The History of the Detroit Early Engine Club

Learn about the history of the Detroit Early Engine Club, a group of engine enthusiasts who are known to collect a variety of engines.

Air cooled 2 h.p. engine

Photo courtesy of George DeAngelis, Allen Park, Michigan.


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The Detroit Early Engine Club shares some of their history with antique engines. 

George DeAngelis of Allen Park, Michigan (co-founder and first secretary-treasurer of E.E.C.), with the help of young Tom Stockton, buzzes wood with power furnished by a 5 hp Hercules owned by Tom Stockton. In the foreground is an air cooled 2 hp engine of unknown name or vintage. Note the unique cooling fins on the inner side of the fly wheel. Can anyone identify it?

A couple of years ago two fellows were talking about old engines and wondered if there weren't more fellows in the Detroit area who might share the same interest. As a result of this conversation, the Detroit Early Engine Club was formed in June 1964 with 15 members.

Since then, the club has grown to 65 members and meets at 8:00 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month in Lovett Hall at Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Mich. Member's interests cover both steam and gas engines, tractors, and related equipment. Frank Davis, of the Greenfield Village staff, is host for the meetings.

The first opportunity for the club to display their engines was in connection with the Country Fair at Greenfield Village in 1965. This is an annual three day event held each spring. This fair attracts young and old alike, but has a special attraction for the youngsters who come in buses from all over the state. The program conveys some of the flavor of old time country fair, including such things as handicrafts, 4-H exhibits, etc.

As a fitting compliment to this occasion, the Engine Club was invited to bring some of their old engines and demonstrate how these were used to buzz wood, pump water, shell com, etc.

After a small beginning, this year's meet generated a lot of interest as shown in the pictures. The club is looking forward to another meet in the fall.

1900 Gearless Engine. This engine was restored by the Early Engine Club in 1965 for the Henry Ford Museum. It was selected as a club project because of its unique design. Note the double grooved cam on the crankshaft which alternately moves the valve lifter over a cam lobe on one revolution and off on the next. This eliminates the timing gear. The single offset flywheel causes the engine to run very rough.

Youngsters getting a good look at some old "one lungers" while Ed Schultz (a charter member) of Garden City, Michigan tends his big "Bull Dog" engine mounted on a homemade truck.