The DeLongs' United

The United Engine

Mr. and Mrs. Marrion DeLong, original owners of the United.

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3064 Lincoln Road Ludington, Michigan 49431

June 1989 was the beginning of the J DeLong story. A friend of mine, Tom McCumber, mentioned to me that he knew of an old engine in Rothbury, Michigan. Tom told me that the engine was very rusty and that the engine skids were rotting into the ground. Tom had no real interest in the engine but knew that I did. So, he told me the engine looked real heavy and that he thought it was frozen up.

This information made my enthusiasm go right through the ceiling! My first question to Tom was, 'Will he sell the engine?' Tom replied, 'I think so.' Tom gave me the man's name and telephone number. I immediately made my way to a telephone and called Mr. Marrion DeLong. 'Yes,' he replied, 'I will sell the engine.' So, we set a date for me to see the engine.

I had to wait until the following weekend. What a long week that proved to be. I was anxious to see the engine. Saturday finally came, it was a very cold day. Cold or not, my wife and I loaded up the ramps, hand winch, and finally-old engine here I come! I had no information on the size, the condition, or even what kind of engine I was going to see. We drove for about 45 minutes, but it seemed like hours. Know what I mean?

When we arrived, my eyes quickly scanned the area. There they were, two rusty flywheels sticking out of two foot high quack grass. No paint to be seen, just rust. I hoped I wasn't too late to save the engine, because Mother Nature can surely raise havoc with old iron. Being that the engine wasn't covered, I thought Jack Frost might have been there and left a big crack in the head or the hopper.

I anxiously knocked at the door and introduced myself, then Mr. DeLong and I walked out to the engine. Mr. DeLong stated that the cover blew off the engine several years ago. The engine is a 4? HP United, throttle governed, Type H, serial number #402666. Luckily, the crank guard was still in place, and Mr. DeLong had occasionally squirted a little oil here and there to keep the piston, cylinder and other vital parts from becoming rusted together. The only part that was frozen up was the ignitor, and there was a small crack in the bottom of the hopper.

Finally, it was time to start loading the engine and head for home. What a job loading the engine turned out to be. While digging the engine skids out of the dirt, we found the original crank that had been used on the engine. After about a half hour of pull and tug, the engine was in my truck and all tied down, ready for the trip to its new home.

Mr. and Mrs. DeLong then invited us in for coffee and a lesson in the history of this grand old engine. Mr. DeLong's father, Mr. Vern DeLong, was the original owner of the engine. He buzzed wood for years with it, in the Muskegon, Michigan area. Later, he moved to Hesperia, Michigan, where he continued to buzz wood with the engine.

When Mr. Vern DeLong passed away, the old engine made the move to his son's in Rothbury, Michigan. There, the engine was once again used for buzzing wood. In the 1950's, the engine was finally put to rest. Mr. Marrion DeLong retired the engine and now many, many years later I'm so fortunate to be its new owner. I have good intentions to use this grand old engine once again to buzz wood. Since purchasing the engine, I have gotten the engine running beautifully. Mother Nature has put such a beautiful rust paint job on the engine, I've decided to put a light oil over the rust and leave nature alone. After restoring several engines it seems like once the rust has been removed, the engine looses its natural beauty. So, this beauty will remain in her original work clothes.

I especially want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Marrion DeLong for giving me the chance to own this grand old engine. Also, thanks to Mr. Charles Hargraves for getting my interest built up for these old engines. Also, thanks to Mr. Steve Repka for all the knowledge he has shared with me.

I would like to hear from owners of the Type H throttled governed United engines, and see how many still exist and where they are located. Once I complete a list of the information I collect, I will send a list to all the people who have written to me.