P.O. Box 23, Clearwater, Nebraska 68726
When one thinks of a perfect weekend one is liable to think of sun, sand and lots of good food. When a gas engine nut thinks of a perfect weekend it is to find a 'jewel that no one else has.' We had such a perfect weekend not very long ago. To the long suffering wife it is either be bored stiff at home or go along with the ever loving spouse. I'm one of those who likes to do things, so when the pickup left the garage and the town of Clearwater, I was in the passenger seat.
A friend of ours, Stan Knaus, who found this beautiful treasure invited us to Solomon, Kansas, to check this engine out. There one of the fun things about hunting and finding engines happened. We met Stan, Liz and their two children and were invited to stay the weekend. There we had the good food, some sun, but no sand. On Saturday morning we traveled about six miles into the country to find this treasure. We met another couple, Jim Burt and his wife, the owners of the engine. They also made us feel at home even when the men began to pound and work to dismantle the engine enough so they could take it up the steep stairs.
Jim then told me the story about the old engine. He was not certain about the year but, around 1910 to 1918, his dad had purchased the engine to mix cement for blocks for their home. The blocks did not turn out to their liking and were used to build a hog house. The engine was used to mix cement for the house foundation and other buildings on the farm. The house was built in 1918 and the family needed an engine to run the light plant but, since times were tough, they decided to use the engine for the light plant. They had to take one of the flywheels off to be able to get it into the basement. The exhaust was piped outside (where the men found the muffler in A-l shape).
That same year Jim s father died, about a month before Jim was born. Jim's mother moved to town in 1920 and the house stood empty until 1941, when Jim and his bride moved in. The engine sat in the basement until Stan found it. It hadn't been run since before Jim was born. Jim is now 75 years old.
This jewel I have been talking about is a 4 HP Stover engine that was sold by John Deere. Deere put their logo on the side. We haven't found anyone who knows much about the engine but it is genuine because the logo is an original and has been painted on by Deere. The engine itself has about 75% of the original paint. On the logo are the words 'John Deere Plow Company, Kansas City, Denver, Oklahoma.'
Duaine and Stan worked all morning taking the flywheels off and pretty much disassembled it as the stairs up were narrow and steep and the engine very heavy. With a lot of pushing and shoving the engine was finally in the pickup and ready to head back to Clearwater, Nebraska, where just a little bit of TLC soon had it running like a top.
We would have liked to have taken it to Grundy Center but the show is not a small engine show. The Filsingers will be there, though, with their W-III engine. Stop by and visit.
We would like to say 'Thanks so much' to Jim Burt and his wife and the Stan Knaus family of Solomon, Kansas, for such a perfect weekend.