THE DUBUQUE ENGINE

John Knepper
August/September 1987
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John Knepper's restored Dubuque engine
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2280 Jaeger Drive, Dubuque, Iowa 52001

The Dubuque engine is a rare engine made in Dubuque, Iowa, by the Dubuque Engine Company. Even though I live here in Dubuque, I was unable to find information about the company or its product until I contacted the Dubuque Historical Society and Curator, Roger Osborne. Roger was able to find one 1911 article about the company and a picture of its factory. No old company sales literature or picture of the engine has been found so it is not known if it was available with engine trucks, its price, or how it was painted, although some bright red paint was found on the dirty side of the crank guard. The company was in operation - or at least, existed on city records - for only five years between 1910 and 1915, which may help to explain why this is the only engine known to exist in this area. I was lucky enough to buy the engine from another engine collecting friend in Bellevue, Iowa, who found it in the Dubuque area ten years ago and left it unrestored but in good original condition, with no parts missing, damaged, or worn. Only one product was manufactured by this company - that being this 1? HP, 500 RPM throttling governor 4-cyde engine with spark plug and battery ignition. The engine uses a 34 inch Model T Ford piston, connecting rod that was cut and lengthened, carburetor, and Ford spark plug, all believed to be the original engine parts. Our local engine club, 'Hawkeye Vintage Farm Machinery Assn.' in Dubuque, is happy this engine was found and brought back home again for local displays. Anyone knowing the whereabouts or additional information about this engine please contact me.

The following history of the Dubuque Gasoline Engine Co. is reprinted with permission of Roger Osborne and the Dubuque Historical Society, in whose archives it was found. The photo on the next page is reproduced from the article.

This concern is an exclusive manufacturer of gasoline engines. The company was established and incorporated in 1910. The factory which has 5,000 square feet of working space, is modern in every detail and has been fully equipped with the latest and best patterns of machinery. The first class mechanics who are employed in the building of these engines have been selected for their skill and practical knowledge. Two progressive salesmen place the engines with local dealers throughout the country. The products this year will reach in excess of $75,000. The firm maintains that by centralizing their efforts upon one article they can make that article better in every respect than by being burdened by several different kinds and makes of machinery, and their product is a high grade standard engine, designed for shop and farm, used for pumping water, running a cream separator, churn, washing machine, etc. The makers aim to put out an engine that will do the work at the least possible cost, that is simple, durable, perfectly governed and easy to operate.

Their motto is: 'Nothing is good enough that could be made better.' The quality of their engines remains long after the price is forgotten. The Dubuque engine is the best value obtainable and is placed in the front rank of reliable makes of gasoline engines. This company sells only to the local dealers, believing that the advantages are many to the users of their engines. The Dubuque Gasoline Engine Company guarantees all of its engines free from defect in material and workmanship during the life of the engine, and while owned by the original purchaser and will replace free of charge any part that may develop a defect in material or workmanship, when returned to the factory. Guarantee does not cover cases of abuse or neglect. The officers who control the affairs of this company are: J. J. Schreiner, president; Anton Zwack, vice president, and S. C. Irvine, secretary and treasurer.


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