Westminster Abenaque Show Goes Annual

By Staff
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Abenaque engine equipped with Webster tri-polar oscillator.
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Portable circular saw rig with tank cooled engine.
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Engine-driven ice cream freezer, exhibited by Brian Brayden of Dublin, N.H.
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Abenaque engine minus cooling system.
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Tank cooled Abenaque engine.
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Hopper cooled Abenaque engines

P.O. Box 6 Wilmington, Vermont 05363

To celebrate the coming 100th anniversary of the founding of the
Abenaque Machine Works of Westminster Station, Vermont,
manufacturer of the Abenaque Gasolene Engine, the Westminster
Historical Society sponsored an engine show in August of 1985,
featuring the Abenaque engines. This show was a huge success.

The Abenaque engines were manufactured from about 1894 until
1920, when the company was dissolved by bankruptcy. Some former
employees of the company continued to make replacement parts in
Marlborough, New Hampshire until the 1930’s. Most of the
company records have become lost or destroyed. The original brick
machine shop now houses a metal culvert manufacturing company.

The Abenaque engines were made in 2 to 25 horsepower sizes. The
engines were heavy for their size, and were of side shaft design.
The mechanism was quite complicated, featuring a fuel injection
system. Ignition was of the make and break type, utilizing a spark
wire and wheel, operated by a pawl.

This ignition system proved to be troublesome. Later model
engines were equipped with a Webster Tri-Polar Oscillator. Some of
the original engines were converted to the Webster Oscillator,
either at the factory, or in the field with a kit furnished by the

A unique feature of the Abenaque engines was one to four sheet
metal cooling tanks on top of the engine, in place of a
conventional water hopper. Water hoppers were provided on some
models at a later date. Most of the engines were so designed that
either the tanks or a hopper could be installed. It was recommended
by the factory that all engines used in heavy service be equipped
with the cooling tanks. A disadvantage of the tanks was that they
would collect leaves and other debris and rust out.

The company also manufactured engine driven air compressors,
water pumps, cement mixers and tractors. None of these machines are
known to exist today.

 Other articles manufactured by the company were circular
and drag saws, sold as stationary or portable units. A portable
combination circular and drag saw outfit was offered.

The company also sold ensilage cutters, feed grinders, hay
presses, saw mills and grain threshers, made by other

Owing to the success of the original show in 1985, the
Westminster Fire Department sponsored another show in 1986. Due to
inclement weather, the show was a failure.

Last year, on July 28 and 29, the fire department sponsored
another engine show, featuring the Abenaque engines, with all other
makes, antique cars, trucks and tractors welcome. The show included
a flea market. There were over 100 exhibitors at the show. One of
the Abenaque engines exhibited had both the original spark wheel
and Webster ignition systems.

A very popular exhibitor was Brian Brayden of Dublin, New
Hampshire, with an engine-driven ice cream freezer. The ice cream
was sold at the registration booth.

The show will now be an annual event. The dates for 1991 are
July 27 and 28. The show is located at the Westminster Elementary
School. Camping with no hook-ups is permitted. Look for ads right
here in Gas Engine Magazine.

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines