The Salesman Sample R&V

Root and Vandervoort engine

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5151 E. 8005 Columbia City, Indiana 46725

This story starts out prior to World War II, when a gentleman rescued this engine from the top of a scrap pile in Le Sueur, Minnesota. His intentions were to rebuild the engine and use it on his farm or in his business.

He owned the engine until the early to mid-seventies, at which time he was contacted by Mr. Willmar Tiede. Mr. Tiede was able to acquire the engine with the intent of restoring the Root and Vandervoort engine.

In 1986 my dad, some good friends and I attended the Le Sueur County Swap Meet at Le Center, Minnesota. One of my friends was interested in picking up a one horsepower R&V. While at Le Center, he made contact with Mr. Tiede, who had two one horsepowers for sale, and arranged to see the engines at the end of the day.

That evening we all went to Mr. Tiede's to check out his engine. My friend decided that the Root required a little more work than he wanted to do, so we visited a while and left.

On our journey home, my dad and I discussed the nickel-plated engine and came to the conclusion that we ought to try to get the Root. Once we got home Dad called Mr. Tiede and arranged to pick up the R&V at the Waukee Swap Meet later that spring.

After getting the Root home, it was like many other projects that just don't seem to get done. It was discussed from time to time over the years with several people, one being Mr. Earl Goldsmith. Mr. Goldsmith does the polishing for a plating works not far from where we live.

In December 1992, Mr. Goldsmith called my dad and told him that the plating works was going to close soon, so if we wanted to get the R&V replated we had better get it done soon. The time had come to do something. We tore the engine down and turned it over to Mr. Goldsmith so he could get the process started.

We had an original cart around the shop so we decided to get that plated at the same time so we could mount the engine on it when it was finished. I think it turned out to be a little more work than Earl had figured on, but he finished it and did an outstanding job. At this point a set of walnut skids and battery box were added. The engine was assembled and the decals were put on.

The information we've been able to collect on this nickel-plated R&V is that it was made for Deere and Webber by Root and Vandervoort Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is identical in size to all other one horsepower Root and Vandervoort engines. It was shipped by rail or dray to fairs, plow days and other agricultural events of the day. The salesman would then display the engine and take orders for the one horsepower R&V engines. A standard painted engine was then sent to the customer. The serial number was sent to the John Deere archives, but no information was available on this engine, as they did not make the engines, only sold it through certain branch houses.

I would like to thank all those involved in the process of bringing this engine to this point: Mr. and Mrs. Will-mar Tiede for all the information they provided (they probably thought they would never see the R&V restoration completed); Mr. Earl Goldsmith, for his outstanding polishing work on the engine and cart; and my good friends Galen and Mike for all their help. Last, but certainly, not least, a very special tribute to my dad, Larry Fulk, for his foresight and determination in the restoration and completion of the R&V project.