Rock Island Line

By Staff
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Pete and his grandson, Chad Sutton, with Pete's circa 1928 4 HP Rock Island, serial number 115388, at a 1995 show.

Rock Island Line: Pete and his eight Rock Island engines, which
range from the 1914 7 HP heading the lineup in this photo to the
1918 1 HP at the tail end. Rock Island Plow Co., Rock Island, III.,
didn’t make its own engines, choosing instead to buy them from
other manufacturers. From 1911 to 1913 Rock Island engines were
made by the Jacob Haish Co., DeKalb, III. Beginning with 1914,
engines were sourced from Alamo Manufacturing Co., (later to be
named Alamo Engine Co.) Hillsdale, Mich. Rock Island Plow Co. was
eventually purchased by J.I. Case in 1937.

I would like to introduce you to my collection of Rock Island
gas engines. I feel very fortunate to be the owner of eight of
these gas engines; over the years I have been able to collect the 1
HP, 1 – HP, 2- HP, 3 HP, 4 HP, 5 HP, 6 HP and 7 HP. The Rock Island
gas engine was made in Michigan by Alamo and sold by the Rock
Island Plow Co., Rock Island, Ill.

My collection of Rock Island engines started when I bought the
2- HP engine from my brother, Frank. That first engine got me
interested in owning more Rock Island engines, so I began buying
more, my goal being to collect the complete line. I purchased most
of these engines in and around the area where I live from
individuals and at auctions.

The 3 HP engine, for instance, belonged to a father and his
sons. I first saw it from a distance, partially hidden behind a
building and clearly in very poor condition. After a number of
attempts to purchase the 3 HP engine from the father, he finally
turned the engine over to me on one condition: That I fix it up so
his sons could hear it run for the first time. They had always
hoped to see it restored one day, and that finally became a
reality. The 4 HP engine is the only Rock Island engine I purchased
out of state, bought at auction in Minnesota. I almost didn’t
go, but at 2 a.m. the day of the auction I jumped out of bed and
the next thing I knew I was in Minnesota. The 4 HP completed my
collection, and over the years I restored all the engines and built
wheels to put under them.

My collection of Rock Island gas engines has given me a great
deal of pride over the years. They have been on public display at
the annual Atkinson Antique Gas Engine and Tractor Show in
Atkinson, Ill., which I have been a member for 40 years. The
complete collection was also on exhibit at the Mark of the Quad
Cities in Moline, Ill.

Contact engine enthusiast Pete Claeys at: P.O. Box 81,
Preemption, IL 61276.

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