Bigger Is Better

Engine shed and collection tank

Engine shed and collection tank.

Content Tools

407 West 17th Street, Marshfield, Wisconsin 54449

My story begins approximately five years ago. I have a 22 HP Bessemer and a 35 HP Superior, and I was looking for another big oil field engine. I decided to answer an ad for large engines for sale that I ran across in the Gas Engine Magazine. I called about South Penn's, Patton Brothers and Bessemers, but to my regret they all had been sold already. The well field had been shut down and the derricks removed. The engines were to be sold or scrapped. The gentleman that I talked to however, knew of another well field that would be shut down next year and if I would wait I would have first chance to buy some.

Well, a year had passed and I patiently waited. I decided to call back to find out the status of the well field. To my disappointment, the well field was to be kept functional one more year. Meanwhile, within that year that particular lease had been sold along with all of the equipment including the engines. The gentleman stated he was extremely sorry and said, 'Jeff, I don't know what will ever happen to the engines. They are being destroyed one by one because of the neglect and misuse.' Fortunately he knew of another well field to be shut down. 'I will give your name and telephone number to the people in charge of the wells.' This was the fall of '91, and in January of '92 I received a call from a man who had several large engines for sale. This is finally what I had been waiting for.

Spring had arrived and a friend and I took a three-day weekend and headed out east to look at old engines. We were taken by a roustabout (man in charge) who showed us several wells still being used and all had engines. We started a few and even pumped some crude oil. Later we went back to the yard and purchased nine engines.

Now, back in Wisconsin, we waited patiently for our engines to be shipped. They were finally shipped out on a Thursday. The driver took the engines home with him and delivered them the following Monday morning. We had a crane unload them all and within 30 minutes we were done! The following weekend we mounted one on old railroad ties and had it running by midday Sunday. We didn't have much experience with hot tube ignition but we learned very fast.

I have a few other engines but the big ones are definitely my favorites. They are a lot of fun and great crowd pleasers at gas engine shows.

A special thanks to Richard F., Mickey D., Ted W. and Ken. Also thanks to Roehl Transport, Stone Crane Service and the Chippewa Valley Antique Engine and Model Club of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, who hold their show the second week end in August every year.