Gas Engines His Hobby


Courtesy of James Walsh, 30 Skene Street, Whitehall, New York 12887

James Walsh

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30 Skene Street, Whitehall, New York 12887

The picture with my story, shows a few of the engines, that was taken two years ago and as I remember and from help from the wife, the first is a Hercules made for and used in the Jagear cement mixer. The other is a Fairbanks Morse, Bulldog with the oscillator and make and break ignitor and further back on a shelf is a Newway air-cooled with the fan on the side which has a spark plug and vibrator coil with battery. I guess my pal, Tippy, also got in the picture.

I have a Maynard sold by the former Charles Williams Stores. This is a five H.P. I run this one with the coil and battery as the Mag needs repair. Another that I have just rebuilt is an International with one disc flywheel and the pulley turns in the opposite way. I have a Fairbanks upright, water-cooled with the make and break ignitor, three H.P.

One of my gems is a Deering three H.P., water-cooled that has the make and break with a Mag. This has a solid hot head and should operate on kerosene in the main tank. For starting there is a compartment in the carburetor for gas and after it warms, it is turned over to the kerosene and water is mixed with the kerosene. I believe this was the idea of adding humidity, the same as the older cars run better at night when the air was more humid. This has a throttle governor and starts and runs real well. I have a Maytag air-cooled two cycle that used the coil and battery.

Also, I have the old Briggs and Stratton with the carb in the base and one push rod for the exhaust. Both valves are headed over on top. Another is a Witte that has a mag and spark plug, water-cooled two H.P. and an Ottawa log saw, one flywheel, five H.P. water-cooled. The only one that I have not run is an International Mogul with the make and break and mag. I used nail heads for points but will have to get better material as it does not fire under compression. Also, I have used an old six volt auto coil which is not the proper coil but will work.

James, pictured with his engines [a man of great spirit, for though blind, he does not let that keep him from enjoying his gas engine hobby].

I lost my sight completely in 1960. Until then I was operating a dairy farm so was used to machinery. When I started as a youth my dad had a Ruggles six H.P. that we used on the saw, thresher, and silo filler, and we had a Taylor Vacuum engine on the milking machine. None of these engines would run when I got them so it was a challenge and I put in a lot of time getting them to run and tuning them up. I got to the Lancaster show twice and to the Schaghticoke Fair where the Pioneer club had a nice display of engines that were in fine condition. I am not aware of any collectors in this area so am on my own as we are on the Vermont border on the south end of Lake Champlain and we are trying to prove Whitehall as the birthplace of the American Navy.

I would be glad to hear from anyone and will answer all letters.