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Antique engine attracts curious attendees at Four States Ag Expo

Single-piston model was used on Sante Fe Railroad
Glen Spencer sets up his 1911 Fairbanks-Morse antique engine. The unit was used to pump water for locomotives on the Sante Fe Railroad near Gallup, New Mexico. Spencer runs the Lust for Rust museum in Bloomfield, New Mexico.

Huge spinning wheels and a strange popping noise attracted curious attendees of the Four States Ag Expo.

The oddly elegant contraption is an antique engine restored by Glen Spencer, proprietor of an outdoor museum in Bloomfield, New Mexico, called Lust for Rust.

Built by Fairbanks-Morse in 1911, it features a “one-lung throttle governed engine, and generates 50 horsepower. It weighs 15,500 pounds, and the piston cylinder has a 16-inch bore with a 20-inch stroke.

The impressively large engine was used to pump water for steam locomotives on the Sante Fe Railroad near Gallup, New Mexico.

“It sat in a field for 40 years until I found it and restored it,” he said. “What’s unique is that you can see all the moving parts of the engine.”

Spencer said it is the largest single-cylinder working engine in the Four Corners, “that I know of.” He rescued it in 1986, and modified it to run on propane.

“I have to throttle it way down, or it would really get cranking,” he said. “The popping noise is the exhaust at low power.”

Spencer is a classic collector of all things mechanical. He has been an active member of the Four Corners Antique Power Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association since 1982.

At his Lust For Rust Museum he has a “world of stuff, including 150 typewriters, 200 smaller engines and antique tractors.” It is at 6109 Highway 64, Bloomfield, New Mexico.

“I used to work on engines for the gas industry, now collecting them is my hobby,” he said.


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