran it home in two days with his brother driving the truck to haul
coal and water, and Mr. Howard Keeny to fire it.

They then put it on a sawmill until threshing season to try it
out. After some troubles with it, they finally got it straightened
out. He threshed 18 hundred bushels in one ten hour day and was
quite pleased with it. This was considered a good amount here in
the east.

When he got to running it on the road, he soon broke a rear
axle. The company replaced this one, but it was not long before he
broke the second axle, and this one had to be shipped in from
Illinois and took 4 days . . . this did not please him at all. He
never liked a gas tractor, but he said that if they ever made one
with as much power as his steamer he would consider it. Mr. Collins
got him a 30-60 Rumely and let him try it out, and the deal was
finally made.

Mr. Notnagle of Frederick, Md. bought the 60 and used it some,
then sold it to a Mr. Wacter. He used it until the combine took
over and then it was sold at a public sale. It was bought back to
Mr. Notnagle, who sold it to Keller Smith & Sons of nearby
Wolfesville. I might point out that Mr. Notnagle was a Machinery
dealer, thresherman and did general repair work. They used it on 3
farms to thresh with and on a sawmill in the off season. They left
it setting in the woods at the sawmill site when they quit running
it.

It sat there for a good many years, and was finally sold to a
Mr. Lingg of New Oxford, Penna. Kline Construction Co. of
Frederick, Md. went in with a bulldozer to pull it out, and it
caught between two trees and they broke the third axle. They
finally got it on a low boy and hauled it to Mr. Lingg’s. The
rear axle was a weak point in this design engine, but Bill Waters
and I believe we have found a way to help the situation. After Mr.
Lingg started to work on it, he suffered a heart attack and
realized he could not finish the work. He then sold it to a Mr.
Marshall in New York. I am told that after buying it, he found out
that due to the boiler repairs required, he would have trouble
getting it past the state inspection. Mr. Lingg offered to try to
resell it for him. It was at this time that Bill Waters and I
entered upon the scene. Now another of our black, greasy Iron
Monsters is almost ready to run again.

When it does make its debut at a show it will be in the hands of
some of the gang that helped to restore it, and some are in their
teens. I am the oldest at 39 and quite proud to see the younger
take the interest that they have in this work. I have worked with
them since a child and quite frequently one of them will ask me a
question that sends me to the text books for the answer.

Anyone having information on the 60 hp Geiser engine taken from
catalogs, flyers, brochures, or photos we would appreciate hearing
from you. In particular the years made, the number made, etc.
Please contact me or Edgar Adams at his home address, 4428
Haverford Dr., Norbeck, Md. 20850.

In closing I would like to thank Mr. Frank Notnagle, Jr. of
Frederick, Md. Mr. R. Brantly Keeny of Woodsboro, Md., and Mr.
Truman Keeny of Jefferson, Md., for their help in supplying
information on the engine.

I can only repeat what I always say, Please help our young
people to learn so that our engines can be kept running in the
future.

Farm Collector Magazine
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