History of the Cornmeal Unit

By Staff
article image

38 Lovell Rd, Stratham, New Hampshire 03885

I have been asked by several people to write a history of the
Cornmeal Unit, people who think it might interest others.

In about 1980-81 I acquired a 3 HP International gas engine,
weighing 478 pounds. To get it to shows, I bought a trailer,
unassembled. I put it all together, to load on the

About the time I finished the trailer assembly, I saw a 2 HP
Lauson engine for sale at an engine show in South Hampton, New
Hampshire. This one was a little different from my other engines,
and a few days later, I found the owner in Amesburg, Massachusetts
and bought it. I soon realized that it was in good shape, also
quite dependable, easy to start, etc. This was in the late fall of

I wanted to be able to go out and start it, just to hear an old
engine run during the winter. (They say all old engine buffs are
nuts!) I built a temporary house for it out of scraps, then put it
on the trailer to keep it off the ground.

At this time, a friend called saying a yard sale was in progress
in New Market, New Hampshire, and might have something I would
want. I went over and purchased a post drill.

The next spring I decided to mount the Lauson (not the
International) engine on the trailer and belt it to the post drill.
That done, I had a machine to run at shows and I got lots of
compliments on it, as it was.

I retired that summer, 1982, went to Florida that fall, bought a
place to live, but it had no room for engines.

I went to the first engine show I heard of, with the idea in
mind of buying a small engine, to show, and to get me into the
engine shows in Florida. I came upon a model engine-I liked the
looks of it, but the price was a little high, I thought. Maybe I
could outsmart the owner and get it at my price the next day-last
day of the show. Nope, it was sold the night before!

I remembered seeing three or four burr mills for sale. I went
back there and sure enough, he still had two, one small, one big. I
bought the small one, only because it was small, not knowing the
other one was a feed mill. (I’ve learned a lot since.) Took it
all apart, cleaned, painted, rebuilt, loaded it into the car trunk
and brought it back to New Hampshire, at this point not knowing
what I’d do with it.

One day, I got to checking things over, measuring, etc., and
decided I could mount it on the trailer with the post drill and
throw the belt, to run one or the other with the same belt.
Rotation on each okay, sure enough, it fit!

Now I had two machines for the Lauson to run-albeit NO CORN!

A local farmer gave me a few ears and I took them to the
Portsmouth, New Hampshire Farmer’s Market with the idea in mind
to shuck the ears and grind the corn only as a demonstration. Burr
mills in New England were, and perhaps still are, quite rare, as
each town or the next one to it had a fast running brook or river
and thus a grist mill, so there was no need to buy, own, invent or
pay for power for one.

Then a fellow came along and said ‘By golly-real
old-fashioned coarse ground corn meal. I’ve been looking for
some of that for the last two years!! How much is it?’ I was
putting it into lunch bags-to give away to anyone, to feed birds,
chickens, whatever. I told him it wasn’t for sale (didn’t
want to get involved in pure food law problems) but to take some if
he wanted it.-FREE. Nope, he was going to pay for it or not take
it. We went back and forth for a couple of minutes, until the
‘light came on.’ I am a little slow thinking at
times-finally I said, ‘Put what you want in the tool box, on
the trailer, and I will see that it gets to the right place.’
That was the start of the ‘Cornmeal Fund’ which totaled
$334.27 in the first year!

Then a fellow Shriner, Richard Scamman, an Agway dealer, offered
to supply the corn. That turned out very well, as it is hard,
moisture controlled, worm free and tasty as well. We use only Agway
recleaned whole corn. I am very thankful for his generosity as, for
instance, in 1989 he paid for 650 pounds.

Also in 1989, Potentate Bernard Wildove, Bektash Temple, gave us
a real thrill! With his kind help, he made it the Cornmeal Unit,
thereby doing away with the Cornmeal

Fund although all proceeds go to the same places, namely, the
Boston Burns Unit and the Springfield Orthopedic Unit, both in
Massachusetts. 100% of donations went to these Shriners Hospitals!
No deduction for anything!!

I added a few humorous signs, 100% accurate weather forecasts,
poems, etc. to draw interest. One sign says, ‘Donations
accepted for Shriner’s Hospitals. Cornmeal Free.’ I added
one nice cornbread recipe and one for cornmeal cookies, too.
Hundreds of copies of these are made for us by the Dwight Crow
Insurance Agency, Stratham, New Hampshire and Dowling
Refrigeration, Greenland, New Hampshire. Thanks.

Our patrons have donated the following-for the record:
1983-$334.27; ’84-$354.34; ’85- $390.34; ’86-$652.55;
’87-$805.19; ’88-$811.49; ’89-$1005.73;
’90-$865.75. A total of $5220.15 sent to the Boston Burns Unit
and Springfield Orthopedic Unit, both in Massachusetts, and
Shriners Hospitals.

Each year, we have tried to top the last, in donations, but due
to conditions beyond our control, we failed in 1990. We tried!
Hopefully the coming years will be better. It will get a good
‘college try’.

This is the story, so far, of the Cornmeal Unit of Bektash
Shrine Temple, Concord, New Hampshire.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines