Field Notes

Pine Tree Milker Information


A Mr. Lemsky of Wisconsin writes in response to Gil Mangles' query in the October/November 2019 issue with more on the Pine Tree Milker. According to Lemsky, the Pine Tree Milker “was the name of the first generation milking machine of the Surge Corp., well known here in Wisconsin. There is a good, concise history associated with the Pine Tree machine at Today, it has all been consolidated to the German food processing machinery giant, GEA. The slogan ‘The Cow’s Adopted Child’ refers to the Pine Tree Milker’s acceptance by the dairy cow as willingly as is if it were the cow’s own calf.”

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Winching 1922 6hp Novo


Reader Ray Fisher wrote us in response to my comments last issue about engines adapted for duty outside their intended design. Case in point is a 1922 6hp Novo Ray owns that worked the Arizona mines: “Check out the photos of the 1922 6hp Novo (serial no. 53031) adapted to winch duty for mining and construction. This engine is a good runner. I have owned it a long time at my mining museum here in Tucson, Arizona.”


Ray Fisher
Tucson, Arizona

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Fairbanks-Morse and McVicker Buzz Saw Rig


Regular contributor David Babcock writes in again, sending vintage photos showing a large Fairbanks-Morse installed in a workshop and a screen-cooled McVicker engine powering a buzz saw on a cold winter day. David writes: “The large engine is probably a 32hp Fairbanks N, belted to a line shaft powering a shop in an unknown location. The photo is dated January 1910. The other photo shows men posing somewhere in Minnesota beside a large McVicker engine and buzz saw. Maybe circa 1915?”


David Babcock
Cass City, Michigan

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Oldsmar Tractor Memories


To the editor, and to all who work at GEM. Thank you for such a great magazine. I have been a subscriber since 1979! I would like to go back in time now to show you and the readers how valuable each issue is. I’m calling this “On the Road Again, Part 2.” I was 15 years old when I went to my first gas engine show. Within that weekend I was a new member of Branch 15 at Antique Powerland. I did not want to leave. So now I was hooked and started looking for engines. My first one turned out to be in a shed at my neighbor’s farm, which I bought for $60, I think. I was in heaven.

It was a 1917 F-M. I still needed more, so my family and I were at church, and after church my father and I were talking with a gentleman named Charlie. He was an old retired mechanic. He said he had an old steel wheel tractor he rescued from being scrapped a long time ago. Now he said he would like to see something happen with it. We decided on a price of $65. I think now I owned a nameless tractor. Then C.H. Wendel’s Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors came out. I got a copy and there it was, a small picture of one similar to mine, an Oldsmar tractor. So my father wrote a story called “On the Road Again” and we sent it to GEM. Not sure how long it took to be published, but it appeared in the November/December 1982 issue.

Nobody responded to the story, so we rolled it to the back of the shop. I’m still getting GEM, then I get my June 2004 issue. I don’t believe it. The story “Olds and the Mystery Machine” is staring me in the face. Wow. An engine for my tractor! Well, at that time family, work and life kind of got in the way. So now to the present; I’m cleaning the garage and there’s the tractor still sitting there. Then I found the issues I just mentioned.

Oh joy. Now I’m older, 54, if you must know, and I would like to get back to this. I tried contacting Kenny – the owner of the engine – but well, Kenny passed two years ago, according to his wife. She is trying to see if her sons know what happened to the engine.

Meanwhile, I hope you can run a new story using all of this information. Maybe someone out there knows where it is and if anyone else has one of these? Or am I the only one? As you said at the end of the 2004 article, with luck, a clearer picture of the engine’s origins, the town and the company will come to light someday with the discovery of a similar engine or tractor. Well, I got the tractor, let’s get the engine and set it “on the road again.” I hope to hear from anybody. I will continue my subscription until I’m gone! Your biggest fan!

Craig Orme
285 S 16th Ave.
Cornelius, OR 97113
(503) 357-8582

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Temple Pace Maker Pumping Engine

The gear system for the Temple Inverted Pump Engine.

Longtime reader and regular contributor Stiles Bradley sends in recent pictures of the 2hp Temple Pace Maker inverted pumping engine he got running a few years back. We shared some photos in the February/March 2016 issue, and now Stiles sends more showing the engine fully set up and pumping water. This type of engine was introduced in 1908 by The Temple Pump Co., Chicago, Illinois. The pumping engine came with a single flywheel while non-pumpers came with two. “I haven’t found anybody else that has the one flywheel pumper. It’s serial no. 8263. This Temple was restored by me, it is the only pumper I know of,” Stiles says.

The pulley side of the Temple Pump engine.

The build plate for the Temple shows serial no. 8263. Are there any others out there?

Stiles Bradley
Pavilion, New York

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Louis Runkles' George B. Miller Engine

The George B. Miller looks every bit like a Waterloo engine, which is no surprise given George B. Miller's connection to Waterloo Gas Engine Co.

To tell the story of this engine, I have to first explain that my son-in-law and I have been going to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, for the past seven years for the gas engine show.

We would listen to the engines run and talk to the owners about how they found them, what to look for, and the big thing – how much they cost. There are a lot of engines out there, all sizes and shapes. This is something that amazed me, as we were looking at engines made at the turn of the century.

"D46" is cast into the connecting rod, indicating a 7hp engine.

Each manufacturer had their own design, with different castings, ignitions, flywheels and so on. Last year, I saw an engine at a show. We talked to the owner and found out it was in good condition. It had been restored about 10 years ago. There was no name tag or identification on it to show who manufactured it. I’m sure the cart wasn’t original, but it worked fine to move it around. The owner thought it must be a 4hp engine.

Unlike a Waterloo, the Miller's rocker arm sits at an angle.

I decided to purchase it, and I took it home and did a little research to find out who manufactured it. I went through a lot of magazines looking for pictures that resembled it or looked just like it. Most people I spoke with thought it was a Waterloo engine. Waterloo made a lot of engines for a lot of different companies, but this engine didn’t match up to any of the Waterloo engine pictures I found. As I researched more, I found a lot of differences on my engine that the Waterloo engines didn’t have.

The water hopper is through-bolted to the engine.

In talking to some engine owners, they said to contact Waterloo engine enthusiast Jimmy Priestley and tell him what I have to see if he could help me figure out who manufactured it. I contacted Jimmy and
described the differences my engine had compared to other Waterloo engines and Jimmy said he would do a little research and get back to me. In the meantime I cleaned and degreased the engine, sanded a few spots, put new bolts in the water tank and primed it. There were other colors under the red paint, but I couldn’t tell what they were; it was just dark. I painted the frame and wheels with several coats of primer, but waited to paint the engine.

Note the raised ridge on the end of the cylinder.

Jimmy called back and said that based on his research and what I had told him, he thought the engine might be a George B. Miller. He said the paint should be dark green, like Brewster Green, similar to DuPont 24166.

Jimmy said the differences between George’s engine and a Waterloo were the rocker arm, the igniter, the water tank, the carburetor, the piston cylinder and the muffler. The rocker arm was at an angle instead of straight across, the igniter was diamond shaped instead of round, the water tank was bolted on with four long bolts, the carburetor was on the bottom instead of straight across, the piston cylinder had a round ridge on the edge where the other ones didn’t, and the muffler was on the side instead of the bottom.

Close-up of the Miller's igniter and rocker arm.

George B. Miller was one of the founders of Waterloo Gas Engine Co., which was sold to Deere & Co. in 1918. But after several years of retirement, Miller went back into the engine business, making his own engines based on the original Waterloo. The
differences were enough that they didn’t infringe on the Deere engine. Miller’s new engines were called Faultless and were built up to perhaps 1926.

The connecting rod has a casting number on it (D46) indicating it was a 7hp engine. It turned out to be a beautiful 7hp George B. Miller engine. To make a long story short, there is more information on the engines today than when people were restoring them 10 years ago.

Thanks to my son-in-law, Tim Urban, who painted it with dark green automotive paint, and Linda Hippi of St. Peter, Missouri, who painted the logo and did the pinstriping. And thanks to all the people along the way for making this an enjoyable journey and a chance to give an engine a name and bring it back to life.

Louis Runkles

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Daughters and the Safety Vapor Engine


A blast from the past: This great photo from Fred Hickerson ran in the March/April 1974 issue of GEM. Does anyone know where Anne and Kathy are today? Or Fred and the Safety Vapor Engine? – Editor

My three beauties, daughters Anne, left, and Kathy, right, gracing my Safety Vapor Engine, serial number 141, the prize of my collection. Note the flyball governor on the fuel inlet (top left) and the chain driven sprocket on the side of the cylinder which rotates a disc type valve arrangement for the fuel inlet and exhaust outlet. A timing gear to the right of the sprocket drives a shaft which trips a “make and break” ignition system.

Courtesy of Fred Hickerson
Box 602, R.D. 6, Newton, NJ 07860

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Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

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