Have you ever wondered what kind of engine you might be able to get in a trade involving a Model T Ford? Greg Wakeman, Ramona, Calif., can tell you: a 1902 5 HP web-spoke Samson. “This engine came from Snelling, Calif., where it pumped water on the Merced River,” says Greg. “I got it from Dave Kestler, who had it for 30 years, and traded him a Model T for it.”
The Samson has a 5-1/2-inch bore, 10-inch stroke and flywheel diameter of 36 inches. It features an early style, two-piece igniter. It is throttle-governed and was originally made to run on heavy fuels like oil and kerosene.
Based on a vintage photo that Greg found of a complete Samson water pump set up, he displays his engine with a Samson water pump on an original Samson cart. “The cart was found on Dave’s property,” says Greg. “It’s the only one like it.” Greg rebushed the wheels, sandblasted the lumber and cut it with a chainsaw to restore its original look. Greg also attached a circulating pump to the flywheel, a rare feature. All in all, it’s hard to find any differences between the photo and the restored engine. “It’s the most accurate restoration of a Samson I’ve seen,” says Dave.
Shown by Greg Wakeman, Ramona, Calif., at the California Gold V show, Davenport, Calif., May 16-18, 2008.