Our Ohio Engine

Ohio side-shaft engine

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1306 Kirkwood Highway, Elsmere Wilmington, Delaware 19805

While we were visiting our Uncle Daniel Leiby, who lives near Tamaqua, Pa., in July of 1965, he suggested we go look at some gas engines that he knew the whereabouts of. We drove up on a remote mountain where a small farm was perched almost on the top, drove down the lane and came to rest near this rusted hulk of iron that was once a 6 hp. Ohio engine with the serial number of 43219 (?). We soon found this engine to be rusted fast and thought of the work it would take just to turn the flywheels, let alone getting the fuel and ignition systems ironed out. We then walked back to the woods where we spied a small stationary thresher about the size of a VW -- It had no undercarriage. Getting back to the engine, we decided that since it had been sitting for so long on the north side of the barn it was in too bad of shape to restore.

We then forgot about it until later when we learned how rare side-shaft engines really were. This was a year after we first saw this 6 hp. Ohio engine. Due to other obligations, we couldn't go up at the time to help my Uncle Daniel load and move it. He said he needed an excuse to come down and visit us anyway, so he got it for us. My Uncle Pierce, who helped move the engine, was stung by a wasp who didn't want his engine turned into a mobile home.

In 1968 after Uncle Daniel paid for and removed the engine, Harry Wishou-sky, who was the previous owner of this Ohio engine, was blown to bits when a case of dynamite he was carrying ignited while he was working at the Atlas Powder Plant at Tamaqua.

Anyway, in the spring of 1969 we rented a U-Haul trailer, loaded the big Ohio engine up, and Uncle Daniel said as we were leaving that he felt it was useless to take this engine because he never thought we could get it running.

On Route 10 there is a mile-long hill, well known to Pennsylvanians of the area. Our 'mighty' '48 Dodge started up the hill in fourth gear (we put

overdrive in it. Part way up the hill we had to downshift to third, then second and finally to first! At that time my dad said questioningly, '1 don't know if she'll make it!' The 'mighty' Dodge made it, although we hit a bump and felt the engine move slightly. When we got home, the engine wasn't in the same place as when we loaded it -- it slid back a fool -- not much more and only a tow truck could have cleared the roadway.

We didn't have too much trouble getting the piston unstuck -- we just built a fire in the cylinder, beat on the piston a bit, and she came right out. When we first started this engine, it sounded nice -- when we put the muffler on it sounded twice as nice. You hardly know the engine is running with the muffler on.

At the present, we know of two other Ohio engines, both of which are 8 hp. One is described on page 25 of Volume 3, Number 4, in G.E.M. The other Ohio engine is owned by Mr. Breiner who lives near Tamaqua. A plate on our Ohio, and also on Mr. Breiner's engine, indicates that a distributor (Miller, Morris & Co.) in Phila., Pa. had an Ohio franchise. We would like to hear from any other Ohio engine owners.

Our collection -- when I say our, I mean my father (Harold Reed) and I (I am 16 yrs. old.) -- consists of seven small gas engines, a 7 hp. Economy, a 6 hp. Ohio, two Model 'C' Case tractors, one a 1930, and the other a 1935 -both of which my father drove when he was my age, and finally a 32 -- 54-inch Case thresher.

At top left: David with the 6 hp. Ohio side-shaft engine. Bottom left: a picture of a ? hp. Maytag starting my brother, Wayne's, Briggs & Stratton washing machine engine for the first time -- just two weeks after it was found in a scrap yard. Top right: I. to r. % hp. Maytag (note the mixing can), 1? hp. Hercules and an old Lauson engine that came off a cement mixer. Bottom right: 'This is an engine for the 'mighty' Dodge in the story of 'Our Ohio Engine'.'