The Galloway Engine

Content Tools

Clemmons, North Carolina 27012

The story began almost sixty years ago in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Mr. L. R. Davis, now deceased, mail ordered this engine for use in his small furniture shop. Up until now, his shop had been powered by a large hand wheel. He would hire a man to turn the hand wheel which powered his shop equipment. Mr. Davis hired his help for ten cents per day. Whenever larger items, such as bed posts, needed to be made, he would pay twenty-five cents per day. He also fed his employee three meals a day.

The machinery in his shop consisted of lathe, drill, press, table saw and bench saws. The Galloway, of course, replaced his hired helper. The engine was capable of powering the shop equipment-all at one time if need be. He built a line shaft through his shop to power the individual machinery.

Mr. Davis passed away in 1935 at the age of 68. He willed the Galloway to his daughter, Annie Davis Merritt. Mrs. Merritt's husband, Paul, continued to make furniture in another shop powered by the Galloway. A friend, Frank Weaver, told me about the engine. I called the Merritts to see if they would sell the engine. Neither of them was interested in selling. A couple of months went by and I decided to try to purchase it again. This time I visited their home and after seeing the engine, wanted it even more! They finally agreed to sell it for a fair price.

I settled the deal on Saturday and told them I'd move the engine Monday. The Galloway was bolted to a cement slab twenty-one inches thick and four feet by six feet. The exhaust was extended through the shop wall. I knew it was not going to be an easy matter to move it out of the shop.

My two brothers-in-law, Ronald and Paul, promised their help for the move. Once we had unbolted the base and cut the exhaust, the moving began. Mr. Merritt insisted we use his tractor for the occasion. I borrowed a broom pole and again we were ready for the move. The engine weight, we soon found out, was too heavy for his tractor. We had to borrow a larger tractor before the Galloway was freed of its base. Once the engine was in the air, we simply backed a utility trailer under it and the task was complete. The ride home was, of course, filled with talk of getting it running again.

Since this was my first encounter with a flywheel engine, I wasn't familiar with its operation. We cleaned the fuel system and filled the tank with fresh fuel. I set the magneto and adjusted the oilers. There was nothing left to do but give the flywheels a spin.

The engine fired but just wouldn't run. After a couple of busted knuckles, I figured out the problem: I had been spinning the flywheels the wrong way! I reversed my procedures and, of course, the engine cranked and pounded away. I guess if anyone had to learn the hard way, I surely did! I spent four months disassembling the engine and restoring it to its present state.

There is no better sight or sound than one of these engines restored to life. I entered my Galloway in many shows in North Carolina and received many comments on its appearance.

The Galloway is a 5 HP, 1919 model with a 47649 serial number. A trip Webster magneto furnishes the engine's fire. Attached to the base is the original operator's manual.