Tracing History

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307 W. Hampton Ave., Spartanburg, South Carolina, and the 1880
Frick steam engine No. 1167. Size 5×8. 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

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

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

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

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

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.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment