The Gasoline Engine On The Farm

Wauchula whiskey

Denis McCormack

Content Tools

Illinois 62613

I was born and reared on a Dairy Farm near LaValle in Sauk County, Wisconsin and lived there for twenty-nine years. This was in the days before we had electricity and at that time, nearly every farm had a gasoline engine for pumping water. However, on our farm we had a Samson Windmill which was replaced by a Fairbanks-Morse Steel Eclipse Mill in July 1926. We did however, have a 7 hp. Galloway gasoline engine which was purchased new in 1921 and was used for custom wood sawing until 1936. In the summer months when the wind didn't blow, my Dad would start the engine to pump water. My grandfather had rigged up a line shaft in the engine shed with the proper size pulleys and a belt ran out to the pump jack. On the lower line shaft he rigged up a chain driven sprocket so we could run the grindstone and sharpened mower sickles while we were pumping water.

One of my uncles had his well in one end of the summer kitchen and had a gasoline engine to pump water. He had overhead line shaft and ran a 'Melotte' cream separator while he was pumping water. Most of the farmers in our area used Fairbanks-Morse 'Z' engines for pumping water. Another engine that was quite popular was the 'Monitor' pump engine, made by the Baker Mfg. Company of Evansville, Wisconsin. This engine had the pump jack and engine in unit.

Around 1930 some of the farmers started using Model 'T' Ford motors in saw rigs and this replaced the larger gasoline engines. When the REA electric line was built by our place in 1941, all of the farmers bought electric motors for pumping water and other farm jobs and so ended a colorful period of farm life.

It is interesting to attend Thresher-men's Reunions and see these old engines in operation.

At the Sarasota, Florida, 1971 gathering of engine enthusiasts. Colonel Herndon proudly displayed what he suggested was a ? hp. New Holland Engine and particularly asked those of us who were shortly returning to the North to emphasize to the Hoffman Brothers and other Lancaster and York County enthusiasts that he had something that they did not have!

The now famous Wauchula whiskey still and its logical associate, the Nickerson 'upside-down' engine.

On the right is Vic Cooper's remarkable early single cylinder, twin piston engine which has carburetor and spark plug located halfway down the cylinder serving the common combustion chamber. The power stroke on one piston is downward through a connecting rod and normal crankshaft. The other piston moves upward through a rod to a crosshead, its power impulse being transmitted to the crankshaft by a pair of long vertical connecting rods. Operation is on the Otto or 4-cycle system.