A Canadian Restoration Enthusiast's Story:

1912 5 HP ''NORTHWESTERN''

5 HP Northwestern Engine

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Box 991, Lumby, British Columbia, Canada V0E 2G0

I found this engine near Enderby in the logging country of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Its brass name plate identified it as a 5 HP Northwestern made by Northwestern Steel and Iron Works, Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Page 423 of American Gasoline Engines identified it as a 'Bison' offered in 1912 by Robarts, Oatess and Justice Company, Winnipeg, Manitoba and suggests, 'perhaps the company actually manufactured them at Winnipeg, or possibly they were built on contract by another firm.' The latter seems to have been the case and I am happy to shed a little light on the history of this magnificent example of early gasoline engines.

The engine was found in a very rusty condition, but had some protection from the elements because some thoughtful owner had thrown an old Volkswagen hood over it, as it lay in the undergrowth among young cedar. No one could recall how long it may have rested there.

With the help of friends, Chuck Ayles and his son and daughter-in-law, I stripped it, sandblasted the rust from it, painted it and reassembled it. Since no decals were available, I took the information from the nameplate, had it stylized, printed and cut by computer. The only repairs required were a wrist pin, brass governor adjustment rods and one drip oiler glass.

The gas tank is cast within the base. It uses a buzz coil with spark plug ignition, a Lunkenheimer fuel mixer, drip oilers on the main bearings and a grease cup on the connecting rod. The spark advance lever and the exhaust valve push rod are brass.

The Northwestern started with a minimum of adjustment and filled all who had worked on her with a thrill of pride and accomplishment. Within days of its complete restoration it was used to drive a restored flour mill at the Interior Provincial Exhibition in Armstrong, British Columbia, where our members of the Spallumcheen Pioneer Power Club demonstrate threshing with steam and display tractors, stationary engines and farm machinery from the past.

I'd appreciate any information on this model of engine, and will answer all responses.