A LAMBERT ADVENTURE


| March/April 1990



Conversion from sideshaft to gearless

Results of a conversion from sideshaft to 'gearless' in the early 1900s.

RFD #3,Box 5840 Gardiner, Maine 04345.

Should I investigate a lead that might end up in one of those famous wild goose chases that we have all been on? Seems to be a never ending dilemma in this engine hobby of ours. The 'when to', 'how far', 'how much' and other assorted 'hows' all, for some reason, take a back seat when the thought of what might be out there arises. Off we go again!

Such was the case when me friend and fellow engine enthusiast, Prince Stevens, heard about an old engine that was left to enjoy the quiet serenity of a wooded area not far from our homes in central Maine. Another friend and engine collector, Bill Ellis, had seen the engine while hunting and we all wondered if it could be the same 8 HP rumored to be in the area sometime around 1973. Bill, who felt he couldn't handle it due to its size, suggested that Prince look into it. What was to follow is a story filled with doubt, frustration, expense and the work of a lot of great friends.

The decision was made to try to obtain the engine and add it to the ever growing collection of old iron. After some dooryard negotiating, Prince was able to come to terms and the adventure of bringing it out of the woods began.

Just getting to it with a ton truck was an exercise all by itself. With son, Alec, the engine hunters proceeded across the dooryard past an electric fence and through a pasture. Next came a ravine that was so steep that the bottom had to be filled with old fence rails so the bumper wouldn't drag and the tail of the truck wouldn't hit going up the other side. The engine sat about 250 feet into the woods on its original frame, less its wheels. The original frame was, in turn, sitting on a rotted wooden frame and the cylinder end was at a 45 degree angle to the ground. Over the years water had frozen and thawed in the cylinder and you can imagine what that was like. Prince got the truck turned around and backed up to the cylinder end. The frame had a hole where the axle was missing and with planking and a come-a-long Prince and Alec eventually got it up over the truck body. They guessed the engine would weigh between two and two and a half tons. This put a lot of strain on the homemade boom on the truck. The old road through the woods was pretty well grown up and after bending over several trees it was time to tackle the ravine in reverse order.

Slowly they crawled down the bank and stopped on the old rails to level everything. Up over the bank, through the pasture, past the electric fence (making everyone nervous) and into the dooryard rolled the truck, engine and assorted bushes and turf. Of course it was then realized that a logging skidder should have been used in the first place. It might be noteworthy to add that it was raining all this time as well. When the sun came out, the words C. Lambert and Sons showed up on the water tank and seat box.