Westminster Abenaque Show Goes Annual

Abenaque engine

Abenaque engine equipped with Webster tri-polar oscillator.

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P.O. Box 6 Wilmington, Vermont 05363

To celebrate the coming 100th anniversary of the founding of the Abenaque Machine Works of Westminster Station, Vermont, manufacturer of the Abenaque Gasolene Engine, the Westminster Historical Society sponsored an engine show in August of 1985, featuring the Abenaque engines. This show was a huge success.

The Abenaque engines were manufactured from about 1894 until 1920, when the company was dissolved by bankruptcy. Some former employees of the company continued to make replacement parts in Marlborough, New Hampshire until the 1930's. Most of the company records have become lost or destroyed. The original brick machine shop now houses a metal culvert manufacturing company.

The Abenaque engines were made in 2 to 25 horsepower sizes. The engines were heavy for their size, and were of side shaft design. The mechanism was quite complicated, featuring a fuel injection system. Ignition was of the make and break type, utilizing a spark wire and wheel, operated by a pawl.

This ignition system proved to be troublesome. Later model engines were equipped with a Webster Tri-Polar Oscillator. Some of the original engines were converted to the Webster Oscillator, either at the factory, or in the field with a kit furnished by the factory.

A unique feature of the Abenaque engines was one to four sheet metal cooling tanks on top of the engine, in place of a conventional water hopper. Water hoppers were provided on some models at a later date. Most of the engines were so designed that either the tanks or a hopper could be installed. It was recommended by the factory that all engines used in heavy service be equipped with the cooling tanks. A disadvantage of the tanks was that they would collect leaves and other debris and rust out.

The company also manufactured engine driven air compressors, water pumps, cement mixers and tractors. None of these machines are known to exist today.

 Other articles manufactured by the company were circular and drag saws, sold as stationary or portable units. A portable combination circular and drag saw outfit was offered.

The company also sold ensilage cutters, feed grinders, hay presses, saw mills and grain threshers, made by other manufacturers.

Owing to the success of the original show in 1985, the Westminster Fire Department sponsored another show in 1986. Due to inclement weather, the show was a failure.

Last year, on July 28 and 29, the fire department sponsored another engine show, featuring the Abenaque engines, with all other makes, antique cars, trucks and tractors welcome. The show included a flea market. There were over 100 exhibitors at the show. One of the Abenaque engines exhibited had both the original spark wheel and Webster ignition systems.

A very popular exhibitor was Brian Brayden of Dublin, New Hampshire, with an engine-driven ice cream freezer. The ice cream was sold at the registration booth.

The show will now be an annual event. The dates for 1991 are July 27 and 28. The show is located at the Westminster Elementary School. Camping with no hook-ups is permitted. Look for ads right here in Gas Engine Magazine.