Heavy Iron

15 HP Bessemer

Content Tools

HCR 65 Box 25 Albany, Vermont 05820 

There it was again, 'Buyers for large engines wanted: Titusville, Pennsylvania.' If my wife had only known how much that advertisement affected me each month, she probably would have hidden every copy of GEM as they came. Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer. I had to make that call. After a couple of tries I was able to connect with the advertiser. Yes, he had several large engines for sale. After hearing of Reids, Bessemers, Superiors etc., I was hooked. Almost in a daze I heard myself setting a date to make the 650 mile trip.

Now back to reality. What did I have in my inventory of old farm trucks that would make the trip? The 1947 Brock-way was too old and slow. The 1970 Ford was fit for field work only. That left the 1964 Ford. I asked myself ''Was it up for the trip?' All my friends laughed, which was hardly encouraging, but as we all know, when the fever hits, caution is sometimes thrown to the wind. So on that cold December 6th morning, with the temperature hovering around minus ten degrees, my wife and I started out for Pennsylvania.

The trip from Albany, Vermont to Titusville. Pennsylvania seemed to take an eternity at only 45 miles per hour. Fortunately, the old Ford purred like a kitten, and on the second day we arrived. The engine I settled on, as you can see, is a 15 HP Bessemer. After cutting a road through the woods, and removing several large trees that had grown up around it, we were able to back in a loader truck. It picked up the engine after I cut it from its cement foundation and then put it on the back of my Ford.

That engine, which appeared large on the ground, looked positively huge on that old truck. This time I thought to myself 'You've gone too far.' At 6200 pounds, it was all the old Ford wanted as we would find out later.

Every hill was a challenge on the road home. Sometimes first gear was barely enough. What would the police say when they saw us coming? Fortunately, I think they were so dumbfounded by the truck and its load, they didn't dare get in our way. What began as a slow trip on the way out soon turned into a crawl on the way home. Even now I can still recall every crack and pothole in the road.

If, by this time, you are wondering how I managed to persuade my wife to come along, I will answer by saying that we are dairy farmers and the chances to leave the farm are few. It would not have surprised me if she had offered to help carry the engine home, just to get away for a few days! Actually the return trip home, except for one flat, was uneventful. My wife got a real chance to see the countryside at a leisurely pace. Cars flying by at 65 could hardly enjoy what we saw at our speed.

After four days away from the farm, the best road sign that we could see came into view 'WELCOME TO VERMONT. THE GREEN MOUNTAIN STATE.' We had made it! From that point on it was all downhill, as they say in this part of the country.

Now the engine resides in a large tool shed where I am in the process of restoring it. I hope to have more pictures when the project is complete. I would love to hear from anyone who has a similar engine that is running.

Stats: bore: 8.5 inches; stroke: 15 inches; weight: 6200 pounds; flywheel: 68 inches tall by 6.25 inches wide; weight of flywheel: 1250 pounds each; RPM: 180; horsepower: 15; serial number: 9047.