Last of the junk?
Jesse Cook’s 32 HP Oil Well Supply Co. engine.
Manufacturer: Oil Well Supply Co., Pittsburgh, PA
This big 32 HP Oil Well Supply Co. engine is "definitely the last piece of junk to be hauled onto the property," according to my wife.
About two years ago, my 15 HP Reid fell into the same category. One of my wife’s favorite questions is, “How many engines do you need?”
My collection consists of 25 engines, two of which have appeared on the front cover of Gas Engine Magazine (3/4 HP Briggs & Stratton, April 2004, and 6 HP IHC Model M, August 1997).
The Oil Well Supply is the latest addition to my collection. This type engine replaced the old hot tube, babbitt-bearing engines and was made primarily for the oil fields. It has one extra-heavy-duty flywheel along with a twin disc clutch on the opposite shaft. It also has an enclosed crankcase with Timken roller bearings on the crankshaft. The engine has a bore and stroke of 8 inches by 8 inches. It runs between 400 and 750 RPM and has an electric start, which means no more hand cracking.
Tips for the common man
I am sharing my comments, tips and photos for the average gas engine enthusiast. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy very much seeing the rare, one-of-a-kind and very expensive engines on the front cover of GEM. I also enjoy the stories and detail showing how they use all sorts of boring tools, lathes and mills to reproduce parts, all of which are out of reach for the average collector. But this article reflects how you can collect, restore and be able to say when it is finished, “I did it all.”
My advice is to look at an engine closely before you buy it, and if it has enough compression to blow your thumb from the spark plug hole, it probably has enough to run. Usually, the bushings, trip arm and other pieces are well worn but still have plenty of life left in them. If the mixer and magneto are missing, no problem – you can make them from spare parts lying around the garage.
As an example, I purchased a 2-1/2 HP Bull Dog at a discounted price simply because the mixer and mag were missing. I used a small piece of 1-inch pipe and a needle valve to make the mixer. I used an old set of car points and a 12-volt coil to make the ignition system. It runs just as well with these spare parts as it would with the originals.
The 32 HP Oil Well Supply engine was also missing the mag, which would have cost about $450, but the points and 12-volt coil helped this engine run fine. Bottom line: You can improvise, save a lot of money and get the same results.
Contact Jesse E. Cook at 3423 Younger Dr., Charleston, WV 25306 • (304) 925-6172 •