Master Workman: Still Working

A 12 HP Master Workman runs again after years spent outside and full of water.

12 HP Master Workman

George Martin’s 12 HP Master Workman double cylinder engine. 

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George Martin’s circa 1910 12 HP Master Workman engine is proof that some engines are worth the considerable effort required for restoration.


Built by the Temple Pump Co. in Chicago, George didn’t know much about the double-cylinder engine when he had the opportunity to buy it, but he knew it was interesting. “It’s 12 HP on both cylinders – 6 HP on each one and you can lock out either one,” George says. “It was in Owensville, Mo., and another collector down there got a hold of it, but it was in terrible shape and he didn’t want to monkey with it so he sold it to me.”

George says that the engine spent many years outside and full of water. “All of the little steel pins and everything was rusted solid,” George says. “We had a terrible time getting the pistons out. A 30-ton press wouldn’t touch it so I had to take it to a big machine shop and press them out.”

Worth the wait

As George didn’t know anything about the company, he wasn’t sure how to begin restoring the engine. Still, he managed to slowly work on the engine, replacing the rusted pieces. “It took two years,” George says. “I’d work on it a while and set it back. Then I put an ad in Gas Engine Magazine and a man in Canada sent me a reprint of some pictures from books. Then I knew what to do.”

The end result is a stunning example of a rare engine that not many collectors have seen in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, or anywhere else for that matter. “It’s the only one like this that’s ever been to this show and it’s complete.” Regular attendees to the Old Threshers Reunion might note that another Master Workman has been a permanent fixture at the show, but George’s engine is different. “The other one is a later model and it’s throttle governed – this is hit-and-miss,” George says. “The other one has spark plugs and this has igniters on it. Also, the flywheels are different and the crankshaft is different.”

Despite having the knowledge to restore it, George still hasn’t figured out exactly what the engine was doing in Missouri, but he has a guess. “We thought it probably came out of a machine shop.”

Contact George Martin at 2420 RR 2, Wyaconda, MO.