Jack-Of-All-Trades Engine


Picture shows ignitor and ignitor trip made from recast parts.

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10400 Witt Lane La Vale, Maryland 21502

As some of you GEM readers might remember, the gas engine bug had bitten me with the restoration of my first 'one lunger,' a Hercules 3 HP that I wrote about in the December 1996 issue. This engine obviously led to the search for others.

This is the story about finding and restoring my F-M 2 HP 'Jack-Of-All-Trades.' I started asking everybody and anybody I could about the whereabouts of a 'one lunger' that might be around the Cumberland area. I found out that nobody I had talked to even knew what a 'one lunger' gas engine was, let alone know where one might be. Right away I realized that to find another engine to restore was not going to be very easy!

I started to just drive around the outskirts of town stopping along the way at almost every farm to ask the owners about the whereabouts of a one lunger. At first, my wife and two little boys, four and six years old, were more than eager to go along for a ride in the country. But after a couple of months of riding around, my wife decided that shopping or doing whatever she does when the boys and I are not home was much more fun than sitting in the truck while I talked for hours with farmers looking for the 'needle in the haystack,' as she was referring to the search for a one lunger. The boys and I were having a great time though. We were meeting some very nice people on our search. The boys even got to feed chickens, watch cows being milked, search around the barns, but their favorite event so far was one friendly person gave them a pony ride, while he and I talked engines. The friendliness and the eagerness of the people I talked to, to help me find a one lunger, really impressed me about the people in our area.

A couple of months went by and I had not even found one little lead about the whereabouts of a one lunger. Then! One evening I stopped by a farm and was talking to the owners, when I asked the question that I had asked so many times I practically had the lines memorized. The farmer's answer practically threw me into shock. Within spitting distance of Interstate 68 he knew of an elderly gentleman whose family owned the big farm where Rocky Gap State Park is now. The two brothers back in the '40s, '50s and '60s used to clean grain for everybody in the area, with a big double flywheel one lunger as the power source. Also I was told that in the same building where the big one lunger was, there were some smaller double flywheel one lungers.

The boys and I were really excited! The boys couldn't wait to get home and tell their mommy that we might have a good lead on the 'needle in the haystack.' The farmer who told me this information gave me directions to the home of Mr. John Raines, who is one of, the two brothers who ran the big engine used to power the grain-cleaning machine.

The next evening the boys and I went to see John Raines. His home was only a short drive, a couple of miles from mine, and within the city limits! After introducing myself and my boys, I explained to him my search for a one lunger. John told the boys they could play around in the yard while he and I sat on the wooden swing and talked. John told me about the big one lunger that they used to clean grain for the local farmers. It was a 16 HP hopper-cooled Foos. John said that in the early Thirties, during the depression, he and his brother, who were the only two that ran the family farm, heard of a big gas engine which was for sale in the Mt. Savage, Maryland, area. They went to Mt. Savage with a wagon pulled by a team of horses and purchased the big Foos. The Foos was loaded on the wagon that the horses then pulled to the farm. John said that this took a day and a half to accomplish. Through the '30s and '40s John and his brother purchased about thirty hit and miss engines. John said some of them were used around the farm and some of them they just bought because they wanted to. My Fairbanks was purchased from their pastor, as a parts engine, in about 1935. John remembers that it was missing parts and had a very badly bent crankshaft. The crankshaft was bent to almost a 90-degree angle out past the flywheel hub, but he and his brother had another F-M just like it. They figured that there might be some parts they could use for the other engine someday. John related that in the '30s some models of hit and miss engines were becoming scarce and parts were hard to find. That's the only reason John and his brother bought my F-M. This engine sat around with the others for quite a number of years. John remembers this engine particularly because of the badly bent crankshaft. He could not remember what the pastor used the engine for.

John and I talked for a couple of hours that first evening. He took me into his garage and showed me the only engine he had left, the F-M Jack-of-all-Trades. All the other engines had been sold when the state bought the farm to build Rocky Gap State Park. John said the only reason that the F-M wasn't sold was because it was in such bad shape when he and his brother bought it so they had stored it outside in the woods and had forgotten about it until everything was sold in 1969 at their farm sale. John remembers that he had wanted to keep the big Foos, but his older brother wanted it sold. A person from down around Baltimore or Washington bought all their engines at the sale. John remembers that all 30 or so engines, including the big Foos, were sold for three hundred dollars at the sale that day.

I made quite a number of trips out to John's house to talk about engines. Finally after all the trips and long talks, John agreed to sell me the F-M. Every time John and I talked, he reminisced about running the big Foos, and wished they would have kept it. I could tell from our long talks that he really missed running hit and miss engines. The talks brought back fond memories for him.

One day after school was over, I went out with another engine enthusiast, Ron Paul, to John's and picked up the engine. Some of you GEM readers might remember that I teach industrial arts/technology education, and that gas engines just happen to fit right in with our Power Technology class at school.

The next morning some students helped me unload the engine. My partner in restoring engines is Jim Cogan. Jim also teaches industrial arts/technology education a couple of rooms down from my classroom. Over the next couple of days Jim and I assessed the condition of the Fairbanks.

Right way we knew we had our work cut out for us. When John and his brother had bought the Fairbanks they intended to use it for parts, and over the years they had stripped it of everything right down to the head, cylinder, block, and flywheels. After leaving the farm, John had become a machinist. Years later he decided to fabricate parts and make the engine run. The engine actually ran when I bought it, but had no original parts. He fabricated everything from an old parts catalog.

Jim and I decided that we wanted it to be restored to original condition. All the fabricated parts were removed. The parts search was going to be extensive. We needed the complete governing, fuel, and ignition systems. After many phone calls I found out that parts were not available from any of the regular GEM advertisers. I realized that we were going to have to try to find someone who would loan us their original parts. Then I could send the originals to the foundry to use as patterns to have original looking new parts cast.

I learned that Mr. Ralph Unterzuber of Richmond, Virginia, a long-time engine collector, had a 3 HP type T Fairbanks. A call to Mr. Unterzuber was made. He graciously gave me permission to visit him, take apart his engine, and use his parts to cast from!

Jim and I made the trip from Cumberland to Richmond one warm sunny January day last winter. After arriving at Mr. Unterzuber's home, we were treated to one of the most memorable southern style lunches that Jim or I could ever remember having. After lunch we went downstairs to see Ralph's engine. The engine was taken outside and started for us. It ran perfectly. I was now more inspired than ever to get mine back to original condition. After running the engine for a while we took it back inside and proceeded to take off the following parts I needed to reproduce: rocker arm and support, fuel pump and priming levers, lockout, and ignitor and ignitor trip. I also needed the carburetor, governor gear and weights, plus the crankshaft gear. The carburetor was a intricate casting requiring a core. I know enough about casting to realize that it would be too hard to reproduce. I would have to find a carburetor. The governor gear and crankshaft gear were much bigger than the ones for a 2 HP engine. I would have to try to locate these parts also. Jim and I were really excited now. I had most of the parts that I needed to use as patterns to get new parts recast. I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Unterzuber for the hospitality they showed us that winter day.

The restoration begins with sending the cast iron parts of Ralph's to the foundry to be recast. The fuel pump and lockout are brass. I will cast these myself. We have the equipment to cast brass and aluminum in our metal shop at school.

I am lucky enough to have a foundry locally that will cast the iron parts. To be able to use Ralph's parts for patterns I did some preparation work on them. I used body filler to fill holes in the rocker arms, fuel pump priming levers, ignitor trip bracket, and ignitor slug, and used tape to build up the ignitor shafts for turning back down to original dimensions. Those parts were sent to the foundry.

While the cast iron parts were at the foundry, I started working on casting brass parts myself. I used Ralph's fuel pump as a pattern to make a mold and cast the two different sections of it. I also used Ralph's lockout as a pattern and cast it myself.

At this point of the restoration I still needed the carburetor, rocker arm support, timing gear, crankshaft gear, governor flyweights, cross-shaft and cam. I had been given Al Koch's name as a source for the carburetor. I called Al and he had the carburetor, and loaned me his rocker arm support to use as a pattern to cast from. Al's knowledge on F-M type T engines is extensive, and I would like to thank him for his help in my restoration of this engine.

At the June Coolspring, Pennsylvania, show I was able to buy a governor gear, with the cross-shaft, cam, and flyweights as one unit. All the parts from the foundry were cast and returned to me. I sent Ralph and Al their original parts back. That left me to do lots of drilling holes and machining work. The brass castings that I did were machined and ready to be installed. I had all parts at this point of the restoration to complete the engine except the crankshaft gear. As before, one could not be located, so I checked my local bearings and transmission store for a Boston gear that had the right number of teeth and diametrical pitch. They ordered me one that, with some machining, looks and works like the original. Now I have all my parts and am ready to reassemble the engine.

Every part was sandblasted, primed and painted. I like to paint all my parts separately, then assemble the engine. I figure that by painting pieces separately I will not be splattering paint all over the place, and in the wrong places. I was surprised that all the recast parts, that I machined, fit together perfectly. The reassembly of the engine went quickly and only required a couple of hours, in comparison to the full year it took me to locate, recast and machine all the parts needed to complete the engine. The only thing left to do now was make a cooling tank and truck for the engine.

I had found some cast iron wheels from an old wheel dolly and decided to use these to make the trucks seen in the pictures. I looked at every F-M catalog that I could locate and finally found one with the cooling tank dimensions. It is 15 inches in diameter by 35 inches in height, and holds 25 gallons of water! I wanted the tank to be original size so I began making the tank. Luckily we have in our metal shop some of the old Pexto sheet metal working equipment. 1 was able to make the tank using old techniques, a wired edge on top and a double hem on the side. The tank was then soldered and installed. Jim used an old F-M catalog to duplicate the stencil for the F-M logo on the cooling tank. Scaling the logo to original size, which is 18 inches by 18 inches, Jim realized that F-M used three different sizes and styles of letters to make the logo painted on the cooling tank. After cutting a stencil the logo was painted on the tank. The engine was complete and ready to start.

The engine fired and ran smoothly on the first attempt. With a little adjustment on the governor springs, the engine was ready to be shown. The engine was displayed at the following shows: Cumberland, Maryland, Heritage Days; Berryville, Virginia, Steam and Gas Show; the Route 40 Steam and Gas Festival spring and summer shows; and Coolspring Summer '98. It was well accepted at all the shows. The Jack-Of-All-Trades logo seemed to be a real eye catcher, along with the large cooling tank. I answered lots of questions regarding what the cooling tank was for. One person even thought the cooling tank was for roasting corn in! I haven't tried yet, but it might work. I am planning to show the engine at a lot more shows this summer.

As with my first engine restoration, this one taught me more about our country's heritage and history. I am more impressed now than ever with the ability of our ancestors to design and build equipment using the technology available to them at that time in history.

I would like to thank Mr. Ralph Unterzuber, and Mr. Alan Koch for the lending of parts to be recast. And thanks of course, to my partner in restoring engines, Mr. James Cogan, for his help and encouragement, let alone the hours he took to weld the water jacket, in the restoring of my second 'one lunger.'