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Heirloom Engine On Display At South Dakota Museum
A completely restored 110-year-old 6-hp. International Harvester gas engine, now on display at the Daneville Heritage Museum in Viborg, S.D., is just a few miles from where it provided mechanical power for three generations of the Rist family. The engine is on loan to the museum by Mary Rist, whose late husband Don inherited the engine when he started farming the land that his grandfather had settled in 1878.
Mary’s son-in-law Tim Locken says the Rist family had many old tractors and implements on their farm over the years. He remembers two IH engines, 6 and 8-hp. models, which were abandoned behind the barn and exposed to the weather. The 8-hp. engine was in pieces, and the 6-hp. engine was still in decent condition. Wayne Schmidt, a family friend, agreed to restore the 6-hp. engine and, in return, keep the pieces for the 8-hp. model.
Locken says Schmidt sandblasted the 6-hp. engine down to bare metal before painting it Oxblood red and Brewster green, very similar to the engine’s original colors. The engine was running and in “like new” condition when he delivered it back. It’s identified by serial number JE245E, indicating that it’s a 1912 model.
The Famous engine line, which included 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 15-hp. models, was produced from 1905 to 1918. The engines were mounted on a platform with steel wheels so they could be pulled by horses. An IH brochure from 1912 states that the engines “can successfully be used for threshing, filling silos, grinding feed, sawing, pumping, irrigating, operating grain elevators, grist and feed mills, hoisting plants, pumping stations, and for all power purposes to which an engine of this size is adapted.” Some historians have suggested this type of engine clearly demonstrated the value of “machine power” over human muscle power and thereby paved the way for rapid adoption of tractors and automobiles in the decades that followed.
Locken says the Rist family decided to loan their restored engine to the museum so visitors can see and appreciate its workmanship. The museum has the Rist engine in a comprehensive display that celebrates the local culture of Daneville and Viborg, two neighboring Danish communities in southeast South Dakota.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Daneville Heritage Museum, 200 1/2 West Park Ave., Viborg, S.D. 57070 (ph 605-766-1312; daneville2021ms@gmail.com).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #3