THE OLD FOOS ENGINE

Jame's J. Johannsen
September/October 1966
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1616 First Street S. W., Huron, South Dakota 57350

Here is the picture of Dad's 15 H.P. FOOS Engine which I promised last winter to send. She was built in 1912 by the FOOS Gas Engine Company of Springfield, Ohio. She develops 15 H.P. and spins her 55 inch flywheels at '300 R.P.M. and is numbered Engine No. 40682.

The old FOOS, as she has become affectionately known, came to South Dakota during 1917 when John King-don built a new grain elevator in the small prairie town of Hitchcock in central South Dakota. Until the late 40's, the old FOOS powered the elevator's machinery until the switch was made to electric power. On a few occasions when electric power failed, the old engine would be called into service for short periods. For about the last ten years, 1954 to 1964, her exhaust was silent. During this time the elevator changed hands and some remodeling was done, making entrance to the engine room very difficult. A steep rickety stairway through the office floor or a small barn sash-size window provided the only entrance.

In the summer of 1964 Dad's brother Hans, of Wolsey. South Dakota, found the old engine and made a deal for it. Plans were then made to remove it from the elevator. By taking the engine apart completely and by using planks and a winch, all parts were removed and hauled to Dad's engine house (garage) in Huron. South Dakota, where over a period of two years it was reassembled with the following new parts: rings, fuel pump shaft, gas tank and gaskets where needed. The valves were ground and a cooling system built. She was cooled by an artesian well in the elevator. We also built a muffler, as can be seen in the picture, so as not to scare the neighbors. We were fortunate the piston was not stuck as is often the case when one finds an old engine.

It uses a low tension coil and rotary type ingiter. Two separate carburetors furinish metered gasoline or kerosene. All crankshaft and connecting rod bearings and wrist pin boxings are solid brass, with drip oilers on both mains, connecting rod and governor. As can be seen in the picture, two large cast iron counter balance disks are installed on the crankshaft throws. These are caulked on with lead and were not forged as part of the crankshaft. It is a throttling governor and is the smoothest engine you ever heard run. The exhaust is more like a chuff than a bang. The piston and connecting rod assembly weigh 116 pounds; quite a handful.

In constructing our truck, we departed from conventional engine trucks in that we built an automotive type front end, using a 15-30 McCormick Deering front axle and spindles onto which we grafted Case separator wheels. This allowed us to keep ground clearance and overall length to a minimum, plus a short turning radius. The rear axle was left long enough to use four wheels in dual fashion. The sills are eight inch channel iron.

As mentioned in the second issue of G.E.M., Dad and I have been do-it-yourselfers from way back, and we had a lot of fun putting the old FOOS back together again and building the truck, etc. Of course there are always problems and head scratching, but who is there among us that does not like a challenge? Dad's address is Julius Johannsen, 237 18th Street S.W.. Huron, South Dakota, and my address is Jim Johannsen, 1616 First Street S.W., Huron, South Dakota.

Galloway - HP and age. unknown.


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