Dublin N. H. Gas Engine Meet

1910 Fuller & Johnson water pump engine

Richard R. Jerry

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Litchfield, RFD 1, Box 411, Hudson, N. H. 03051

Most modern-day New Englanders think an antique engine is something from a '49 Ford coupe. I've heard folks claim a flywheel is an accessory for a fishing rod, and would you believe a wooden skid is what a sleigh does on ice?

Still, it's heartening to note, antique engine collectors are on the increase in New Hampshire. That lesson was brought home to me in a rather painful way in August, when I made Thursday-night telephone arrangements to pick up two old Economy engines in a neighboring town. By the time I got to the place Saturday morning, some other eager-beaver new enthusiast had beat me to the darn things. A year or two ago, they'd have sat there unnoticed for months - even by me. I've been collecting for less than a year.

Gas engine meets, like many of us collectors, are a relatively new phenomenon in this area. Till now, most hobbyists contented themselves with displaying an engine or two at an occasional auction or county fair. And even at bone-fide gas engine meets, our flywheel-spinning smoke belchers sometimes do their thing to their own thunderous applause while spectators crowd around the idle antique automobiles primly ringing the fairgrounds. Still, things are looking up.

September 29, 1974, a sun-golden Sunday afternoon with autumn colors just tinging the small-town setting, the third annual gas engine meet was held on a patch of lawn in Dublin, New Hampshire.

Forty-four owners entered more than 150 engines. They came from Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. One ambitious observer counted fifty-four different makes and models of working engines on the grounds. They ranged in horsepower from my one-horse Roots and Vander Voort right on through to a 15 h.p. International Mogul owned by David Dearborn of West Campton, N.H. Some of the engines were beautifully painted and pin-striped, and some decked out in rust as old as themselves, but they all ran. There were also palm-of-your-hand size miniature models and, of course, old cars.

In fact, the meet was jointly sponsored by two Dublin men, Michael Worcester and Wayne Fisher, members of the Profile Automobile League. It seems a lot of folks owning old cars have engines too, and of that coincidence was born the idea for the engine meets. Admission is free. Profits from the sale of souvenirs and a 'beanhole dinner' put on by the Dublin Fire Company go into the fire department's coffers.

I brought three of my six engines to the meet. Among them was a 2-1/2 h.p. 500 r.p.m. International Titan, about 1910. Serial number is GA 13143. This little jewel came with its original wooden carrying skid and battery box, including induction coil. I stumbled across it accidentally in the course of a lawn party, when I noticed the flywheels in my own uncle's junkyard! It's not refinished yet, but runs perfectly following minor repairs and the welding of a cracked water jacket.

I also brought my 5 h.p. 450 r.p.m. Fuller and Johnson, about 1923. Serial number is 82929. A lot of spectators took pictures of this engine, probably because of its bright yellow pin striping and its F & J decals. This was my first engine. John Clement, a neighbor and long-time steam engine buff, sold it to me, guessing correctly that it'd get me 'hooked' on the hobby.

I was proud to note that my 1 h.p. 500 r.p.m. Roots and Vander Voort was another attention-getter at the meet. Its serial number is AR 47177. This size Roots, according to other collectors, is rare in these parts. I'm trying to refinish it without obliterating its somewhat deteriorated original decals.

My main problem at the engine show was getting my three entries running at once without causing the trailer on which they were mounted to vibrate violently. The flywheels invariably got into the same sequence, so that the trailer bounced around more than some of the children on the fairgrounds. I finally blocked up the trailer, and that solved the problem.

I had as much fun watching the other engines as running my own. There were two-strokers and four-strokers, diesels, gas and kerosene models, an antique English Fordson tractor on rubber, a 2-cylinder Grey marine engine, a wood splitter, a half-dozen vertical models, and an air compressor driving a steam engine.

Perhaps the only disadvantage to the meet was its cramped quarters, which quite severely restricted parking and the setting up of displays.

This shows part of a display set up by Charles Bristol and Tom Galbraith of Somers, Conn. In the foreground you can see an Aermotor water pump and an Ideal lawn mower engine, about 1 HP. Mounted on the trailer is a Schramm compressor, 6 cu. feet per minute.

Courtesy of Richard R. Jerry, R.F.D. 1, Box 411, Litchfield, Hudson, New Hampshire 03051

This is a 1910 Fuller & Johnson water pump engine owned by Tom Ryder of Milbury, Mass. Tom has seven engines and carries the water pump unassembled in the trunk of his car when he goes to Meets.

Courtesy of Richard R. Jerry, R.F.D. 1, Box 411, Litchfield, Hudson, New Hampshire 03051

This is David Dearborne's 15 HP International Mogul. The engine dates to about 1920 and took 1-1/2 to 2 months to restore, after a balance wheel was retrieved from the lake where it was used as a boat anchor. The base of the engine itself was in ten inches of mud when found. This West Campton, N.H. man owns about 35 engines.

Courtesy of Richard R. Jerry, R.F.D. 1, Box 411, Litchfield, Hudson, New Hampshire 03051

These are my own entries with the Titan and Roots running. Note the spectators around my trailer - they are looking at old cars - oh well!

Courtesy of Richard R. Jerry, R.F.D. 1, Box 411, Litchfield, Hudson, New Hampshire 03051

This shows a 5 HP Witte diesel engine which owner James Dunn of East Pepperell, Mass, figures was made in the late 20's or early 30's. Jim said the engine didn't run when he bought it a year ago and added that he'd 'chased after it' for some ten years before finally getting it in a junk yard. He's got about 20 engines.

Courtesy of Richard R. Jerry, R.F.D. 1, Box 411, Litchfield, Hudson, New Hampshire 03051

Another view of the Bristol and Galbraith display. The Schramm Compress drew a lot of admiring attention not only on its own but because it is running the oscillating system steam engine in this photo.

Courtesy of Richard R. Jerry, R.F.D. 1, Box 411, Litchfield, Hudson, New Hampshire 03051

Mother Nature got into the act too, getting even with us for our afternoon's racket by lashing out about 4 p.m. with violent thunderstorms that made headlines across the southern half of the state for the flooding and lightning damage they caused.

My last rain-drenched view as I drove away from the site was of the unsung hero running his wood splitter, the engine's long belt flapping defiantly against the bucketsful of falling water. I never did learn the fellow's name.

There were three engines I didn't get to show off in Dublin. Among them is a six-horse 550 r.p.m. M model McCormick Deering, year unknown, which runs a 30-inch buzz saw. Serial number is W 16090. Rig is mounted on a ten foot oak-framed, steel-wheeled trailer. It's completely refinished and runs just fine.

Neither did I bring my 3 h.p. 475 r.p.m. Fairbanks-Morse, Model Z, year unknown. Serial number is 497368. I assume this gas/kerosene model to be among my 'newer' makes. Like the McCormick, I figure it to have been manufactured in the late 20's, but I would gladly stand corrected if anyone with more information would pass it along.

The other engine left behind was a 4 h.p. Ottowa log saw, 500 r.p.m., serial number FS 4340. This piece took plenty of 'intensive care,' but I finally got it running after taking the Webster Oscillating Magneto apart some . eight times. It still doesn't throw a proper spark. I have all iron parts for the drag saw, but two new main wooden beams have to be made.

My whole collection runs well. All engines except the McCormick and Fairbanks have make-and-break ignitions and hit-and-miss governors. I'm on the lookout for other makes, and will acquire them as time and money permit.