Canadian Gold: Goold, Shapely & Muir

A rare 6 hp Goold, Shapely & Muir gets a deserving restoration.

Goold Shapely Muir

Circa-1902 Goold, Shapely & Muir 6 hp

Photo by Richard Backus

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Circa-1902 Goold, Shapely & Muir 6 HP
Manufacturer: Goold, Shapely & Muir, Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Serial no.: B101
Horsepower: 6 hp @ 400 rpm
Bore & stroke: 5in x 6in
Flywheel diameter: 35in
Ignition: Battery and igniter
Governing: Fuel (injected w/no throttle plate)

Canadian engine manufacturer Goold, Shapely & Muir (GSM) was based in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, just 90 miles northwest of Buffalo, New York, and 170 northeast of Detroit, Michigan. Yet even with that close proximity, GSM engines are a surprising rarity in the States. Marketed as Brantford “Ideal” engines, they were made in a number of styles and horsepower ranges, including tank-cooled horizontal singles and opposed twins, and later hopper-cooled vertical and horizontal singles. The company was formed in 1892, and engine production is believed to have started in 1899 (a surviving photograph dated to 1899 shows a horizontal 6 hp Ideal powering a line shaft in a bakery) with a line of tank-cooled horizontal singles fueled by manufactured gas or gasoline, with the gasoline engines employing a unique fuel injection system.

By all appearances GSM prospered, expanding its line of engines and introducing tractors about 1907, at first using its own 2-cylinder opposed engines and later using bought-in 4-cylinder inline Waukesha engines. Hard times hit the company in the 1930s, however, and GSM closed its doors about 1934, a victim of the Great Depression. Interestingly, while several sources suggest a relatively large production of engines, survivors – especially of the early tank-cooled models – are few, and of those, we’d wager none have as interesting a story as this circa-1902 fuel-injected, tank-cooled, 6 hp horizontal belonging to Alan Hough of Brucefield, Ontario, Canada, and believed to be the earliest known surviving GSM.

Alan’s engine

“It came from a meat processing business in northeast London, Ontario,” says Alan, who lives just 50 miles or so northwest of London. Alan acquired the engine about 30 years ago when it and another 6 hp GSM were in the possession of a nearby village. A local official, knowing of Alan’s interest in engines, asked if Alan might want them. “I thought they were a Type K, a copy of a Fairbanks-Morse made by Goold in the 1920s, so I wasn’t interested,” Alan recalls, adding, “I was after the fuel-injected type.”

The matter might have ended there, but some years later a different representative of the village called, asking if Alan was still interested. It was at that point he realized the engines in question were early fuel-injected horizontal singles. “They were going to auction them off, probably for scrap,” Alan says, “so very shortly I got them out of there.”

Both engines were seized from sitting outside, and each engine had one broken flywheel from being dumped on a flatbed truck. Yet even so they were remarkably complete, still retaining their unique governor and fuel injection system. At this juncture, Alan knew nothing of the engines’ early life, yet by a quirk of fate, some 15 years later he discovered how at least one of the engines, the circa-1902 6 hp, had come into the village’s possession.

Alan works in agriculture, chiefly dealing in grain driers and grain bins, but also selling tractor parts, tractor books and tractor manuals. One Sunday, a gentleman dropped in looking for an owner’s manual for his Ford 8N. “He was quite perturbed,” Alan remembers,” he went on to tell me he that his father had donated an engine to them [the village], and it was a running engine, and when he tried to find out what they had done with it, they wouldn’t or couldn’t tell him anything. I asked him some more questions, and discovered it was a Goold, Shapely & Muir 6 hp. I then asked him if he’d like to see it, and he said he would; it was in the back room of my shop.”

In their conversation, Alan learned of the engine’s early life running a line shaft at the meat processing plant. It remained at the plant (although not necessarily in operation) until at least the 1960s, when the plant fell victim to urban sprawl as nearby London spread out and grew around it. When the business finally closed, the man’s father donated the engine to a nearby village for historical preservation. “He [the man] was happy but unhappy. Unhappy with its condition, but happy to see somebody had it and was going to do something with it.” That something would be yet another 15-plus years in coming.

The restoration

This series of engine is unique for its fuel system, effectively an early form of fuel injection. Instead of drawing fuel and air through a mixer, the engine features a fuel pump on the left side that injects gasoline directly into the air chamber for the atmospheric inlet valve. The pump is stroked by a pushrod, and the amount of fuel introduced can be set by adjusting the stroke of the pump, changing the position of the fuel pump actuating arm on the pushrod. Engine speed is controlled by a flyball governor, which pulls a follower away from a timing cam on the end of the half-speed timing gear shaft, locking out the fuel pump pushrod so it doesn’t stroke the fuel pump, thus regulating the feed of fuel.

The governor acts only on the fuel pump pushrod, which is actually a tube. In an interesting bit of design, the exhaust valve pushrod is carried inside the fuel pump pushrod tube. The exhaust pushrod, which is always stroking, is actuated by a separate cam on the timing gear shaft. The igniter trip operates off an eccentric on the timing gear shaft and never latches out. The exhaust has a standard poppet valve and is also ported for cooler running.

Although Alan had acquired two 6 hp engines, he was most interested in this particular one. Bearing serial number B101, it’s the earliest known GSM engine and likely one of the first of its series, with unique features not found on any other engine of its type. Chief among those is its vertical flyball governor; all other surviving GSM engines of this type employ a horizontally mounted governor. The vertical governor is driven by bevel gears, the horizontal by simpler and cheaper straight-cut gears. The change must have come soon after this engine was built, as a 1902 GSM instruction manual shows a horizontal governor. The second engine Alan acquired is a later unit (likely from around 1912) with the horizontal governor. Its history is unknown.

The governor’s bevel gears were among the issues restorer Brad McBride of nearby Kippin had to address getting the engine running again. Alan had decided he needed help if he was to get the engine restored, so he made a deal with Brad, a tool and die maker by occupation and a passionate engine collector by avocation, to restore it. “The deal was, I restored this one, and I got the other one,” Brad says, adding, “I get to kind of look after it [Alan’s engine] and I’m in the middle of getting the other one running.”

The restoration took a few years, but in the years before he connected with Brad Alan had collected the needed missing parts, including a set of flywheels he found “by accident” in northern Ontario. “I have a friend up there who took me to a guy who had some old engines,” Alan recalls. Alan not only found the flywheels he needed, he also picked up the remains of four newer GSM engines. Included in the haul were the original and correct Penberthy oilers, which were missing on B101.

Securing the missing parts was a stroke of good fortune, but Brad still had his work cut out. The piston was seized, the housing for the intake valve (which also acts as the pivot point for the exhaust rocker arm) was broken, the exhaust rocker arm was missing and the igniter trip was broken. Alan found someone to cast a new intake valve housing/rocker arm pivot (doing the final machining himself), and he made a new exhaust valve rocker arm using an original as a template. He also fabricated a new igniter trip end.

The igniter trip end for the make-and-break ignition incorporates a cold-start function. The forward projection of the trip rests on a roller on the igniter body. The trip end is double-sided, and each side is ramped. The trip pushes forward against the moving electrode until the ramp rides up the roller, disengaging the trip from the igniter.

On the “starting” side, the distance between the tip of the trip and the beginning of the ramp is slightly longer; putting the trip in the “starting” position retards ignition timing for easier cold starting. “Setting the ramp was dicey,” Brad says, “you have to get the angles right, but I was able to get enough measurements off the original that I got it right the first time.” To further aid starting the governor has a lockout so the fuel pump pushrod is continuously stroked, although Alan says he never uses it.

Brad was able to free the stuck piston, even reusing the original piston rings, and the engine’s bronze main and connecting rod bearings were all in fine condition.

One issue that proved vexing was with the governor. When Brad stripped the engine, he discovered the large bevel gear driving the governor had bad wear spots on the teeth every quarter of a turn. Brad had another set of gears made, but putting it all back together he discovered the governor was binding every quarter turn. Eventually, he discovered that a locating pin for the smaller gear on the governor was keeping it from properly meshing with its larger companion; after filing the pin the gear slipped back on and turned without issue. “That had to be a defect right from the factory,” Brad says.

It took him a few years to complete the restoration, but by May 2013 Brad had the engine running, and the next month he took it to the Coolspring Expo for its first outing. He’s taken it back to Coolspring twice since, which is where we saw it in June 2015. In operation it’s almost silent, its smooth and steady running a testament to both the quality of its original design and the care it received from Brad returning it to running form.

Almost lost to the scrap heap, this rare and significant engine has been preserved, thanks to a big dose of luck and a heavy dash of skill.

The White & Middleton connection

The story goes that Goold, Shapely & Muir’s fuel injection system was essentially pirated from White & Middleton Gas Engine Co., Baltimore, Maryland, after an engineer from White & Middleton quit that company and went to work for GSM. Although unconfirmed, the story seems more than plausible, especially when the two companies’ systems are compared.

Introducing its first engines in 1889, by 1893 White & Middleton produced a governor design almost identical in appearance to that used by GSM some 10 years later. Patented in 1885, the White & Middleton system utilized the same bevel-drive vertical flyball governor arrangement as the GSM, but acting on a gas-admission valve instead of a fuel pump and with no igniter eccentric as the design was for a hot tube engine burning gas, not gasoline.

In 1897, White & Middleton patented an igniter identical to that used by GSM, complete with double-sided trip end for cold starting. Ten years later, in 1907, White & Middleton patented a fuel injection system nearly identical to that used by GSM, although with some differences, including a provision to hold the intake valve closed and allow a small pre-charge of fuel for better resumption of operation when the governor kicks in and out. It’s interesting to note that the 1907 White & Middleton patent was first filed in 1904, a protective response, perhaps, to GSM’s use of the design. — GEM