THE INGECO OF THE PALOUSE

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13012 N. Mill Road, Spokane, Washington 99208

My son-in-law, Rusty Jamison, of Garfield, Washington, and I began restoring this 10 HP Ingeco about nine years ago. My daughter, who was a CPA and traveled quite a bit, came home one day and said, 'Dad, you will never believe the hobby of this young man I met. He is a farmer down in the Palouse country, and when I visited him, he took me out to the shop and showed me his hobby of restoring old gas engines, just like you do.' At the time, I was an agriculture instructor at Spokane Community College, and I had watched the number of young farmers dwindle drastically in the late '70s and '80s. My first thoughts were that this young man must not be all bad if he is still in farming; and that if he likes to tinker with old engines, he must be something special. (Both of these presumptions proved to be true.)

Shortly after the wedding, my new son-in-law invited me along to go look at an engine. He had received word that a neighbor had a large engine in various states of dismantle in his shop. The neighbor had reached the conclusion that he was never going to get it restored, and he wanted to give it to someone who would complete the job. When we looked at the engine, we found that it was a 10 HP Ingeco and appeared to be restorable. Between the two of us we had restored several small engines ranging from May tags up to the 3 HP range, but nothing this large. After much deliberation, (about five minutes), we formed a partnership and said, 'Okay, let's give it a go.'

We rounded up a trailer big enough to haul this 10 HP engine (about 5,000 pounds). We backed the trailer up to the shop door. This is when we first began to doubt the wisdom of our judgment. The winch cable broke, the trailer had a flat, the decking on the trailer was breaking out, and the weight of the engine on the back of the trailer lifted the back of the pickup off the ground. Thanks to my son-in-law's practical problem-solving techniques and his patience with difficult tasks, we finally got the engine loaded. Then we started gathering as many parts as we could find around the shop. This was no small task because the engine had been dismantled about 10 years prior, and parts were strewn all around. We ended up with three five-gallon buckets of nuts, bolts, rods, gaskets, pipe fittings, miscellaneous parts, and unknown pieces, many of which we later decided did not belong to this engine.

We found that the major parts we were short were a governor, a magneto, push-rod assembly and splash guard. The valves were burned beyond repair, and the fuel tank was rusted out. My first task was to write a letter to the Gas Engine Magazine and request information. I received many helpful answers from throughout the country and spent the first year answering these letters, continuing to try to find information about Ingeco engines. Our research lead us to believe that this was a 10 HP throttling governor,. Kerosene carburetor, low tension magneto, built around 1918-1920. It has an Ingeco brass name tag, but resembles the Worthington engine shown on page 565 of Wendel's American Gas Engines.

My greatest concern was being able to find a governor to fit this engine. I heard about a 10 HP Ingeco in Chehalis, Washington. Because I had another daughter and son-in-law living in Olympia, I combined a visit with them and a chance to take a look at this engine. Later driving to the house and have a piece of hot apple pie and several cups of coffee, we finally went out to the machine shed to look at the engine. It turned out to be a 10 HP Ingeco side shaft and did not resemble mine at all. After spending most of the day looking at his many other engines, my son-in-law and I returned home empty handed.

We finally found a 7 HP Ingeco located about 100 miles from home. The owner allowed us to take the governor to use as a pattern for a new one.

My employment at this large vocational community college provided me access to many fellow instructors and students who helped manufacture the needed parts, particularly the sheet metal program, the machine shop, the automotive machine shop, and the Graphic Arts Department. We built a complete governor by up-sizing the one we found on the 7 HP. We also turned new valves from solid stock, made a new gas tank to match the original, and made decals from the picture found in a manual. I found a magneto in Florida and adapted it to fit the igniter mounting. My son-in-law manufactured the push-rod, complete with advance and retard for the timing. He had two large wooden skids custom-cut at a local saw mill and found an old steel-wheeled wagon at the ranch on which to mount the engine.

After four years, with the help of many friends, looking for parts, making parts, gathering ideas, finding parts, cleaning, grinding, sanding and painting parts, and building and rebuilding parts, we were ready for the start-up. We were lucky, and the engine started on the third turn of the flywheel. However, it has taken an additional three years of showing the engine at several shows, talking with hundreds of people, and making numerous adjustments, to turn the Ingeco into an easy-starting, crowd-pleasing and fine-running engine.

Postscript: Recently, my son-in-law started farming the land on which the engine was originally found. As we explored the old homestead, we found the skid marks in the ground outside where the engine had run for many years, belted up to a small feed mill inside the building, which is now collapsed. While digging through the rubble, we found the original (broken) governor, along with the oil splash guard.

More recently we heard about a small upright steam engine and boiler sitting in a neighbor's shop down the road--maybe another story some other time!