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1904 2-1/2 HP Samson

The Great Indoors

| September 2009

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    Brandon Perry’s 1904 2-1/2 HP Samson.
    Christian Williams
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    Brandon Perry’s 1904 2-1/2 HP Samson.
    Christian Williams

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Manufacturer: Samson Iron Works, Stockton, CA
Year: 1904
Horsepower: 2-1/2
Bore: 4-3/4-inch
Stroke: 8-inch
Flywheel diameter: 23-1/2 inches

Brandon Perry’s 1904 2-1/2 HP Samson is a California-built engine with a uniquely Californian background. “This engine was used in a gold mine in Chinese Camp, Calif.,” says Brandon. “It probably ran a water pump because it’s a little too small to run anything larger than that.”

Brandon acquired the engine from some friends who own the mine property, which has been in their family for over 100 years. “It was probably just a prospector mine,” says Brandon. “There wasn’t enough activity on it to have a larger operation.”

Like all Samsons, the vertical engine is tank cooled. It has a 4-3/4-inch bore with an 8-inch stroke, and a flywheel diameter of 23-1/2 inches. “It hadn’t been used since the 1920s and had been stored in a barn for at least the last 40 or 50 years,” says Brandon, “so it’s in better shape than it would have been outside.”

Nonetheless, some work was required to get it going again as the piston was stuck, the valve chamber rusted, and replacements needed for the carburetor and igniter. One of the flywheels had also been removed, probably for use on another machine, Brandon speculates. But that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. “I had to have the flywheel cast but it’s a better quality casting than the original,” says Brandon.


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

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