Grandma's Engine

Grandma's engine

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207 Park Heim Yoga Itchome 1-19-19 Yoga, Setagaya-ku Tokyo 158, Japan

Grandma's engine was built, according to company records, in 1951 or 1952. This is not such a long time ago, but Grandma's engine was one of the last of the old design, with two brass drip-feed oilers, open valve gear, and twin spoke flywheels. Grandma's engine cost forty thousand yen according to an advertisement published at that time, and this was no doubt a considerable sum of money, even for a farmer with thirty dairy cows. However the engine was put to good use pumping water into the rice fields for the spring planting, driving the rice thresher in the fall, and sawing logs for the fire in winter.

As Granddad got older the fields were sold one by one, and the engine was no longer used. It was put away in the corner of a shed and covered with a sheet, and gradually disappeared under a pile of boxes. The engine had gotten older too, the kerosene tank had rusted out, and the latch had broken off the impulse drive on the magneto, falling into the sludge and rice husks which had collected over the years in the bottom of the crankcase, and bending the magneto shaft at the same time. The spark plug had been taken out, and put somewhere for safekeeping.

It was not until Granddad had passed away that I was able to go an see what had now become Grandma's engine. The engine was taken out from its resting place of many years, and subjected to a complete strip-down and clean. A spare magneto was obtained from a friend, along with a spark plug. The engine was reassembled and timed, one tooth out from the markings on the gears. The carburetor was filled with gas. A couple of swings, and Grandma's engine burst into life again, a sound which brought Grandma rushing out of the house to take a look.

Grandma's engine has since been displayed at a local agricultural fair, where it attracted the attention of the older generation of farmers. 'It looks like new,' said one. Grandma's engine is a Kubota AHB kerosene engine, developing 2 to 2.5 HP at 1100 to 1300 RPM