Rare Engines at Gas-Up 2002

A unique selection of rare engines converges in Western New York.

Craig Prucha's 12 HP Field

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Craig Prucha's 12 HP Field, made by Field-Brundage Co., Jackson, Mich., sometime in the teens. Note the sideshaft 'cam stopper' design, in which the intake valve cam actually stops turning as soon as the governor latches, at the same time keeping the magneto from tripping. Very neat stuff, and only employed by a few engine builders.

Jeff Park's 12 HP Rumsey, built by G.B. Rumsey Machine Co., Friendship, N.Y. Rumsey supposedly built these sideshaft engines in both air-cooled and water-cooled versions up to 30 HP. This is a rare survivor from a company that is said to have built engines first in Ripley, N. Y., then for a time in Johnsville, N.Y., and finally in Friendship, N.Y.

I always enjoy the occasional gas-ups sponsored by Craig Prucha on the western side of New York state in Pavillion, N.Y. So when I heard he was having another gas-up on Labor Day weekend, I looked forward to it eagerly - and I was not disappointed. Even though this year's gas-up was more laid back than previous ones, there were engines there that could put all but the largest gas engine shows to shame.

Rare Engines

Of course, the fact that Craig has some fine, unusual engines in residence helps. His latest acquisition is a 12 HP Field made by Field-Brundage Co., Jackson, Mich. This engine, which was probably made some time in the late teens, runs on natural gas and was originally used on an oil field lease. It is known as a 'cam stopper' engine, because when the governor locks the exhaust valve open a clutch in the end of the camshaft disengages the intake valve cam, at the same time preventing the magneto from tripping. The Field has a rare, aftermarket Webster magneto, making the engine all the more interesting.

A trio of Boviard & Seyfang hot tube oil field engines belonging to Craig Prucha (10 HP on left and 20 HP on right) and Stiles Bradley (15 HP at center).

A trio of Boviard & Seyfang single valve, hot tube oil field engines made by Boviard & Seyfang Manufacturing Co., Bradford, Pa., were on hand. Restoring these engines is a specialty of Craig's, and the unique sound of these engines could be heard throughout the day. The 10 HP and 20 HP engines on either end are Craig's, and the 15 HP engine between them belongs to Stiles Bradley, Pavillion, N.Y.

The photo below shows a unique 5 HP 'Special Electric' Bogart engine, made by famed steam engine builder Farrar & Trefts, Buffalo, N.Y., around 1902. This engine, also owned (and restored) by Stiles, features a counterbalanced crankshaft, hot tube ignition and pendulum governor. It idles along at about 28 rpm.

Wayne Grenning and his son, Alex, both of Lockport, N.Y., brought a couple of Economy engines. Alex is the proud owner of the 1919 1-1/2 HP Economy Model E on the right, and Wayne owns the 1921 1-1/2 HP Thermoil on the left. This is the first type of diesel engine made by the Cummins Engine Co., Columbus, Ind., and is rarely seen today, especially in running condition. Cummins, in fact, wants to buy this completely original example for the lobby of their factory. This engine was started by hand (no starting crank, which, for those familiar with Hvid engines, is almost unheard of), and ran all day long.

There were many other engines, too many to picture in this short article, but I will include a few of the more unique ones, such as the rare 12 HP Rumsey engine owned by Jeff Parks, Elma, M.Y., and built by G.B. Rumsey Machine Co., Friendship, N.Y. A few Rumsey engines still survive in their native habitat of western New York, but these larger ones are rarely seen.

The photo below shows another unusual item, a Pattin 6 pump 'power' with integral 8 HP engine made by Pattin Bros. Co., Marietta, Ohio, and owned and restored by Howard Weaver, Jamestown, N.Y. This set up was used to run oil well pumps in the fields of Pennsylvania and western New York.

There were other relics of the oil fields on hand, including a 6 HP Reid made by Joseph Reid Gas Engine Co., Oil City, Pa., and owned by Dave Johnson, Corfu, N.Y. Wonderfully restored, this two-cycle engine features a separate cylinder for charging the main cylinder instead of the usual crankcase charging found on most two-cycle engines. Although originally designed to run on the natural gas by-products from the oil fields, this engine runs on gas oline, supplied via a small, modern gas engine carburetor. This makes it run nice and slow.

Dave Johnson's two-stroke hot bulb Reid. Dave has this engine running on gasoline drawn from a small carburetor, just visible in front of the cylinder head.

Woody Sins' circa 1902 2-1/2 HP Cook side shaft, which is possibly related to Craig Prucha's Field. Cook is thought to have evolved into the Jackson Engine & Motor Co., Jackson, Mich., which then became the Field-Brundage Co. some time around 1905.

Last, but not least, is an engine from the 'toot your own horn' department. The picture at right shows my 2-1/2 HP Cook, built by Albion Engine & Motor Co., Albion, Mich. I restored this engine with much help from Wayne Grenning (thanks again, Wayne), and it features dual fuel operation and a very nice, original brass fly ball governor. The patent on the governor is from 1902, making the engine about 100 years old.

I hope you all enjoyed this brief tour of Craig's gas-up as much as I enjoyed being there. Thanks again, Craig.

Contact engine enthusiast Woody Sins at: 3 Edna Ter, New Hartford, NY 13413, or via e-mail at: hitnmissi @juno.com