By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — "Other towns may have one, but we've got two — a big one and a little one," remarked Dan Camire of the Department of Public Works, eying the pair of brightly painted snowplows standing in front of the department's headquarters on Bisson Avenue.
"The big plow was sitting in some bushes out back of the Messer Street garage for 25 years," Camire said, "all rusted, badly rusted."
Camire, who is said to be able to fix most anything, took it upon himself to restore the plow.
"I sandblasted it, primed it and painted it," he said. The sharply angled blade, topping out at more than 5 feet, cuts an imposing figure.
"When you saw this coming down the street, you got out of the way," he said, explaining that the department used to attach the plow to its road grader. The smaller of the two, fitted to a wheeled vehicle, was used to clear the city sidewalks.
The number "27" painted on the blades of the small plow represented the department's address — 27 Bisson Ave. — but, appropriately enough, as each employee of the department is assigned a number, it also matches the "27" borne by Camire. "It took me a few weeks to figure that out," he confessed.
The large plow was built in 1967 by Frink Sno-Plow Inc. of Clayton, New York , at the center of the archipelago of 1,864 islands straddling the border with Canada into St. Lawrence River. Founded by Carl Frink, the company was among the earliest manufacturers of snowplows and and put the first steel its plow into service in the winter of 1919-1920, opening and clearing state roads from Watertown to Alexandria Bay. Known for performance and innovation, Frink introduced the front mounted "Vee" plow, the side mounted "leveling wing" systems and ultimately the front mounted "one-way" plow. In 2000, Frink America was acquired by Everest Equipment Corporation, which four years later became a subsidiary of Wauseau Equipment Corporation, which still offers plows bearing the Frink name.
Frink plows even moved one aficionado to rhyme:
The wind it howled and the snow it flew
And so did Dailey's "Number Two"
The engine roared as the Frink Sno-Plow
Bored into a bank of snow.
But the bank was big and hard to bust
Five feet deep with a good hard crust.
Out backed the Sno-Plow, Listen! Hear?
Fred shifted into a lower gear!
Once more the Sno-Plow jockeyed right
Into the bank with all its might.
As the Plow drove into the giant bank,
The steel frame groaned and almost shrank.
But the bank was hard and deep and wide,
So Dailey opened the throttle wide.
The drive wheels turned but the plow stood still
While the engine worked with an iron will!
Dailey was forced to shove the clutch
Cause as for headway, there wasn't much.
And then he saw that he was stuck!
No way out – he must give up!
But he kept his courage, every bit
He said, "Now, Fred, you'd better get!"
He backed once more to get more power,
For the snow grew deeper every hour!
The Sno-Plow started out, once more
It tore up the bank with a savage roar!
And the next instant he was going again
Throwing the snow like a frozen rain!
Now, I will stop my rickety talk,
After expressing just one more thought.
What would we poor farmers do
If it wasn't for Dailey and his "Number Two"?
– Author Unknown –
Dan Camire stands alongside the pair of vintage snowplows he spared from rust and restored to beauty that welcome visitors to the Department of Public Works. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)
- Category: Local News
- Hits: 951