909 N. James Street Ludington, Michigan 49431
'It Was By Accident...' that Steven J. Dvorak, 909 North James Street, Ludington, Michigan 49431 found this United 3-4 HP Type A, beautifully photographed for our cover by Matt McMellen.
A friend and member of the local engine club, Kevin Whitaker, and I decided we should visit another member, about 25 miles away. We knew he had a large amount of iron in a garage and enjoyed talking about the contents.
We arrived at his home after listening to the normal hints from the wife 'We don't need more junk in the garage' 'Don't bring anything home.' I still don't see how she could even consider this hobby as junk collecting.
We arrived and found the owner in a trading/selling mood. We entered the garage and, as usual, it was filled to the rim. We were here several times and were used to walking over model A's and a truck or two, stepping on and over engines. The walkways were not open but filled with engines, parts and boxes of great stuff. I, at this time, was interested in a Standard twin; but although he had some, none were for sale.
While Kevin was looking at one side of the garage I was at the other. He found some that interested him but were not for sale. He called me over to assist him in uncovering some jewel he had found. In the process we had to move, twice, an old rusty engine laying on the dirt floor. After it had rolled over my foot twice, I took the hint and gave it a good look-see.
The engine was thought to be a United 3-4 horse. It had no gas tank; no crank guard; oilers; a broken head; and was covered in rust. The engine did, however, appear to be free. It did not take long and a trade was made. (Now the wife can't say too much ... I moved one out to bring in a smaller one.)
It took some time to get this out as we had to move the model A's and several engines. About 45 minutes of sweat, crushed fingers and trampled feet and we had it on the truck.
I spent about four months working on this on and off. I obtained a muffler from Elrey Grambart and several items from Hit & Miss Enterprises, including a set of rings. The engine was starting to take shape. The head was welded by Mike Borema at no charge, 'Just let me see it when you're done.' I cleaned the mag and found out quickly how much spark they can throw I don't like to be reminded of that. A lesson on the United/Associated igniter and we were in business.
I gave it a few flips on the flywheels and it took off. Everything was painted and assembled on oak skids. It was then mounted on an old Galloway cart I found in the junk yard.
This engine will be shown annually at the Western Michigan Old Engine Club Show. The photo was taken by Matt McMellen.
Now, if I could only find an old Stearns Engine . . .