New life for a Geiser
Henry Listman’s 1910 6 HP Geiser.
1910 6 HP Geiser
Manufacturer: Geiser Mfg. Co. Waynesboro, PA
Flywheel diameter: 40 inches
To my father, John Listman, for passing on his passion for engines.
Over the past 35 years my father, John, has been an avid engine collector and the interest has passed on to me, my son and my youngest brother. Like most collectors, you always dream about the engine you would love to have.
My father was a collector of many fine items when I was growing up. Both my father and mother, Jackie, collected items such as furniture, knickknacks, cash registers, music boxes, clocks, etc. So having the appreciation of collecting engines came naturally.
One day, my father’s friend Hans Wendt stopped by to show my father an engine he had purchased and that’s all it took. Dad was hooked, and his engine collection exploded from there. I was 19 at the time and also became fascinated with the hobby.
Through the years, my wife, Mary, and I have spent a lot of time with our friends Andy Cook and Sonny Reinking going to swap meets, auctions and shows. Andy and Sonny have provided me with sound engine advice and taught me a lot about this hobby. Learning from their years of experience and going to the shows and swap meets with them have been some of the best memories my wife and I share together.
The Geiser in due time
One of the engines my father had was a 6 HP Geiser, which he later decided to sell. At the time, I was building a home and couldn’t afford to purchase the engine. So when I saw the auction ad for a 6 HP Geiser in Boonsboro, N.C., I was extremely happy. After 35 years of waiting, I would finally have the opportunity to own the engine and have it properly restored.
The man behind the scenes
Winning the auction wasn’t my only good fortune. A few years prior to the Boonsboro auction, I purchased an engine on eBay from a young man named Jim Cook in Fayetteville, Pa. Who would have thought that a purchase I made on eBay would allow me to meet someone I now consider to be one of my best friends?
I enjoy tinkering with the engines, but I’m not gifted when it comes to restoring them. As you can see from the pictures, Jim’s talent for restoring engines, as far as I’m concerned, is the best around. You will not find a more talented, honest, knowledgeable and trusting individual.
When Jim is talking about engines you have to look at him twice because it’s hard to believe that he isn’t 70 years old. But let’s just say he is 20 years younger than me, and I’m in my 50s. His knowledge of engines and respect for them is a true testament of his work. Jim isn’t the kind of guy who does a little sanding here and there. He takes the engine completely apart as you should. When I say completely apart, I mean every little piece. He doesn’t cut corners – it has to be done right. Watching him work on an engine and seeing the deep appreciation and respect he has is truly infectious. I’m so fortunate that he truly wanted the engine to be represented in as close to the original form as it possibly can. The engine is now a true museum piece.
It’s so nice to see him working with his daughter, Jill (aka “Stinky”), who is always running around the garage “helping.” She is so cute helping her dad; I really think she enjoys getting her hands dirty the most! She is definitely going to be a collector when she gets older.
The pictures of this engine are nice but to see this engine in person is just breathtaking. The amount of time Jim spent ensuring everything is to scale is truly magnificent.
The paint for the engine was purchased from Smart Shoppers as I found the prices there to be very reasonable. The paint we used was Kirker Ultra-Glo Black, the hardener was Ultra-Glo Urethane Activator, and the cart paint we used was Kirker Ultra-Glo Urethane Enamel. The key to the paint turning out so well was the extra money we spent on the primer, Clausen All-U-Need Primer. It was expensive but well worth it. The engine was green before Jim started the restoration, and as you can see, painting it back to the original black was a great decision.
The other items we needed (such as new brass pipes) were purchased from Starbolt. Thanks to Bill and Linda Starkey for providing all the final fittings and piping.
A good friend to have
Jim spent 3,800 hours on the restoration and the engine doesn’t just look good, it runs like a clock. The skill Jim has isn’t just in painting and restoring, he even has great skills in woodworking. The box and the seat were also handmade by him along with the cooling tank. Jim says that it was the best engine he had ever restored and he’s extremely proud of how it turned out. The day my wife and I picked up the engine was very exciting for us, but even more exciting was to see how proud Jim was of the engine.
Jim has restored numerous engines for me and I must say when I drop them off, I know that a masterpiece will return. I think that each one he restores brings him as much satisfaction as it does to me. Believe me, he is not happy until it’s perfect. Jim is really a quiet person, so putting him in the limelight is not something I think he is used to. So, Jim, thanks so much for your friendship and for all of your outstanding work and attention to detail. Thanks also for being so honest and, most importantly, for being so kind to my wife and me. We are very fortunate to have you as our friend.