Cliff Collette's Rumsey Engine

Rumsey engine from back

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Box 74, Guildhall, VT 05905

At the engine shows in this area, Cliff Collette of Hyde Park, Vermont is probably best known as the man with the rare Rumsey engine. Cliff has lived all of his 68 years in the Hyde Park area except for some time in the U.S. Navy and a defense plant in World War II. He farmed in his early years. In the late 1940's he started his small engine repair business and continued that until his retirement.

The Rumsey was obtained in 1974, the year in which he began to collect engines. The purchase of this engine was a classic example of 'old engine fever' that all of us seem to share. The engine had been retired many years before. It had been hauled out to the edge of the woods on a farm and left there. Cliff heard about the engine and contacted the owner. He went to take a look at it as soon as possible, which happened to be in the darkness of night. The headlights of his vehicle revealed that the skids were rotted away and the flywheels were resting on the ground. Amazingly, the piston was not stuck. He had to have it and a deal was made with the owner. Cliff had realized that this was a special engine.

It was eight years before Cliff got around to start restoration on the Rumsey. A 3 HP International Famous vertical tank cooled engine, a vertical Ellis engine and an air cooled New Way had taken precedence. In the winter of 1982-1983, the Rumsey underwent a restoration of about 300 hours of labor. The engine was disassembled and sandblasted. Hours and hours of time were spent in applying primer and sanding it down and applying more and sanding it down until the surface of the engine was as smooth as glass. The necessary mechanical work was done and the engine was reassembled and painted. Cliff had also made new kiln dried oak skids for the engine.

This Rumsey is a very rare and unique engine. The base, cylinder, cylinder head, hopper and valve chamber (or manifold) on this engine are a single casting. The engine also has two spark plugs in the head. It has a 5' bore and 8' stroke. The flywheels are 27/8' wide and 27' in diameter. The engine was built in

Friendship, New York around 1910 and is a 5 HP. The extensive restoration of the engine and the fine workmanship of the oak skids makes this a very popular engine at the shows.

Also, the friendliness of Cliff Collette to his fellow engine collectors and to the people who come to the shows makes him very popular. He always takes the time to talk to you and to answer the many questions he gets asked.