H.P. Nielson History

By Staff
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A door leading into a room in the H.P. Nielson factory.
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Above left: Hans Petter Nielson’s home.
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Left: Outside the factory.
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'Above and below: The decaying remains of the Nielson factory in St. Joseph, Mo., most of which are being hauled off to the dump. '

Having researched years ago on the subject of
Hans Petter Nielson’s factory for C.H. Wendel’s American
Gasoline Engines Since 1872
, my information comes out of St.
Joseph, Mo., city records.

Many times we drove by the area recorded as the site of H.P.
Nielson’s factory, but we could not get a look, as a 6-foot tall,
solid fence got in our way.

Our son Randy is into buying and restoring old St. Joe houses,
and he bought the old Nielson factory.

I had an H.P. Nielson engine for many years, and now we have the
home and factory. But it is over 100 years old and was not
maintained for the last 40 years.

Old Hans was an oculist, or in modern terms, an eyeball adjuster
and glasses fitter. In 1902, his office was in a prestigious
location of downtown St. Joe (Suite 1 of the Missouri and Kansas
telephone building).

He had many sons with professional jobs: a cabinet-maker, coach
driver, physician, railroad worker and machinist were recorded.

This 80-foot-by-100-foot brick building was built the old way:
four layers thick and interlaced together, possibly two-story.
Because of the trees, it was mostly toted away to the dump in trash
containers. I just bet it would cost more to haul the materials
away than it cost to build it in the early days of 1900. Just makes
a person cry to see this piece of engine history hauled to the

Contact Wayman Griggs at: 14150 state Route NN S.E.,
Stewartsville, MO 64490.

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