Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania 17022
Three years ago Dan Robie and his dad, of Lancaster, Pa., attended a public auction, 'just to look,' near Farmersville. They did more than look. They came away with a 1903 New Holland, 5 horsepower engine, Serial Number 2622.
After spending about 100 hours of his spare time cleaning and repairing this gas engine, Dan finally managed to start it on Memorial Day, 1977.
Dan says that engine was sure one sorry looking mess when he bought it. All he could see was grease. Under all that grease, however, it was pretty well preserved.
He scraped it, took it apart, cleaned the parts, repaired the gears and rebuilt the ignition system.
The restored engine has all the original parts except for a coil which he bought from Clayton Longenderfer of Millersville.
Can paid $375 for his engine and figures his total cost ran to about $500. He thinks it's now probably worth about three times what he paid for it.
Dan's engine has a six-inch bore, four brass oilers and an eight-inch stroke. It is on a red carriage which is 45 inches tall, three feet wide and six feet long.
Incidentally, when Dan decided he needed a manual about engine parts he got one from Gas Engine Magazine.
Dan Robie has entered the United States Military Academy so his engine restoring days are probably over, at least postponed. He says this was a 'once and done' proposition. Apparently he had attended gas engine shows and thresher-men's reunions with his dad and had developed an interest in old engines.
To restore an engine was something he wanted to do. He met the challenge and was a happy young man on Memorial Day when, after about an hour of trying, his rebuilt engine started.
His feat came to the attention of The Intelligencer Journal, a Lancaster morning newspaper, which carried a nice article and picture about the restoration.
It is tempting to moralize and perhaps we should avoid it. Two things do stand out, however. New Holland built engines do last and young people of today are as talented as their fathers and grand fathers.