Getting Started With A New Hobby

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75 Kendall Avenue Framingham, Massachusetts 01701

Late in September 1985 while visiting the annual Holiday in the Hills affair at Victory, Vermont, I found myself on a large field in the Gallup Mills section of Victory.

This was my introduction to the field of antique gasoline engines-about 40 old engines were on the field that day.

One year later, I returned to this same field and found the engine show to be in full activity again.

After looking at most of the engines and talking to some of their owners, I said that I would return a year later with an engine if I could find one to purchase.

Much to my surprise, I did find one at Holliston, Massachusetts, and I bought it-a Stover CT-1.

Even though I knew very little about gasoline engines, I was able to get it running without any major changes but it was obvious to me that improvements could be made to its operation. Partway into taking this engine apart, I decided to purchase a couple of smaller engines in order to get some maintenance experience. This would be in addition to a small gasoline-driven generator which I have owned for the past 20 years.

The first engine I bought was found at the Orange, Massachusetts engine show in 1987-a Briggs & Stratton Model N (1940-1952) that would not run.

After locating a parts list for this machine, I was able to replace several missing parts and I was successful in getting the engine running. With the cooperation of some National Guard garage personnel, I was able to repaint the engine in its original color-Army Drab. The next one was a Briggs & Stratton Model 5S (1949-1957). To my surprise, this engine was quite a bit different than the Model N.

After cleaning the inside of the gasoline tank, replacing the fuel pipe and reassembling the breather assembly, I was able to get this engine running. I applied a coat of black paint to this engine, and gained a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.

The next one to reach the work bench was a World War II Signal Corps power unit identified as PE88A. This is a 350-watt generator driven by a single cylinder Onan Model 358 gasoline engine. Investigation revealed a carburetor problem plus the need for a couple of new gaskets. After purchasing a piece of cork material, I cut two new gaskets and I was also able to clear an electrical problem in the unit's control box. A coat of Army paint completed the work needed on this fine unit. It is now mounted on a pair of wooden skids and wheels taken from an old power mower.

One more engine had been acquired at the Orange, Massachusetts show-a Maytag Twin that would not start. John Rex of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, a magneto expert, charged the magnets inside the Twin's flywheel at another engine show, and the engine came back to life. However, one year later, it would not start up and the magnets have been determined as being satisfactory.

This brings us up to September 1987 when I returned to the engine show at Victory, Vermont. By this time, I had learned that this engine show was sponsored by the Vermont Gas and Steam Engine Association and I had joined the Straw Hollow Engine Works group at Boylston, Massachusetts. For this show I brought the generator unit, the Maytag Twin and two Briggs & Stratton engines-all performed excellent.

During the past year I purchased four more small Briggs & Stratton engines, together with one made by Reo Motors, Inc., and a 1? HP Witte 'one lunger' which needs a lot of work. I also acquired a Smith-Langmaid marine engine during the past year. So far, I have been unable to find any information about this unit. Its ignition system is missing and I was successful in freeing its frozen piston. This engine presents a challenge and to my way of thinking, the challenges presented and the satisfaction realized when an engine comes back to life make the restoration of antique gasoline engines a most interesting hobby.