You Can Do It!!

Associated Hired Man engine

J. D. Franzen of I1501 Shirley Street, Omaha, NE 68144 tells the story of his Associated Hired Man engine, serial #129661.

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11501 Shirley St. Omaha, Nebraska 68144

Several years ago my wife, Sharon, and I traveled to Funk, Nebraska. The occasion was their Centennial Celebration. I remember the parade, ice cream, family and friends, demonstrations, but most of all, I remember Sharon liking the engines on display. It was the rhythmic sound that attracted her attention.

We attended several more shows that summer, and made the decision to own an engine. Because it was to be my first, I wanted to find one in as close to running condition as possible. Judging the amount of time spent on this engine, I really respect the effort necessary to restore an engine that is in bad shape!

Many thanks should go to all of the collectors who responded to my inquiries in GEM. Without their help, a novice like myself has no idea where to start, or where to turn. Elmer Young was responsible for the precise machine work, and Richard Victor did a masterful job of lettering and striping.

I feel certain that anyone who has brought 'new life' to an old engine feels as I do about the pride of looking at the completed project, while trying to recall how it looked before. The hours in the basement, garage, and at the kitchen table, the stamps, the SASE envelopes, reading every word of Gas Engine Magazine, hoping to find a clue about your project-it doesn't seem a year and a half have passed.

This Associated Hired Man, serial #129661, is circa 1915-16, as documented by collectors with far more experience than I. The engine was running when we brought it home. There were problems, however, as the cam gear and rocker arm had been broken and needed refinishing. I had to make a new fuel tank lower half. The top of the tank is original, but it took a lot of tank sealer to fill the pin holes, and I did solder in a new filler neck.

The more I tried to find a good pot metal magneto base, the more frustrated I became. Like many engines, the Hired Man is fairly common until you need to find a part-then it becomes a rare bird! Elmer Young used his milling machine to fashion a block of Teflon into a perfectly fitting magneto base insert. I epoxied it in place, drilled and tapped the insert, and it works just fine. A new wrist pin, ignitor trip arm, and stationary contact have been fitted. This was followed up with many coats of Dupont Dulux paint.

I realize Associated Manufacturing Company did not use walnut for their tool and battery boxes, and they didn't use gold accents, but I thought while I was spending all this time, a little extra touch would be all right. I hope it looks just a little bit better.

This Associated can help show how our fathers and grandfathers lived, worked, and at the same time tried to make things easier for themselves and their families.

For my next project, I'd like to find a Dempster. I have an original set of trucks that were used on our family farm. Do I really want to start another project? YOU BET!!!