307 W. Hampton Ave., Spartanburg, South Carolina, and the 1880 Frick steam engine No. 1167. Size 5x8. About 8 hp. -- Elmer
Walter Clements stroked a flywheel of his seventy-year-old steam engine and said wishfully, 'I just felt like somebody should try to save it.'
Walter, 22, of 309 Hampton Ave., is a Senior at Clemson College and is currently restoring the ancient but lively 8 hp steam engine, built in 1880.
So far as saving it, Walter lamented, 'I thought someone should, but my mother can't understand why it had to be me.'
Walter's mother, like most women, simply could not understand her son's attraction to the ungainly machine, but she did understand the gleam in her son's eye when he fired the boiler.
This affection was shared by a former owner, well into his seventies. When he saw the old engine running, he cleared his throat softly and said, 'Bless her little heart, she can still run.'
Not only run, she can sing. A deep throated steam whistle is attached to the boiler and shouts its message to the country side, much to the distress of near-by mules and hogs.
The engine was built by the Frick and Company in Waynesboro, Penna., back in 1880. Company records show the engine was shipped to one Josiah Leake in Greenville on September 21, of that year.
Mounted on wheels and looking very much like a miniature locomotive engine, the gleaming chugger must have been the wonder of the day.
It was designed to be used with a threshing machine apparently, and could also operate a saw-mill.
Nothing is known of its jobs between 1880 and 1917, but sometime in that later year, it was being transported across the Tyger River near Tiger Ville. Tragedy struck -- and the engine toppled into the river.
There she stayed for two years.
In 1919, a man named George Hendricks pulled her out of the river and found little of it damaged. He kept it until 1930 to operate a grain thresher and shingle mill.
At that time, Paul Farmer, of Easley, bought the engine to make molasses. He retired the old girl in 1947.
Walter Clements, with the steam engine bug buzzing lively in his head, was on the trail of just such an engine last year. He had a similar machine at Clements and something in his chest pounded with the love of romantic age of steam.
Finding Mr. Farmer's old engine, he bought it for $16.00 from a Tryon Laundry, he bought an old upright boiler for $30.00 and hooked it up.
It now stands on a family farm just off the Anderson Mill Road. Walter plans to restore the engine completely right down to the gleaming red flywheel and polished brass fittings.
Even when she's dirty, the little engine still has a charm all her own. The Frick Company, now primarily engaged in refrigeration work, is interested in the engine and wants a picture. They tell Walter a similar engine just two years older is being sent to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.
Huffing and puffing her full 600 pounds, the engine can turn out a snappy eight horsepower at 400 revolutions per minute, she operates on about 45 pounds per square inch of steam pressure.
Walter doesn't intend to use the engine for work. Instead, he will retire her and let her run just for pleasure of hearing that whistle roar.