A Sleeping 'Giant'

A 1916 25 HP Mogul Giant Comes Out of Hiding in The Woods of Eastern Maryland

| October/November 2001

  • Mogul Giant

  • Mogul Giant
    Gene Reed gives his son Martin a 'thumbs up' as he prepares to disassemble the Mogul Giant.
  • Mogul Giant

  • Mogul Giant
  • Mogul Giant
  • Mogul Giant

As found: The Mogul Giant had been sitting in this shed for decades. Parts originally feared lost turned out to have been carefully stored by the original owner whose grandfather first bought the engine.

My father, Gene Reed, has found and collected many engines since getting into the hobby in the 1970's. Several years ago Joe Wilson, one of my father's engine hunting buddies, came across a large engine near his home in eastern Maryland. Like my father, Joe used to collect engines and other pieces of old machinery, but in the 1980's he turned his attention to REO trucks. So Joe told my father about the engine he had found, a 25 HP International, and said he could try to get it if my dad wanted it. At the time my father was getting rid of his bigger stuff, so he asked me if I was interested. I was just getting into the working world and was focused on other priorities, so I told him no. The engine sat for the next 15 years.

One day just before Christmas last year Joe was talking with my dad over the telephone, and out of the blue he asked if my father would be interested in that big International. Joe was sure it hadn't moved, because when he had talked to the owner the last time the owner said he had plans to restore the engine. My father, being at a point in his life where moving 25 HP behemoths is not what he considers a fun time, made the mistake of letting me know about it. I had forgotten all about the engine, but my enthusiasm for collecting has grown over the years, and when he asked me if I was interested in it I couldn't say no. I live in Richmond, so my father said he would get directions from Joe and go talk to the owner.

About two weeks later I went with my father and my good friend Andy Sine to see if we could find the engine. It was a cold, windy Saturday but that didn't deter us in the least. The owner, Paul Trueman, was home and we made our introductions. We told him we had heard there was an engine on the property and would he mind if we had a look. He agreed and told us where it was. I could barely keep from running as we walked toward a broken-down shed, and sure enough, underneath a portion of the collapsed building rested a 1916 25 HP stationary Mogul Giant.

As we started to look it over closely I was disappointed to find that a lot of parts were missing. The mag, camshaft, piston, all of the governor linkage and various other parts, were not anywhere near the engine. I thought this would only be a parts engine since you just can't go to any engine show and buy the necessary parts. At that moment Paul came down to talk with us, and I asked him what happened to all the parts. To my amazement he said he had taken them off several years ago in anticipation of restoring the engine, which had belonged to his grandfather. All of the parts were in the garage - he even had the original operator's manual. We were back in business.

I would like to relay the history of the engine as given to me by Paul Trueman. His grandfather, Jusha Trueman, purchased engine No. 840 from the factory and it was shipped to southern Maryland where it arrived via water at Trueman's point. The engine was then moved in parts using several Ford Model A trucks and driven approximately 20 miles to where it had sat for the last 84 years.

International Harvester supplied an engineer for two weeks while the engine was assembled and made operational. Since there were no motels or hotels, the factory engineer stayed with the Trueman family at their home. The engine was used to cut hickory railroad ties and lumber for local farmers, and it was also used to drive a gristmill to process grains into flour. The engine was operational for approximately 30 years.

The time of truth soon came when I asked him what he was going to do with the engine. He told me that at one time he was going to restore the engine, but due to health reasons he couldn't continue, so if I were interested in the engine he would sell it. Several days later a deal was agreed to and I purchased the engine. Now the hard part came - getting it home.

It sure helps to have friends when you're moving something as big as a 1916 Mogul Giant. Joe Wilson supplied his 13,000-pound REO rollback so Martin Reed could move his newfound treasure. The crew, from left to right: John Debowski, Joe Wilson, Gene . Reed, Andy Sine, Paul Trueman.

I enlisted the help of my life-long friends, Andy Sine and John Debowski, as well as my father and Joe Wilson to move this beast. Joe has a 13,000-pound capacity REO rollback, which made moving relatively easy - only once did she almost tip over as we struggled to get the engine off its base. After two weekends the Mogul was under a roof and awaiting restoration.

I consider myself a fortunate person to have such good friends and family who made this adventure possible. I look forward to getting the engine running and maybe taking it to a show or two, although I don't know how I'm going to get her there.

Contact engine enthusiast Martin Reed at 4318 Erlene Court, Chester, VA 23831


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