A Tale of Two Gas-ups

Private Engine Shows in New York Prove the Lust for Rust Never Ends

Pohl oil engine

Woody Sins' 3 HP Pohl oil engine and Phil Antonio's sideshaft Milwaukee.

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Here in the Northeast the show season comes to an end earlier than in other parts of the world. But I was privileged to ring out the 2003 season at a couple of very interesting gas-ups in early September. A 'gas-up,' in case you are wondering, is a private engine show. It is usually by invitation only, although an uninvited guest is never turned away.

Lockport Gas-up

Wayne and Alex Grenning, Lockport, N.Y., hosted the first show, and like every gas-up Wayne's ever held, this one had some very interesting machinery. The most prominent item was Wayne's new lawn ornament, a Dempster No. 12 windmill. Wayne set it at ground level for the gas-up, giving people who didn't want to climb a tower a chance to see a real prairie windmill up close.

Craig Prucha, Pavilion, N.Y., brought his 4 HP Fowler, manufactured by R.M. Fowler, Bradford, Pa. Craig's Fowler was designed for oil-pumping duties in the Pennsylvania oil fields, and since it was expected to be under a load at all times it was never equipped with a governor. Engine speed is controlled by varying the natural gas mixture.

Fred and Rick Lederhouse, Ransomville, N.Y., brought their very nice, very original 2 HP 'Baby' Geiser, complete with its original low-tension magneto and cart. Manufactured by Geiser Manufacturing Co., Waynesboro, Pa., this sideshaft engine has a flyball governor, disk crank and other features usually found only on much larger engines.

Another interesting sideshaft was a beautifully restored Milwaukee engine brought by Phil Antonio, Arcade, N.Y. Manufactured by Milwaukee Machinery Co., Milwaukee, Wis., this very rare engine runs as well as it looks. My contribution to the show was my latest project, a 3 HP Pohl oil engine manufactured by Geo. D. Pohl Manufacturing Co. of Vernon, N.Y. Although it is not one of their larger sideshaft engines, it is extremely rare. Restored earlier as a static display, it hadn't run in a very long time when I got it. After correcting some minor issues with the injector (and some major issues with the cylinder bore) I got it running in time for the gas-up, where it ran most of the day - just long enough to point out some other problems that need attention. There were several other engines there, including Wayne's pair of 5 HP Ottos and Alex's 2- HP Economy.

Pasture Party

The following weekend I went to the 3d Annual Pasture Party hosted by Don and Sue Odin of New Hartford, N.Y. Engines were few, but there were many tractors, including a nice selection of restored Farmalls. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the party was Don's collection of working farm machinery, of the type usually seen rusting away in hedgerows and old barnyards.

One of my favorite displays was a '2 Horse Power' International hay loader in operating condition. I have seen a few of these devices lying derelict around the countryside, but this is the first one I've seen in operation. The hay was then unloaded with a Hercules-powered unloading setup.

An interesting stationary engine on hand was a Model T engine converted for belt work. Although this type of rig isn't seen very often these days, at one time this was a popular way to get a 20 HP power plant.

A potluck dinner, tractor pulls, a kiddie tractor pull and many other interesting things to see and do were featured at this two-day event. It was a very enjoyable time.

Contact engine enthusiast Woody Sins at: 3 Edna Ter, New Hartford, NY 13413 or e-mail: hitnmiss1@juno.com