1923 1-1/2 HP Massey-Harris

Don Shively's blue Massey-Harris engine was built in Batavia, New York

| June/July 2011

My interest in Massey-Harris started years back when I had to haul coal in a wheelbarrow from the front yard, where the coal supplier dumped it, to the coal bin near our house.

A collection begins 
In the early 1970s, I managed to find a Massey-Harris 22 with a loader for $50 to ease the pain. A few years later, I had to pay the regular going price for the second MH 22 that I bought, but the following year, a MH 101 was given to me. Still later, I acquired a MH 44 real cheap. My last purchase was a Massey Pony from Kentucky. With all of those Massey tractors around, I became intrigued with Massey-Harris and related equipment.

Enter the engine 
In the early 1980s, I saw a sale bill for an auction at the Portland, Ind., armory that mentioned a 1923 1-1/2 HP Massey-Harris engine. The bidding was fierce but I was determined to buy it. I wasn’t coming home without it.

When I started on the project, I questioned the blue color. I worked down to the bare metal and everywhere I tried, it was still blue. I was able to verify the color but not the exact shade with help from the Internet. Apparently, the engines made in Batavia, N.Y., were blue and not red like those engines made in Canada as well as all other Massey machinery.

Restoration consisted of recharging the magneto, cleaning the igniter, grinding the valves and installing a muffler I found in the neighbor’s woods. The governor spring was broken so I replaced it with a hacksaw blade. I also soldered the leaky gas tank. The valves are getting thin so I will make new ones for my next project. Note that the gas tank and filler pipe are under the crankshaft, and the copper tube is the vent. 

Contact Don Shively at (419) 942-1010 and Leroy Peters (419) 678-2590 • patlee@bright.net