Frick Improved Portable Steam Engine at Somerset Historical Center

Sharing the Common Wealth showcases objects, artifacts, documents, structures and buildings from the collections of PHMC.

Founded by Lancaster County native George Frick (1826–1892) in 1860, the Frick Company, of Waynesboro, in southern Franklin County, manufactured a variety of agricultural machinery, including threshers and traction engines, as well as boilers, ice machines, and sawmills. In 1923, the company manufactured the Frick Improved Portable Steam Engine, which allowed farmers to take advantage of a new, portable power source fueled by wood and coal, rather than animal power. The engine was used by farmers to drive agricultural equipment, such as threshing machines. Weighing seventy-five hundred pounds, the engine, mounted on a carriage with steel wheels, was hauled by horses to where it was needed on a farm. This particular model, on view at PHMC’s Somerset Historical Center in Somerset, Somerset County, was used on a county farmstead. It is being highlighted as part of PHMC’s annual theme for 2009, “Energy: Innovation and Impact.”