1903 5 HP Reliable

Old reliable

| December/January 2009

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    Scott Clausen's 1903 5 HP Reliable.
    Christian Williams
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    Instead of a flyball governor, the Reliable has flywheel weights.
    Christian Williams
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    To avoid making seperate flywheel patterns, the Reliable Machine Co. used the same flywheel on both sides of the engine. The flywheels on Scott Clausen's engine were also the only pieces that identified it as a Reliable.
    Christian Williams
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    Scott Clausen's 1903 5 HP Reliable.
    Christian Williams
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    A close look at the igniter and spark-saver mechanism on the Reliable. Assistance from 1-1/2 HP Reliable owner Jim Zook helped Scott and his son, Jonathan, machine the individual pieces properly.
    Christian Williams

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Manufacturer: Reliable Machine Co., Anderson, IN
Year: 1903
Horsepower: 5
Features: Spark-saver mechanism; identical flywheels

Scott Clausen is a big believer in authenticity. For proof of that, look no further than his 1903 5 HP Reliable.

Scott bought the Reliable in rough shape at an estate auction 26 years ago but couldn’t find any information about the engine to restore it. “People kept telling me I should put a spark plug on it and get it running but I didn’t want to do anything to it until I could do it right,” says Scott. And “doing it right” essentially meant waiting for the right person to come along and share some insight into how the Reliable looked and worked when it was in service.

Collecting dust



Scott’s son, Jonathan, remembers growing up watching the Reliable collect dust in his father’s workshop. “He bought it a year before I was born,” says Jonathan.

As the years went by, Jonathan became interested in machine work and thought about tackling the Reliable. “When I was about 14 or 15 years old, I said, ‘Let’s get this thing going,’” says Jonathan. “We could only go off a picture but we got it all cleaned up.”