Plasmid R124 was first described in 1972 as being a new member of in compatibility group IncFIV, yet early physical investigations of plasmid DNA showed that this type of classification was more complex than first imagined. Throughout the history of the study of this plasmid, there have been many unexpected observations. Therefore, in this review, we describe the history of our understanding of this plasmid and the type I restriction-modification (R-M) system that it encodes, which will allow an opportunity to correct errors, or misunderstandings, that have arisen in the literature. We also describe the characterization of the R-M enzyme EcoR124I and describe the unusual properties of both type I R-M enzymes and EcoR124I in particular. As we approached the 21st century, we began to see the potential of the EcoR124I R-M enzyme as a useful molecular motor, and this leads to a description of recent work that has shown that the R-M enzyme can be used as a nanoactuator. Therefore, this is a history that takes us from a plasmid isolated from (presumably) an infected source to the potential use of the plasmid-encoded R-M enzyme in bionanotechnology.