A Galloway Comes Home

Galloway Sop Building

The shop building that the Galloway worked in, Wilmington, Vt.

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This article is a sequel to one published in the November 1993 issue of Gas Engine Magazine, titled “A New Life for an Old New Era.”

The 1993 article described how, in around 1880, farmer, carpenter and maple sugar maker Henry Adams of Wilmington, Vt., designed and built wooden tanks to hold maple sap. The design was patented. The tanks were built in a shop attached to the farmhouse with the assistance of Henry’s two sons, Walter and Leslie. In 1900, Walter later assumed ownership of the farm and business.

In 1910, a separate shop building was constructed and powered by a horse-driven treadmill. A jointer was added to the shop equipment. According to the story handed down in the family, the horse treadmill could not attain sufficient speed to operate the jointer properly.

A 5 HP Galloway engine, serial no. 19226, with a hit-and-miss governor, battery and coil, and make-and-break ignition was installed. This engine powered the shop until replaced at some time with a 5 HP New Era engine. For some reason that has been lost to time, the New Era engine was a disappointment.

Again, according to the story, it was difficult to start and half a day would be spent trying to get it running. The Galloway was repurchased and reinstalled in the shop. The New Era engine was pushed aside in the engine room where it rested for about 70 years. The previous article described how, on July 20, 1992, the New Era was started by John Rex of Chelmsford, Mass. The engine was later purchased by John and is now on display at the Rough and Tumble Museum in Kinzers, Pa.

Walter’s son, Louis, obtained and continued to operate the farm and business, adding a sawmill to the operation to produce the quality pine lumber needed to build the tanks. The Galloway continued to power the shop until a 7-1/2 HP electric motor was installed in 1928, the year electricity came to the area. The Galloway engine was sold again. The shop and equipment have been preserved and are still powered by the electric motor.

Louis raised a family of seven children, including two sons: Pete and Bill. Bill and his wife, Sharon, became the next generation to own and operate the farm. Pete ran a successful plumbing business until he retired. Thus, Pete and I formed a very informal partnership to collect, restore and show one-lung engines.

At the time the original article was published, Pete had found the Galloway engine, rescued it from its grave behind a stone wall on a neighboring farm and started restoration. To whom it had been originally sold and who else might have owned it has been long forgotten. Pete was assured by his father, Louis, that this was indeed the Galloway engine. The last owner told Pete that he had a set of new piston rings for the engine “somewhere.” They were never located.

The engine, encrusted with grease, dirt and rust, was complete except for a coil, and the piston was stuck. The accumulations of grease and dirt no doubt helped preserve the engine. Pete disassembled it completely. From the many methods used to free stuck pistons, Pete chose to stand the block on end, and after removing the head, filled the cylinder cavity with fuel oil and let it soak for about a year.

At some point during that time, when his employees were cleaning the plumbing shop, Pete found some of the engine parts loaded on the truck ready to go to the dump. He rescued them in the nick of time.

Later, Pete placed a wood block over the piston head then beat it with a large hammer. After a few blows the piston broke free and was easily removed. The cylinder walls and the piston rings were found to be in good condition. The rings were coated with carbon but were easily cleaned. One main bearing was rebabbitted; all of the other bearings were in good condition. The original wooden skids were replaced with lumber sawed at the Adams’ farm sawmill.

The most time-consuming part of the project was cleaning the rust and dirt from the engine. The original gas tank was rusted beyond repair. My contribution to the project was the construction of a new gas tank using the old one for a pattern.

Pete reassembled the engine and painted it a color that matched the original paint, which he found in various places not covered with dirt and rust.

As the years began to creep up on Pete and me, we disposed of our engine collections. Pete determined that the proper place for the Galloway was back on the farm in the shop where it had started its useful life, some 90 years before.

After completing the assembly of the engine, Pete took it to the family farm. He and his brother, Bill, attempted to start it without success – just an occasional “pop.” They belted one of Bill’s antique John Deere tractors to the pulley. Again, it would fire occasionally but failed to run. It was found that one of the connections in the fuel line was not tightened correctly, allowing the line to take in air. After properly tightening this connection the engine started and ran perfectly.

The engine, after draining the gas tank, was placed in the cluttered engine room of the shop, beside the electric motor that had replaced it some 75 years before.

Bill and his wife discontinued operating the farm as a dairy several years ago. However, the family now operates it as a petting farm, one of the area’s principle tourist attractions. The shop and engine are part of the attraction.