Beginner's Luck

Petter engine

Content Tools

2436 Westcott Road, RR#4 Duncan, B.C. Canada V9L 3W8

After being invited to the Puget Sound Antique Tractor and Machinery Show for the weekend and seeing all the old stationary engines, I was hooked. In the next couple of weeks after returning home, I acquired a 1 HP Fairbanks Morse in very tough shape. I then decided to place an ad in the paper for any antique engines anyone might have.

Within two weeks I had a call from a lady who was selling her uncle's estate. She said there was a small engine in the pump house, if I was interested. I could hardly wait for the next morning, when I would meet her at the house.

When I reached the property, it looked as if the old fellow who had lived there was a real collector. There were boxes of odds and ends everywhere. I walked into the pump house to find this old engine still hooked up to the water pump, fittings and belt intact. The engine was complete, just as it was when put in years earlier.

I got the engine home and started to dismantle and clean it with the help of my two enthused boys. We learned from the plate on the side of the engine that it was a Petter, made in England. After a couple of weeks of cleaning and scraping it was looking pretty good. I hadn't expected to see the amount of brass on it that it had.

One problem I had was getting it started. I got lots of tips from fellow tractor club members and engine enthusiasts, but still couldn't manage to get it going. I acquired the address of two people in England, who someone said might have some information, and sent letters out to them.

After a short time I received a letter from one of the fellows, who didn't have any information. You can imagine how disappointed I was. A couple of weeks later I got a reply from the second fellow, telling me I had a 'rare find.' My engine was one in a 'Handy Man' series which was made from 1903-1915. My engine #20162 was built in 1909. With the info he gave, me along with a booklet on fixing, starting and working the 'Handy Man Oil Engine,' I was able to get it restored to basically its original colors and get it running.

With the help of my boys and 'Mr. Bruce,' we have built a trailer from a cedar beam, added old wheel barrow wheels and a boiler tank for the cooling.

Since restoring my engine, I have displayed it at the Puget Sound Machinery Show and another local weekend fair with rave reviews. Now that I have finished this project, I will be on the lookout for another engine to restore.

I would be happy to share my information on this Petter engine or to hear from anyone who had this make of engine.