Gray-Aldrich Engine

Gray-Aldrich engine

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740 Honeymoon Hill, Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738

I first saw this engine at Dacusville, South Carolina, Pioneer Days, September '88. My name being Gray, I wanted/needed it... not for sale.

The next time I saw the engine was at Arden, North Carolina, Apple Country Antique Engine Show. It was for sale, and for less than I would have paid the first time I saw it.

It is a United 1 HP, Type A, air cooled, as shown on page 520, Wendel's book. Where United called it 1 HP, Gray-Aldrich stretched it to 2 HP.

This engine has been at many shows in the surrounding area, but so far no one has ever seen or heard of another Gray-Aldrich. I have talked to engine people in the northeast and still no one knows anything about the Gray-Aldrich Company.

I tried the Boston City Clerk, because the plate says 'Gray-Aldrich, Boston, Mass.' They told me it would cost $10.00 to research the files. Later I received a letter 'certifying' that no such company was registered in Boston between 1907 and 1968.

Not satisfied, I contacted the Boston Public Library. They were very attentive and went out of their way to help me. I received City Directory ads from 1915 and 1925. The company must have been growing because in 1915 they moved from #8 to #33 & #34, Commercial Wharf, Boston. In 1920 they moved to Atlantic Avenue and then back to Commercial Wharf in 1925. In the 1930 City Directory, Gray-Aldrich was listed as having been incorporated since 1908. The name changed to Gray-Aldrich Marine in 1933, still at Commercial Wharf, Boston. 1944 was the last year it was listed in the Boston City Directory.

After running the engine, I discovered that a paint job was the only restoration in many hard years. It was sleeved at a local automotive shop, begrudgingly. The work took two months. The rings I got through GEM advertising. Next, all I needed was paint??? As no one had ever heard of Gray-Aldrich, I had to assume they were practical, and painted their engines black (easier to keep clean) with silver striping. So far, no one can prove it wrong.

After restoring the engine, I was off to the Smoky Mountain Antique Engine & Tractor Show, Father's Day, 1991. She would run only a few minutes and die. I tried all weekend but could get only a few minutes at a time. I messed with everything I could think of: gas, timing, compression, spark, all seemed good. Later in the year, at another show, I told Joe Morris about my problems. After a little checking he went to the ignitor and loosened the movable arm nut 1/8 turn.

In the two years since, it hasn't missed a 'hit'. Thanks, Joe!

It seems that in my restoration the arm was tightened too much, making it too sluggish when she got warm.

If there is another Gray-Aldrich out there, please drop me a line. I would like to correspond with you!