4171 Cedar Ave. S.E., Rochester, Minnesota 55904.
During the month of July 1990, while helping a friend haul some tractors he had purchased at an auction in Nerstrand, we stopped at a Dairy Queen for lunch in Dodge Center on our returning to Rochester, Minnesota. One of the tractors, a 1923 Fordson on the trailer, caused some of the customers in the Dairy Queen to inquire about them. While my friend spoke with a farmer from Iowa about the Fordson, an elderly couple from Owatonna asked me about the other tractor. I told them that I was just helping move the tractors, but that I did collect old gas engines. The husband told me they had an old engine in the barn on their farm. I asked them to call me should they decide to sell the engine, and gave them my name and phone number at Rochester. In the first part of August the lady called to say they had decided to sell the engine. She mentioned that they could not find a model or serial number, nor did they know what horsepower it was. The only thing they could find for identification on the engine was 'Gilson, made in Port Washington, Wisconsin' on the base casting.
It was not until later the next month that I contacted the couple again and learned that they still had the engine. The lady told me a collector from their hometown had looked at the engine, made them an offer, but had not returned to purchase it. The next day my wife and I left for Owatonna to look over the engine. We located the farm where we met the friendly couple and were told the Gilson engine was on the second floor of their granary.
We all headed for the granary to look at the 'Gilson'. The engine was covered with grease of many years and the crankcase and battery box were full of oats, beans, and debris of all kinds. The engine was an air cooled, 'hit & miss' mounted on skids. A price was quickly negotiated and the engine was lowered from the second floor of the granary and loaded on a trailer. Checking the engine over after securing it on the trailer, I noticed there was no cooling fan and asked if they knew where it might be. The lady said she knew the engine had been on the farm for over 65 years and it had never had a fan. After the couple related a few stories about what they remembered the engine was used for, my wife and I headed for home.
Later, checking through some of my reference books at home I found in American Gas Engines Since 1872 that Gilson manufactured a 'Goes Like Sixty' 1? HP engine in 1907. They also made a 1 HP model, and the only difference was that the 1 HP did not have a fan. While again looking the engine over I found 'Goes Like Sixty' was painted on the front of the battery box. Still later, while cleaning the engine, I found a brass plate on the cylinder below the oiler. On the name plate was 'Goes Like Sixty, made by Gilson Mfg. Co., Style E, HP 1, No 4134, Port Washington, Wisconsin.' Close inspection revealed the only things missing from the engine were the filler plug on the oiler and the cover for the connecting rod grease cup. When I cleaned the crankcase and the battery box, I located the filler plug. Also found were three extra spark plugs, the crank, two extra pulleys of different sizes along with miscellaneous tools and parts.
Two evenings were spent dismantling, cleaning, and reassembling the Gilson. It then was time to see if the old engine would run. After only a few minutes adjusting the spark timing, it fired up and ran as good as the day Gilson manufactured it.
If anyone knows anything about Gilson, has a serial number list, or has literature on these 'Goes Like Sixty Engines' please contact me at the above address or call 507-289-5161.