History of a Frick Steam Engine
Tracing the lineage of a 60 HP 1926 Frick steam engine
Arvid Hamilton's 1926 Frick as it appears today, a clean, well-preserved and and well-maintained engine by anyone's standards. Unlike many steam traction engines, Arvid's Frick saw active employment for almost 50 years, only really retiring from a working lifea round 1972.
For me, this story started 34 years ago when I was 8 years old and my father, John Hamilton, took me to my first steam engine show in Kinzers, Penn. It was the Rough & Tumble Engineers Threshermen's Reunion in August at the Rough & Tumble Engineers Historical Association Museum. That first experience was all it took – the steam engine bug bit. The smell of burning coal, the sound of the whistles, the whirr, the growl and chugging of the steam engines, had taken their hold. Somehow, I knew at that young age that one day I would have my own steam engine. And here I am 34 years later, my childhood desire realized.
With the help of a generous gentleman, Ivan S. Zimmerman of Leola, Pa., and a few very kind friends, things fell together. I was able to purchase a steam traction engine in very good shape, needing very few minor, mechanical repairs. Along with the wealth of knowledge, generosity and craftsmanship of these friends, this steam engine was put in shape in short order.
The steam engine I was fortunate enough to get is a 60 HP 1926 7 x 10 double-cylinder Frick steam engine, number 28803, boiler number 16133. This steam engine was order number 22926-B, written on May 26, 1926. The engine was shipped from the Frick Co. Inc. of Waynesboro, Pa., on June 19, 1926 to the original owner, John H. Burchard of Chestertown, Md.
George Willey of Earleville, Md., was acquainted with the first and second owners of the engine, and he was able to supply some information on this particular Frick. The first owner, John Burchard, used the engine for powering a sawmill and threshing machine until 1930. He then sold the engine to the second owner, his nephew, Roland Burchard of Odessa, Del. The engine was then used for threshing, cannery and creamery work, steaming milk lines. It was also used for moving buildings and pulling thorn hedges for the Delaware Road Department.