It’s history rolling to life.
“This machine now will be with us for many years to come,” says Bob Frank, a man who’s been following the Lombard for many years.
The Lombard Steam Log Hauler is one of just six left in existence and three that run, built and invented in Waterville by Alvin Lombard in the early 1900’s.
“All the parts were produced 100 years ago using the technology then,” says engineering student, Emmett Hodder.
Jerry Packard and his father found it in the 80’s in the woods of the Allagash.
“It was tipped over in the woods in the mud and we jacked it up and then we hauled it…I wondered whether he was thinking straight or not but it turned out that it was a good thing,” Packard explains.
Yes it did. Now after 30 years of work, and with the help of UMaine students, the Lombard is running again.
“It’s great, I never thought I’d ever see it it’s really a nice thing,” Packard said.
But the machine holds a place in history greater than its Maine roots.
The continuous track was the first practical one of its kind and became the model for all recreational and military machines that came after it.
“Every other machine that’s in existence today that runs on a track is related to this machine,” Frank explained.
The Packard family brought the Lombard to the Maine Forest and Logging Museum to be restored. Now the minds of the new millenium have done it.
“I think it’s really special being one of only a couple people alive who knows how to tune one of these,” Hodder said.
“The knowledge they gained working on this machine I think will stay with them probably the rest of their lives,” said Frank.
And they agree.
“I’m going to see if I can get licensed to actually operate it so I can come back and run it,” said Hodder.
“I’m kind of excited because maybe in 20 years I can bring my kids to see it,” said engineering student, Peter Roberts.