7HP Masterpiece Saved and Restored

7HP Masterpiece

Content Tools

RFD #1, Box 95 Voluntown, Connecticut 06384

My Son, Todd Babbitt, and I, Richard Babbitt, enjoy reading the Gas Engine Magazine.

Last year, Todd had an engine given to him by a friend. Well, that was it, we got the bug and now have 15 engines plus a Galloway saw rig I purchased from a friend. It amazes me how the saw rigs and the engines survived the depression and World War II.

A good friend of mine had the Galloway and I tried many times to purchase it, but because it was in his family since it was new, he decided not to sell it. Recently, I had occasion to talk to him and told him that if he didn't sell it to me soon, it would be beyond restoring. He said he would let me know in two or three days. Later in the week, I called him and he told me to come and pick it up. Well, Todd and I rigged up the lowbed and went and got it. The axles were so bad that when I got it home, one of the axles was almost rotted off. I knew right from the start that my work was cut out for me. I told myself this was going to be a very big job.

Just then a friend of mine, Herb Savage, drove in. He took one look at the saw rig and said, 'It looks good and about 90% complete. Does it run?'

'I don't know, Herb,' I said. Herb proceeded to climb up onto the lowbed.

'Engine looks free. Got some gas, oil and grease, Todd?' Five minutes later, Herb said, 'Let's turn it over.' I grabbed one of the flywheels and was about to turn it when Herb said, 'Wait a minute, Dick. Don't turn the flywheel the wrong way. This engine runs in reverse.'

I said to Herb, 'I haven't seen too many like this.' Herb said, 'It's so the saw can cut on the right-hand side.' After about twenty minutes, we had her popping. This is about the easiest starting engine we have. Even Todd can start it at the age of twelve.

The Galloway sat there where I parked it for three to four days until one night at supper, I told my wife Lois, Todd and my daughter Darlene, that I was going to try to restore it during the winter.

My first step towards restoration was to have the whole machine sandblasted down to bare metal. This procedure turned up a lot of paint chips, some original colors (black, red and yellow) and pin striping. I then rolled it into the shop. The next morning before going to work, I went out to look my prize over. During the night, the damp air got at it and formed a rust film on everything. I knew right then and there I would have to clean it and prime it fast. My wife and I painted primer for two and one-half days. Next I started replacing the axles and some of the tin work. When I purchased this machine, I received the original book from the Galloway Company so a lot of time was saved because of the pictures that showed a lot of detail. I also replaced all of the wood work which consisted of maple and oak and all of the square-headed bolts that were bent or rotted. It took a lot of time to clean all of the sand out of the bearings, cylinder and valves. The gears showed very little wear. Then came the rest of the paint work. This tedious job took another two weeks of spare time. My wife and I were finally glad to see it done.

The next big job was the lettering, pin striping and scrollwork and who was going to do it? After discussing the subject with several people, I contacted an old friend of the family, Mr. John Gemeasky, and asked if he would consider undertaking this task for me. After much consideration, he said he would see what he could do. John and I talked and looked the saw rig over and over and all we could see with the naked eye was the word 'Galloway' written on the water hopper. John started looking the book over and decided to enlarge the pictures to the actual size. Believe me, it's possible! Through this enlargement process, we found pin striping, scrollwork and different designs that are unbelievable, so we decided to try to put everything back as close to original as we possibly could. John spent countless hours at his artistry but the finished product speaks for itself. Everybody says it sure is beautiful!

This machine was bought by Irving Burdick new in 1927 for $209.75 plus shipping. It was delivered to the Jewett City, Connecticut railroad station and taken to his farm in Griswold, Connecticut, where it had been until I recently purchased it from his grandson, Mr. Donald Burdick.

The original advertisement for my model of the Galloway in the Galloway company catalog reads as follows:


This engine runs like a scared wolf and pulls slike a 20-mule team. The Masterpiece is one of the engines that has built the Galloway reputation. It will operate heavy duty jobs like the large corn shelter, cane mill, buhr mill, hay press, mine fan, building hoist, woodyard, ensilage cutter, corn grinder, well drill, lathe machine, shingle knife and other machinery requiring up to 8 HP. Can be slowed down where less power is required. Equipped with Webster magneto, speed regulator, 16x6 in. pulley and iron sub-base as pictured. Weight 1150 lbs.