The Search For My Grandfather's Engine

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P.O. Box 6, Wilmington, Vermont 05363

I would like to locate a certain engine. It belonged to my grandfather, who was a dairy farmer in Tunbridge, Vermont. I remember it well: a 6 HP Jumbo, equipped with a Webster magneto.

I do not know the serial number or the date that it was purchased. I do know that it was purchased from the Sargeant Osgood & Roundy Company in Randolph, Vermont. This company, known as 'The Foundry,' manufactured plows, cultivators, other horse drawn farm implements and both circular and drag type wood saws. The implements made by this company were known as 'Randolph' implements. The company also sold other farm related machinery, made by other manufacturers, including the Jumbo engines.

The Sargeant Osgood & Roundy Company went out of business sometime after World War II. The buildings were purchased by the Vermont Castings Company, manufacturers of modern wood and gas burning stoves.

My grandfather owned several pieces of 'Randolph' equipment, including a cordwood saw.

My first memory of this engine was in 1929, when my parents returned to the 'home farm,' where I had been born, while my father was between jobs.

The farm buildings were all connected, in the old New England tradition. There was a woodshed on the end of the house, where the saw rig was set. The engine sat on a cement pad outside the woodshed, in the corner of the barnyard. I remember its being used to saw wood that year we lived at the farm.

I was always confined to the house when this operation was taking place, so forcefully that I developed a fear of the engine. I recall looking out through the kitchen screen door and seeing the wheels going around without the usual exhaust noise and wondering why. Obviously the engine had been shut off and was idling down.

A grindstone sat beside the engine. It was powered via belts and a jack shaft attached to the wall of the wood shed, from a small wooden pulley attached to a wooden cross inside the large pulley on the engine. Speed reduction was accomplished via large and small wooden pulleys on the jack shaft and grind stone.

When not is use, the engine was stored by being covered with an old sugaring off pan, that had been used to make maple sugar from syrup, on the kitchen stove. A board was placed over the Webster magneto, another over the large pulley, and an old tin sap bucket placed over the small wooden pulley.

Once a year with the aid of planks, rolls, pry bars and some profanity, the engine was moved across the barnyard where it powered a Blizzard ensilage cutter. I believe this ensilage cutter was also purchased from the Sargeant Osgood 6k Roundy Company. The engine had been purchased to power the ensilage cutter, as the one my grandfather owned before was not large enough.

This Blizzard ensilage cutter had a unique feature: a clean-out panel at the base of the pipe that was often used while attempting to run it with a 6 HP engine.

My family returned to live at the farm for a year in 1935. My older brother and I were both big enough to help with the farm work, including sawing wood and filling silo. I recall how the water hopper would boil after running a load of corn through the ensilage cutter.

The engine was not used to power the grindstone that year. With two grandsons around to turn the crank, it was not necessary.

During Christmas school vacation in 1939, my brother and I stayed with my grandfather and cut some firewood, using the engine to saw it after drawing it from the woods with horses.

My grandfather passed away in 1940. At the auction of the farm equipment, the engine was purchased by an acquaintance, Philip Rogers, to be used for sawing wood.

My father acquired the farm and we moved there in 1942, after I graduated from high school. My brother and I worked briefly for a person who also employed Philip. The engine was set up to saw wood and we used it a couple of times that summer.

The next year, Philip traded the engine to Loren Roberts of Tunbridge, for a 4 HP Woodpecker, as he found this large engine impossible to start alone in the winter. Loren traded the engine to someone in Chelsea, the town next to Tunbridge. The last time I saw the engine, Loren had it on a wagon pulled by a team of horses, enroute to Chelsea.

I never saw but one other engine just like it. They were not popular in that area. (The Woodpecker, sold by the Bracket and Shaw Company of Somersworth, New Hampshire, was much more common.) The other 6 HP Jumbo was on a farm in Tunbridge where I was employed briefly in 1943 prior to going into the Army. It was set up to run a 'Randolph' drag saw rig.

After I became interested in collecting one lung engines, I tried to find this one. I learned that Jack Kennedy (formerly of Chelsea, Vermont, but now a resident of Florida), who had an extensive collection of engines, had owned it at one time. He told me it still had the small pulley attached when he owned it. Jack thought that he had sold it to a collector in Putney, Vermont. I contacted him and learned that the Jumbo engine that he had purchased from Jack was a 4 HP. Wrong engine!

Jack then told me a New York State man had purchased his remaining engines when he moved to Florida, and this engine must have been with them. He could not recall this person's name.

I am certain that 'My Grandfather's Engine' is in someone's collection. I'd like to see it again, and if the price is right, buy it.