58 Fairfield Street, Middleville, N. Y. 13406
I've been procrastinating long enough . . . now it's time to sit down and write this article on how I got started collecting gas engines. You see, I'm an insurance salesman who calls on people -- including farmers -- all over the central part of New York State. About three or four years ago, while calling on a junkyard owner, I saw this odd looking thing off to one side. Upon inquiring, I was told that it was a real, honest-to-goodness old gasoline engine. A 'one-lunger,' the man said. I said that I thought that it was certainly an oddity. He asked 'You wanna buy it?' I said I didn't know what I would ever do with the tiling, but how much did he want for it. He said eight dollars, and I said okay, provided he would help me get it into my trunk (it turned out to be a 3 hp. Fairbanks-Morse Z engine, I learned later). And that is how I got started.
A few weeks later, after I had tinkered around with it enough to get it running more or less, I chanced upon another engine. This one sat forlornly in a clump of weeds. I asked the farmer what he did with it, and he said 'Nothing.' So I asked him if he'd druther have five bucks than have it cluttering up the yard, and he said he would. That Saturday I came back to pick it up with my dad's pick-up truck. Soon as I started to move it, something went buzzing angrily around my head, and I let out a screech and did a real quick disappearing act straight through the lilacs, around a corner, and into a barn. The farmer went the other way just as fast, with those wasps right behind. After we treated our stings, I cooked up a real good scheme to get rid of the wasps, who we carefully observed had built a snug little fortress in the water hopper of my engine. I went to his gas tank and got a quarter-cupful of hi-test gasoline, and a good match. I tip-toed gingerly, and tossed the gasoline and a lighted match into the hopper, in very quick succession. There was a bright 'WHOOOOSH!!' a few flames inside for about ten seconds, and the wasps were no more. After a rather uneventful trip home, we found it to be a 3 hp. Associated throttled-governed kerosene engine. (Anybody else have one like it???) Now it has been restored (more or less) and runs very smooth and nice.
'Easy' washer with four cycle engine.
Very unusual 1 hp. Jacobsen with auxiliary exhaust and real odd 6-lobe cam wheel.
From then on, I began asking people about engines, and within a couple of years had collected almost a hundred. I sold some privately, and had an auction May 1969, at which I sold fifty. Since then, I have gotten about twenty more. Maybe I'll have to have another auction! I do have a few nice ones, and some scarce ones. I have a dandy 10 hp. Pohl 'Advance' model, screen-cooled. To start it, you have to 'cock it,' like cocking a rifle. Then you open the petcock, slurp in some gas, close the petcock, and yarn 'er back against compression -- then pull the trigger, and she's off with a whoof-CHUFFF!! We had it in a parade last year . . . since it has no water pump on it, we rigged up a cute little 1? hp. F-M to a water pump to circulate water in the Pohl. We would start the F-M (which is a hit-and-miss) to get the water circulating, then start the big Pohl (which is throttled-governed). It sure sounded good! Like the Pohl going 'CHUFF-CHUFF-CHUFF-CHUFF' and the little F-M going 'BANG-hah-hah-hah-BANG-hah-hah-hah', all on the same trailer.
Last year I also picked up a real odd motor with no name. It was set up some when I got it, but I could tell it was a good 'un, so I tore it all apart. Every single part on it had a number, but no name anywhere. Well, I got it all cleaned and painted, put buck together, and running fine. I even look it to a couple of meets last year, but nobody had any idea at all what it was. If you'll look closely at the photo, you'll see that it has a very unusual six-lobe cam gear. In other words, the flywheel turns a-round twelve times for every one revolution of the cam gear. It also has an auxiliary exhaust, and no fan to cool it. Anyway, I happened to go back to the same farm where I got it a year later. The old lady was there (I got the motor from her son.), and we got to talking. She said that she thought that she just might have the old instruction manual around somewhere. I naturally encouraged her to look for it. In fact, we both spent the better part of half an hour digging through piles of old magazines, books, and minutiae. And we found it! So for two dollars, I obtained a half-bushel of very interesting manuals, ads, instructions, etc., and found out that my engine is a Jacobsen pump-jack engine. So now I know!
3 hp. Associated throttle-governed kerosene engine -- second engine I bought -- for $5.00. It runs fine.
A nice 10 hp. Pohl 'Advance' Engine on its way home. It weighs 4100 pounds by itself. Has a Webster oscillator mounted in an unusual position on the head.
A 1? hp. Fairbanks-Morse in the left foreground. Behind it is a side-cam Lauson, 2 hp.; and on the right in back is an 8 hp. Associated on the wagon. All of them run real fine. The one on the right is the same as top photo.
Last November I stumbled onto a real find. I found a 2 hp. IHC 'Famous' engine stored inside, all free-up and in excellent condition. Even had the original battery and coil box with it, with the stencilled lettering on the box '2 HP. FAMOUS, SCREEN TANK.' Only thing missing was the screen and tank. But would you believe that just exactly six days before, I had found a farmer who used to have a 2-horse Famous like mine, but junked it years ago . . . and for some unknown reason, he kept the screen and tank! So I had given him five dollars for it, not knowing when I would ever use it (It was in perfect shape -- like new!). Now 1 have a complete unit. It ran the same day I got it home.
Early in December 1969 I located a tractor . . . my first. It turned out to be a 1916 Waterloo-Boy 2-cyl. tractor, complete and very restorable. Now I'm working on getting it running this summer. Any of you other fellows got a Waterloo-Boy tractor? If so, I'd like to swap notes with you. Thing that burns me up, though, is that not three miles away, I found an old man who has a 1914 1-cyl. IH Mogul tractor in operating condition. But he won't sell! I'm still working on that one.
I also have an old 'Easy' washing machine, which runs. It has its own 4-cycle gas engine with a kick-start. I haven't seen too many like it ... none.
My wife has the distinction (?) of being from Pennsylvania, so we head south regularly to visit her folks. Down there in oil country they have a lot of big one-lungers. The five big Clark engines are about 50 hp., weighing some thirty-five tons each, so I'm told. (No, I didn't lift one to see!) They are in a plant, and are not in use. They are all-complete, and probably available for scrap price to whoever is interested.
But the biggest one I've ever seen is a 120 horsepower one-cylinder engine weighing over 125 tons, and having a 21-inch piston!!! How'd you like that in your cellar??!! It produces 120 hp. at 180 RPM, and has a 15-inch exhaust. You don't hear the exhaust, you feel it! As the yippies say, 'Cool vibrations, man!' Of course, to start one of these monsters, you don't just flip a crank on it and turn. You have a 'little' 10 hp. engine belted to an air compressor, which fills a huge tank with 150 lbs. of air. When you get your big fellow notched up to near TDC (top head center), you set your gas (they run mostly on natural gas down there in Penna., which is a by-product of the oil wells), your mag (usually a Wico), your oilers, etc., and then turn on the air. And around she goes.
A 2 hp. Famous IHC as I found it. Note box in lower left corner of photo -- the original battery coil box. It runs very well.
5 of about 15 or so idle 'Clark' engines in Pennsylvania oil fields - 50 hp. They weigh about 35 tons each. Not used now -- but all complete and probably for sale.
Just to mention a few of the better engines I have; a 1 hp. Maynard in good running condition; a 6 hp. Fairbanks-Morse, throttle--governed, which will throttle right down to an unreal 50 rpm; a 5 x 5 Star upright steam engine (stationary); a real cute 1? hp. air-cooled Galloway, which I use in my garage on my air-compressor; and an air-cooled 1? hp. Associated which runs backward! It was built that way.
Well, guess that's enough for now. Happy engine hunting!