This Wonderful Running Side Shaft Domestic

1920 2 HP side shaft Domestic gas engine

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901 Birch Drive Colorado Springs, Colorado 80911

This is a 1920 2 HP side shaft Domestic Gas Engine with a diaphragm pump, on hand truck, all made by Domestic Manufacturing Company. It is a spark plug engine, runs on magneto or battery.

I always wanted a side shaft gas engine and it was sort of a funny way how I found this one. I was in the hospital and another man was in the same room. We had been talking and he said he was from Cripple Creek, Colorado. In our conversation, I told him I was retired and that I had a hobby-rebuilding old gas engines. I belong to the Front Range Antique Power Association. I asked him if he knew of any old gas engines in that part of the country. He said his uncle had one on his ranch that would be real nice to fix up since it had a pump on it. I asked him what make it was and he said it was a Domestic. I asked if it was a hit miss and side shaft; he knew it was side shaft, but he wasn't sure if it was a hit miss.

Boy, my eyes were getting bigger and my ears were listening louder. I was so excited, I even got to feeling better. I guess I am crazy about this old iron. I asked if he thought his uncle would sell it. He said he thought that might be possible, since he didn't think his uncle would ever fix it up. He said he would talk to the uncle when he got home and let me know if it was for sale or not. 

It went on for about a month, which seemed like a year! I wanted that side shaft so bad. Anyway, I finally heard from my former hospital roommate, and he said it was for sale and had made arrangements for me to meet his uncle.

I was so excited, I couldn't get up to Cripple Creek fast enough. I met the uncle at his ranch and I saw the engine. It was the most beautiful old iron I had ever seen. He told me what he would take for it and I paid him. We both were happy. This engine was very different from any I had ever seen before. He said he bought it with some scrap iron from the Rainbow Valley Club several years before and thought he might fix it up sometime, but never did.

I was told it was used around the gold mines in the early 1920s. In 1925, it was used at a trout fish hatchery to pump water from a stream to the ponds or small lakes where they raised trout for stocking of lakes. Years later, this area was turned into a club called 'Rainbow Valley Club.' The ponds were used for fishing for the club members. The engine was used to pump water for them, that is about all I know. 

I purchased this engine near Cripple Creek, Co., in the old mining area in the Rocky Mountain range near Pikes Peak. The engine and pump was all there, except magneto and two oilers. I took it completely apart and had it sandblasted and began to restore it. I called all over for a magneto for it, which was very hard to find; it is an L-1 Wico, and I had never seen one like it. I talked to Mr. Foster in Ohio and he had some parts I needed for the magneto. I also received some information from him on the old engine. He told me Don Kirkpatrick in Pennsylvania had good records of Domestic gas engines, so I gave him a call and he certainly does know Domestic gas engines, from the time they came off the assembly line to year made, how many, and where they went from the factory. He said my engine went to the state of Georgia; how it got out here to this area, I do not know. It must have come by railroad and freight wagon, or both. In those days that is the way freight went out in this part of the country. The engine must have pumped a lot of water, I am sure of that, as worn as it was. The pump looked like it had been rebuilt a few times.

Although it was free, you could turn the flywheels over. It is the first one I have restored that was not all frozen up.

It took me two years working on it part-time to complete it. I completed rebuilding the engine and pump in May 1991.

It sure is a wonderful running engine, and does it pump water! I think about 60 gallons a minute, that is what I have been told. Another thing is, this seems to be the only Domestic gas engine in this part of the west. I am sure, however, that there are some somewhere in these mountains that I haven't seen or heard of yet. Most of the other engines I am aware of seem to be eastern engines.