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1920 7 HP Field-Brundage

Barn owl companion

| December/January 2004

  • Field-Brundage
    A period photograph of Foster Scott's 7 HP Field-Brundage at work in Missouri, probably in the 1920s.
  • Engine
    The engine as found, waiting to be moved to its new home. Note the welding that's been done on the head at some point.
  • The barn
    The barn (or what's left of it) the Field-Brundage shared with local barn owls.
  • Field-Brundage
    The Field-Brundage loaded on Foster Scott's trailer, enjoying the light of day for the first time in years. Not a bad looking piece from this angle.
  • The business side of the engine
    The business side of the engine.

  • Field-Brundage
  • Engine
  • The barn
  • Field-Brundage
  • The business side of the engine

Company: Field-Brundage Co., Jackson, Mich.
Model: Type W
Year: 1920
Horsepower: 7
RPM: 350
Bore: 6-inch
Stroke: 9-inch
Flywheel diameter: 38 inches
Flywheel width: 3 inches
Igntion: Hit-and-miss, low-tension magneto and igniter
Additional info: Clutch pulley is 18 inches in diameter

Although I'm relatively new to the gas engine hobby, I developed a keen interest in old engines while dove hunting in the oil fields of west Texas, where I heard the old hit-and-miss engines singing their song while pumping oil. I have since collected several engines, and my wife, MaryAnn, and I are now members of the Southeast Kansas Old Time Gas Engine & Tractor Club, which meets at Pittsburg, Kan. We both enjoy the friendly people and camaraderie.

Field Findings
While talking one day with our friend and neighbor Severin Poirot, Severin told me his father, Severin Poirot St., had a 1920 7 HP Field-Brundage in an old barn. The engine was originally purchased and used by Severin Sr.'s father, the late Eugene Poirot, back in the 1920s or before. I received permission to view the engine on May 12, 2004, and drove over the following day. Upon entering the barn to look at and photograph the engine, we were startled by a pair of barn owls, with two young owls peering down at us. Without the yearly nesting of these barn owls, the old barn would likely have been dozed down, perhaps destroying the old Field-Brundage sitting inside.

The Poirot family is dedicated to conservation, having some 1,000 acres of native prairie grass, as well as a large farming operation. The native prairie grass has enabled them to maintain a small population of greater prairie chickens here in southwest Missouri. Severin's grandfather, Eugene Poirot, authored a conservation column in the Joplin and Springfield, Mo., newspapers back in the 1940s and 1950s. This old Field-Brundage has heard the 'booming' mating call of the prairie chickens in the spring and the hooting of barn owls for many years.

The business side of the engine shows it's missing a few items, most importantly the original igniter and magneto. This engine led a hard-working life before it was retired, a fact borne out by its worn cylinder bore, which measures out to 6.025 inches at the top: It's supposed to have a 6-inch bore.

Looking closely at the engine, we found it was seized up, and both the magneto and igniter were missing. Even so, MaryAnn and I decided to try to buy the engine. I spoke with Severin Sr. about the engine, and he made me a deal I couldn't refuse! Dave Brooks, a good friend and old-engine aficionado, helped me load the engine and bring it home.

We've done a little bit of work since recovering the engine, including freeing and removing the piston. Fellow club members John Lawhorn and Kenny Wilson helped me measure the piston and cylinder bore, and when we removed the head we found the valves to be good to use. The wrist pin will have to be repaired or replaced, and once that's done we plan on trying to start it up.


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