Acquiring and Restoring a RAWLEIGH-SCHRYER

Rawleigh - Schryer

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15023 Pepperwood Dr. Omaha, Nebraska 68154

One Sunday last fall a friend called, got me out of bed, and suggested that I carry a couple of my engines over to a local show. The weather was on target for most shows I seem to pick rainy. Anyway, I loaded up my fleet (all three engines) and headed over. Shortly thereafter, I was tired of cranking, but all three were running.

All was going well when a couple of fellows came by and asked if I knew anything about 'RS' engines. My intelligent answer was 'nope'. Seems as though their grandmother had one out in the barn, and if I was interested they would take me over there. Need I say more? 15 minutes later we were pulling into their farm, where the grandmother ran a small antique shop.

Sure enough, back in one corner of the barn, where it obviously had been for many years, sat this little 1 HP engine. Dirt and dust covered it well but I was able to see it was all there. The flywheels turned and only the intake valve was stuck. Closer inspection found a nameplate on the side of the hopper. It was a Rawleigh - Schryer. This still didn't ring any bells, but I sure liked the looks of it.

The lady who owned it didn't know much about the engine except that she wanted to get rid of it. When we got around to talking price though, I found she was apparently more attached to it than she let on. I thought the price was too high, and being a college student, I sure couldn't afford it. The lady was very nice though, and I promised to think about buying the engine and to bring my mom by to visit her antique shop.

I soon found my early thinking wrong on several counts. Several friends graciously advised as to the true value of that somewhat rare and highly collectible engine, with statements like 'You knucklehead, why didn't you buy it?' I also was able to scrounge up a few bucks, so when I took Mom over to visit the lady, we started serious negotiations. I found her becoming less attached to the machine than I thought, for she immediately put it on a half-price sale. We finally concluded negotiations early in the spring, with all my final-final offers being rejected. But, after five months of working on the deal, I found that I could afford it by cutting out a few frivilous purchases, like food, gas, clothing and such trivia. So now, the Rawleigh - Schryer is mine.

After buying the Rawleigh - Schryer, I hauled it home in the family Suburban. I was, of course, met with wild enthusiasm when I pulled into the driveway. Some of the memorable praise I received went some- thing like this: 'Did you have to bring that filthy thing home?' said Mom. 'Why don't you spend more time on your hobby of collecting and fixing old pocket watches? At least then you don't track dirt and grease throughout the house.' 'How much did you pay for that?' said Dad. (I guess he couldn't believe what a good deal I got.) 'When are you going to pay me back that money I loaned you this morning?' said my brother, always one to cut a guy a little slack. 'Bark,' said Aireo, our dog.

Then we unloaded it and wheeled it into the garage. 'I hope the neighbors aren't watching,' said Mom.

The first step in my restoration was to clean up the engine. I soaked, scraped and brushed to remove as much crud as possible, using about a gallon of solvents along the way. This got it down to where I could see the original color and copy the decorative pin striping. I found the paint to match very well the photo of R-S colors on the back cover of GEM a couple of months ago. Next we took the engine apart and found it to be very tight. It looked like this engine had not been run very much and didn't have much rust under the grime. Even the stuck valve came out with penetrating oil and several light hammer taps.

I did forget to mark the timing gears before dismantling. My dad said not to worry, that if a person understands how a four stroke engine works, he can surely get one of these simple engines in time. Since I've never seen Dad prove this theory of his, I worried. Fortunately, there were factory marks on both gears and the flywheel.

I sent out most of the cast parts to be sandblasted. To protect the bearings, we wrapped paper towels around a wood dowel and clamped that in place with the journal caps. I failed to mask off the valve seats, which would have saved a grinding job later.

When the castings came back from the sand blaster, we ground them smooth with a side grinder and a wheel on an electric drill. Duro Liquid Metal in a tube, worked well for filling in pits. Then all parts were primed, and wet sanded until smooth. I finished the engine with three coats of an acrylic enamel mixed to the proper color, then three coats of a clear acrylic overcoat to give it depth. Some of the moving parts were painted black. I tried to duplicate the original pin striping before applying the clear coats.

This engine came equipped with an early model Webster magneto. I was surprised to find it had a strong spark, so I only had to clean it up. The engine went back together without any problems and after some tinkering, we were able to get it fired off. I left one spring off the governor mechanism, so it runs real slow. I now have a nice looking machine which is definitely a keeper.

I am real thankful for the advice I received on this project from Emile Legendre of Uxbridge, Massachusetts and also to Harold Green of Avoca, Iowa, for his many restoration tips. I do enjoy messing around with this old iron and even get my dad interested at times. Mom will even admit it's a nice looking engine, as long as I remember to remove my shoes before walking in the house. I'm now looking forward to hauling the Rawleigh - Schryer to a few shows next summer. I'd also be happy to correspond with other R-S collectors.