The Find of a Lifetime


Mogul Junior 1 HP engine

Rich Kibler of 1555 Greening Drive, Copley, Ohio 44321, has a story to tell about this 1917 Mogul Junior 1 HP engine. Look for 'The Find of a Lifetime,' inside.

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1555 Greening Drive Copley, Ohio 44121

The story of how I acquired my 1917 Mogul Jr., 1 HP, serial number UB 5276, begins approximately 25 years ago in 1970, when our hobby was in its early years (and so was I, as I was only ten years old).

My father, having grown up on a farm himself, was absolutely fascinated with old farm machinery. In the mid to late 1960s he took every opportunity to expose our family to it, taking us to many of the early steam and gas shows throughout Ohio and West Virginia. My mother, brothers, sister and I have many fond memories of packing the camper for these summer weekend getaways.

It wasn't long before we wanted to get into the hobby ourselves, so that we too could become exhibitors at these shows. We went through the usual avenues of finding engines (local farmers, auctions, etc.) and were able to acquire three or four in the course of three years.

After each purchase, my father, appreciating our interest in these engines, would say to each of us, 'Now, when I'm gone, this engine belongs to you,' therefore providing each of us with engines of our own that we shared with him throughout their restoration and eventually at the shows. Now, on with the story of our 'once in a lifetime find.'

In the spring of 1978, my father saw an ad in the classified section of The Farm and Dairy (our local farm newspaper) from a farmer who was selling a 10-20 McCormick Deering tractor. Since we had acquired and successfully restored gas engines, my father apparently had the interest in seeing if we could successfully restore an antique tractor. He called the farmer and arranged a day and time for us to go look at the tractor. When the day arrived, my father piled my brothers and I into the Chevy pickup and off we went. The drive to the farm was approximately twenty minutes from our farm, and within one mile of our grandparents' house. Upon arrival we were met by the farmer, and he and my father proceeded to become acquainted using the usual farmer chit-chat. The farmer told my father that the farm had been in his family for a generation and that he remembered (as a young boy) helping his father on the farm, using the McCormick Deering tractor, purchased new, that we were interested in looking at.

The farmer took us to the pasture field behind the barn, where the tractor had probably been parked twenty years earlier and laid to rust. You can imagine the condition it was in, after being out in the elements for twenty years. My father looked the tractor over and found it complete and original, including the rust and flat tires. He and the farmer arrived at an agreeable price and the tractor became ours.

On our way back to the pickup my father asked the farmer, 'I don't suppose that your father had one of those one cylinder, water-cooled gas engines on the farm, did he?' The farmer responded, 'Yes, I think he used one of those. If I remember correctly, it's still up in the granary. Would you like to take a look at it?' My father said, 'Sure, I'll take a look at it.'

When the farmer opened the door to the granary, all we could see were countless burlap bags and baskets, as well as various other farm tools scattered around the room and on the floor. The farmer proceeded to one end of the granary and began removing bags and other items off of and around this small lump in the corner.

As the outline of the small engine appeared from under the last remaining bag, my father knew immediately that we had come upon the find of a lifetime! He gave us a glance that said, 'Don't say a word!' (Especially in the early years of collecting, we knew that the Mogul Jr. was a rare and desirable engine to have in one's collection! We had only seen one other in our years of attending shows.)

After the farmer had removed the last of the bags, he moved the engine out to the center of the floor so that we could get a better look. Sure enough, it was a slant top, Mogul Jr. 1 HP, completely original, including the magneto and skids!

Upon further examination, we found that nothing on the engine was frozen up or missing. There wasn't much of the original paint left; however, there was no rust on any part of the engine. This came as no surprise, as the fanner told us that for as long as he could remember, the engine was always kept inside when not in use. He also told us that the engine was purchased new by his father for use on the farm. Then came the question from my father, 'Would you like to sell this also?' The farmer said, 'Sure, I don't have any use for it anymore.' Within thirty seconds, my father and the farmer agreed on a price that they mutually thought was fair for both the tractor and the engine. On the way home (since I was next in line to receive an engine) came the familiar words, 'Now Richard, when I'm gone, this engine belongs to you.'

After getting it home, very little work other than minor cleaning was needed to get the Jr. running. Initially, we were unsuccessful in getting the engine to start on the voltage put out by the magneto. A fellow engine buff suggested that we get it running by using a car battery, then let it run hooked up to the battery. He suggested that this should help to recharge the magnets in the magneto. Whether this worked or not, I don't know. All I know is that after several shows of running the engine this way, the engine successfully started with the magneto and has started that way ever since.

Unfortunately, we did not have Wendel's Notebook, nor did we have computer paint matching available at that time to tell us the proper color with which to paint our pride and joy. For the initial restoration my father painted it a shade of green that wasn't close to what you see on the cover. Rather than try to clean up the original skids (which I understand would be the practice today so as to keep the engine as original as possible) my father used the original skids (complete with stenciling) as a guide to fashion the oak skids shown in the picture. For the next two years my father proudly exhibited the Mogul Jr. at various shows along with the other engines in our small collection.

In the spring of 1972, just six days after my thirteenth birthday, and two years after the purchase of our Mogul Jr., my father passed away at the age of 48. Little did any of us know that his statement, 'Now, when I'm gone this engine belongs to you,' would come true so quickly. Needless to say, we did not travel to any shows that summer or for many summers to follow. It simply hurt too much.

As my brothers and I entered and went though our teenage years, our interests were on anything and everything but those gas engines. In the meantime, my mother remarried, sold the farm, and had an auction. All of the farm machinery was sold to the highest bidder, with the exception of the gas engines and McCormick Deering tractor. Fortunately, for whatever reason, they were not included in the sale bill. For the next twenty years, the engines sat in my mother's basement, unattended.

In the summer of 1990, my brother Dale and I decided to attend the Mad River Steam and Gas Engine Show held in Urbana, Ohio. It was at this show I realized just how much I missed tinkering around with, and exhibiting, gas engines. It was also at this show that I met Walt Saylor of Dayton, Ohio, who is an avid collector of gas engines especially the Mogul line. After going to the show and talking with Walt, I felt the desire to get the Mogul Jr. out of my mother's basement and get it running again.

Just like when we first brought it home, very little was required to get it running. I dumped out the old gas from the tank, cleaned the tank with lacquer thinner, cleaned the fuel line, and lubed all the moving parts. After filling the tank with gas, I cranked it over and the Jr. took off as though the last time it had run was yesterday.

I cannot describe the excitement I felt as I sat there and watched it run again after it had been idle for the past twenty years. So many fond childhood memories poured back into my mind. The next thing to do was to look through past issues of GEM and find the proper paint color. After doing this and purchasing the paint, I had the engine painted and applied the decals. I purchased the decals at the Portland, Indiana, Show from Starbolt, with the assistance of Walt. According to him, the two decals you see pictured are what were on the engine when it was new. I can't thank Walt enough for his words of advice in assisting me with getting the engine to it present state of restoration. If any of you out there have a Mogul and need advice or parts, Walt is the one to contact.

It wasn't long after the resurrection of the Mogul Jr. that my brothers and I dragged the other engines out of my mother's basement and got them running again. All of the engines are now running and completely restored to like-new condition. We have had some of the best times together in helping each other with this process.

And what happened to the McCormick Deering tractor, you ask? It's still in the family! My oldest brother, Dan, meticulously tore it down, after twenty-two years, had it sandblasted, primed, and repainted. He has had many people tell him it's the finest restoration or a 10-20 they have ever seen. As a matter or fact, all of the brothers had a great time reassembling it on April 11, 1992exactly twenty years to the day that our father had passed away. It wasn't until we had it all hack together that we realized this fact.

The entire Kibler collection now consists of the following tractors and gas engines: 1934 10-20 McCormick Deering; 1934 John Deere GP; 1935 brass tag John Deere A; 1936 unstyled John Deere B; 1937 unstyled John Deere AR; two 1938 unstyled John DeereG's; 1942 styled John Deere D; 1952 John Deere G (puller); 1928 1 HP International M; 1936 1 HP John Deere; 1912 4 HP Associated Mule Team; 1921 5 HP Economy; 1917 1 HP Mogul Jr.; 1916 Mogul 1 HP; 1922 1 HP Fairbanks Morse dishpan; 1930 2 HP Hercules JK; 1927 1 HP Hercules; 1927 Maytag model 92; 1932 Maytag model 72; and a 3 HP John Deere. Most of the engines listed were obtained when our father initially got our family into collecting. The John Deere tractors, however, are rather new to our collection. These have been acquired within the past two years.

Needless to say, none of the original engines in our collection are for sale. As a matter of fact, my nine-year-old daughter Mandy, and my five-year-old son Rob, have already laid claim to mine!

By the way, my brothers and I always attend the Portland, Indiana Show the last week of August. If you would like to see the engine and tractor reunited (as well as our remaining collection) look us up!

My five brothers, Dan, Dale, Bill, Dean, and Don; my sister Kathy, and I would like to dedicate this article to the memory of our father. Although he was not always the most perfect individual in the world, in his own way, then and now, he managed to keep us all together. He was DadRobert D. Kibler, 2/6/24-4/11/72.