Letters & Miscellanies

Rumely GasPulls, Olds Engines, Bovaird & Seyfang, and Mower Motors

Rumely GasPull

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Rumely GasPull

I just returned from the Western Minnesota Steam Thresher Reunion in Rollag, Minn., and I was surprised to see the article in the October 2003 issue of GEM about a Rumely GasPull as there was a nicely restored one at the show. Rumely was their feature this year and there were quite a few there. Sorry to hear Mr. Wendell is leaving, but I understand. I will really miss his expertise. Keep up the good work on the magazine - I look forward to GEM each month! Paul Lee pglee22828@aol.com

Olds Engines and Old Times

First off, in the September 2003 issue, page 17, the old flame licker pictured is an 1896. The Charlton Park Historic Village and Museum in Hastings, Mich., has one, and they also have information on it. I live west of Lansing, Mich., about 10 miles, and I worked for a nephew of R.E. Olds at one time. We once toured the R.E. Olds mansion, and it had a turntable inside the garage. Mrs. Olds never learned to back up an auto, so she would drive in, then turn the car on the turntable to drive it out.

The pictures I've sent were taken about 1941; I was 9 years old at the time. This large scrap iron pile was for the war effort, and the two tractors were running as they were brought into the yard. I think the engine visible in one picture is an Economy. I wonder what the Rumely would be worth now?

I would like to thank the Gas Engine Magazine people. I think it is the best place to get information and help with questions.

Bruce A. Dixon 8880 Hartel Road Grand Ledge, MI 48837-9418

Bovaird & Seyfang

In reading back over the May 2003 issue, in the Letters and Miscellanies column I came across the 'Bovaird & Seyfang' letter from Michael Fuocco of Bradford, Pa. In the letter he speaks of an 'original Bovaird & Seyfang test card.'

I have a 4 HP upright, air-cooled Bovaird & Seyfang with dual hot tube/spark plug ignition that I bought in Kane, McKean Co., Pa. It came directly off an abandoned oil well, and I happened to be at the right place at the right time.

I'd like to know if there might be a test card for mine out there somewhere. The engine is a Class K rated at 400 rpm, serial no. 1332, bore and stroke 5-1/2-inch by 8-inch. It has an American Bosch magneto. There really isn't any identification except several patent numbers and a 'patent pending' on the magneto.

Rumely OilPull was driven into the scrap yard before being stripped down during the scrap drives of World War II. It appears to be either a 14-28 or 16-30.

It's a nicely preserved engine, having been in an engine shed at the wellhead all its life, a nice coating of old oil and grease protecting all the metal. I have read all the pros and cons of steaming engines off and sanding and repainting to look factory new, and I've been torn both ways. Some of the basket cases are better done this way; the public doesn't want to come to see rusty hulks.

I had in mind 20 years ago to tear it down to the last nut and bolt and restore it to factory new, but I've pretty well decided against it now. I don't think I'm going to touch it, it's such a well-preserved specimen. The nicely restored ones have their place, too; so we can see what they looked like when our grandfathers took delivery of their brand new engine. But no over done ones - they don't even look real. Anyway, that's my two cents worth.

Mark Beery 1861 New Franklin Road Chambersburg, PA 17201

Mower Motors

Re: Gas Engine Magazine, September 2003, page 20, 'Engines for Sale.'

The Harley-Davidson Model C engine pictured was actually removed from a Worthington (of pump fame) 'Overgreen' golf course mower and is not a stationary engine as such. It is in fact a lawn mower engine!

From about 1929 until 1935 Worthington bought over 500 of these Harley-Davidson engines for use on their golf course mowers. They originally bought Indian motorcycle engines, but were not able to obtain enough from the company. By 1935 they switched to Briggs & Stratton.

Also, on page 24 of the October 2003 issue, the middle picture shows what's identified as a '2-3 HP engine with condensor radiator built by Modine Engine Co., Racine, Wis., in the 1940s.' That engine was actually made by Coldwell Lawn Mower Co., Newburgh N.Y. To the best of my knowledge it was made only by Coldwell for use on their mowers. They produced a single- and twin-cylinder model during the time period of about 1929-1935.

These engines are particularly popular on the engine show circuit. There is even a subset of collectors who remove the cast brass figure of the 'bear cub' that topped the crankcase.

I might sound like a broken record on this subject, but it bothers me to see engines stripped off of their original equipment. Old lawn mowers seem to be particularly affected. The shows are littered with Coldwell and Ideal motor models, which were ONLY installed on lawn mowers. Now, sadly, they are mounted on boards, slowly spinning, doing nothing.

Finally, I am working on a book about reel-type lawn mowers manufactured in the U.S. I am always looking for catalogs, literature, etc.

James B. Ricci 30 N. Farms Road Haydenville, MA 01039-9724 jricci@reellawnmower.com Reel Lawn Mower History and Preservation Project www. crocker. com/~jricci/

First Time Readers

We just received our first issue of GEM and we both are thoroughly enjoying it. Our thanks to subscriber 'Bud' Frisbee of Marshfield, Mass., for loaning us one of his back issues to go along with our purchase of his Ideal engine. Bud suggested we subscribe since we have a few old tractors, too, and your magazine includes much information on all kinds of antique engines. Great stuff!

Jerry and Bev Baker 184 Tremont St. Rehoboth, MA 02769

Send letters to: Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265; rbackus@ogdenpubs.com