Check out this 1936 Fairbanks Morse Model 32D stationary engine. The audience loves this exhibition, and the ground is shaking from the sheer power of the beast.
The Pottsville Historical Museum in Oregon owns this engine, but it only operates the engine occasionally. Just watch this old machine run. It's mesmerizing! The power showcased is tremendous, and the engine note keeps up an almost musical beat. The machine’s size alone is impressive.
How was this beast used back in the day?
The Fairbanks Morse model engines were made by the Fairbanks Morse & Company. This company was the brainchild of Thaddeus Fairbanks, who patented the platform scale in 1832 to help marine and railway shippers, and Charles Morse, originally an employee who later turned partner. Morse allowed the company to also manufacture Eclipse windmills and pumps.
According to Old Machine Press, Model 32 engines were in service for years in rock-crushing plants, textile mills, flour mills, manufacturing plants, cotton gins, power stations, ice plants, seed oil mills and drainage pumping stations.
Fairbanks Morse 32E-14 (4 cylinder)
To keep the engine running for so long in pristine condition, at 10,000 hours of operation, the piston pin needle rollers need to be replaced. At 20,000 hours, they need to be replaced again, and a 180-degree rotation of the piston pin must be performed. At 40,000 hours (about four and-a-half years of continuous use), the bushings and piston pin need to be replaced completely.
The Model 32 was built into the 1940s and saw regular service into the 1970s. The engines typically drove generators and pumps. Delta, Colorado, has three engines are on standby as backup power generators, according to Old Machine Press.
Where are these machines today?
Today, the company Fairbanks & Morse still exists. On top of its scales, pumps, and Morse engine products, the company has also diversified into marine and locomotive diesels. In terms of the Model 32, a few instances of these machines still can be found in abandoned factories. They are typically run during special events, and, even today, are still able to shake the Earth beneath them as they roar.
According to Diesel World Magazine, "The Model-32 will tickle the soles of your feet when it runs." Check out the Model 32 in the video below, and share this video with other engine enthusiasts.