Marvin Hanson of Fairfield has been selling, repairing and building electrical motors as Marv’s Motor Shop in Black Eagle for the past eight years.
Hanson grew up in Whitefish, Montana at a time when the area was still active with sawmills and good paying jobs.
After graduating from Whitefish High School, Marvin entered the Navy, where be became an electrician.
Marvin told the Sun Times that he was lucky to be assigned to a repair ship during part of his time in the Navy.
The repair ship, which Marvin said was “larger than a destroyer” was part of a support group for an aircraft carrier. “There was nothing in that group that our ship could not fix.” Working on the repair ship allowed Marvin to gain a broader experience than what he would have seen on just one ship.
After a four-year stint in the Navy, Marvin moved to the Fairfield area in 1987 after meeting his future wife, Marilynn Paddock. They have a grown daughter, Kori, who resides in Alaska.
He worked at Cascade Electric and then Mosch Electric before setting out on his own.
Marvin said that as motor repair shops in other towns have closed, his business has in increased. “The shops in Helena and Havre have closed; now, there is no one doing motor work in Helena.”
Motors come into the crowded shop from Fairfield, Choteau, Chinook, Havre, Great Falls, Helena and beyond.
The work can be seasonal, with the schedule at the shop getting hectic during the spring and summer months while farmers are running irrigation motors, “but we keep going in the slow times with the mills in the area.”
Marvin’s shop is filled with motors of every size and vinatge. An electric motor for an oil well pump sits on a dollie, painted and ready to return to the oil patch. A couple of large water pump motors are in the queue for a rebuild.
Marvin has two large furnaces in his shop. One is used to heat a motor to about 850 degrees to burn off the motor’s paint and the insulation. The process makes it easter to disassemble the motor and to recycle the copper windings.
The other furnace is used to cure coatings used when motors are rebuilt.
The shop has the capactiy to repair motors up to 400 horsepower, and they can rewind motors up to 200 horsepower. Just as the motors under repair cover a wide vintage, so do the tools that Marvin uses. Marvin demonstrated how a machine that is 70 years old is used to rewind motors.
In addition to the large motors, Marv’s Motors also works on motors for air compressors, furnaces, small water pumps and tools, such as table saws.
Marv’s Motor Shop is located at 1725 33rd Ave NE # 1 in Black Eagle, and they can be reached at (406) 452-2833.