ELMERETTA

By Staff
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Courtesy of Bob Hartwig, 1442 Lincoln Drive, Flint, Michigan 48503.
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Courtesy of L. B. Herron, Newell, Iowa 50568.
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Courtesy of Henry Bruell, Route 4, Potters Rd., Elkhorn, Wisconsin 53121.
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Courtesy of Bob Hartwig, 1442 Lincoln Drive, Flint, Michigan 48503.
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Courtesy of Henry Bruell, Route 4, Potters Rd., Elkhorn, Wisconsin 53121.
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Courtesy of Henry Bruell, Route 4, Potters Rd., Elkhorn, Wisconsin 53121.

1442 Lincoln Drive Flint, Michigan 48503

If Elmer Smithwick ever reads this, I’ll just have to leave
the country. Even though Elmer isn’t a day over ninety,
he’ll get me. I’m sure. You see, it’s this way. Many,
many years ago, perhaps in the beginning 30’s, we had an old
car fixed up with a Model T coil. Juice going in, one pole grounded
with a chain, another pole connected to the car frame. You’ve
guessed it. When someone was standing on the ground and touched the
car, we pushed the button. They lit up a bit. It was a sort of fun
thing. Most of the fellows around were at one time or another
working on old cars, or tractors, or old engines. Getting a poke
now and then wasn’t too unusual.

Well, one day my brother, Jo, and his buddy were visiting Elmer
at his farm. Elmer came near the car — didn’t touch it. We
wouldn’t have shocked him. Too old, I guess. But — Elmer was a
hunter. A hunter has hounds. And hounds are inquisitive.
Elmer’s hound was inquisitive — about the front tire and
wheel. Then someone pushed the button. Now I have seen a lot of
fast hounds — but not as fast as this one. I’ll not forget
that little cloud of dust heading around the barn, thru the gate,
down the lane a half mile or so and into the woods. And I knew that
in that little cloud was a hound. Anyhow — we were never quite
sure if Elmer knew exactly what had happened. Only thing he said
was, ‘He must have bumped his foot.’

See story — Elmeretta.

Rumely Oil Pull 15-30 single cylinder. One of the early models.
Eagle 16-30, No. 618.

Now — nearly forty years later — we had been talking around
the farm community about old engines. Elmer heard of our interest
and had his wife call us. Said he had put one in the shed a few
years ago; it ran real good then, and he would be willing to sell
it now. We couldn’t help but go out to see it — but somehow we
wondered just how much he really knew about the dog incident, and
if he might just be going to get even a bit.

Got there on a cold blustery day in the early fall. Elmer and
the wife were busy doing some winterizing on the old farmhouse. We
chatted a while — about everything in general. I didn’t want
him to ‘feel’ how excited I was about that engine. All old
engines bother me that way when I first go after them. I casually
asked where he kept the engine.

He said, ‘Oh, right out there in the shed, towards the
left-hand back corner.’ I asked how long it had been there. He
said they had put it there when they had gotten electricity;
didn’t need it for pumping anymore. I did a bit of adding and
subtracting in my head. Farm I grew up on was just east of here.
Only four miles or so. Our electricity came in 1936 and I knew that
Elmer got his a couple of years before that. Quite a long storage
for this one — of course I was happy that it was stored
inside.

This is a rather odd engine with two pistons and one connecting
rod, one wrist pin and one spark plug. You can read the name on the
side of the engine -Sieverkropp, 1910. (This is owned by L. B.
Herron.)

See story – Elmeretta.

We went out to the shed. And a fine shed it was, that is, the
front of the shed was fine. Doorway was sort of clogged up with
things. Elmer wasn’t one to throw things away. I peeked inside
and it did look sort of daylight. I walked around the outside of
the building and found that sometime some years ago the building
had just caved in. Trees and shrubs and grapevines had made a
wonderful growth up through. We dug a while. After an hour or so we
found a wheel of the truck that the engine sat on. Then the engine.
A small throttle-governed International — I think it was 2?
horsepower, Model M. I didn’t have one like it just then so
asked the question, how much? Elmer knew too much. He had figured
how to arrive at the top dollar. You know, sometimes one just
can’t back out. You can’t argue. You can’t bargain. You
just smile a bit and pay. I paid.

The old gal was free. Seems like the rubbish had fallen just
right. Protected most every thing but the carb. We rebuilt that.
Had to remagnatize the Mag. Put in a new plug, re-built the gas
pump and a few other bits. Put gas in the priming part of the
carb., gave her a shot of ether — spray can style — my, what
magic stuff that is for me.

We never used the crank. Just grab the flywheels and pull it
over — past compression — and step back. Those M’s sure do a
lot of running. Gas pumps irritate me at times. Wonder if they
might not have been a bit better engineered. Still they were a lot
of engine compared with the old upright Famous jobs from the same
company but a lot earlier. We have two of those — and feel
fortunate to have saved them from the junkyard and to put them in
our yard.

Red Devil gas engine, 2 hp. Built by Cavanaugh and Darley Gas
Engine Company of Chicago, Illinois, in the early 1900’s.

Hart Parr, 28-50, No. 70892.

We’ll put the M back on a water pump — One we put on a
raised platform with a tank underneath. Sort of ‘ersatz.’
But a great number of folks who visit us think only of city water
— and a tap or faucet. They seem to get a great bang out of
reading the history around our yard. We’re trying to put the
old engines back to work as they were — or nearly so. Our city
friends get to help us buzz wood. Always have some poles piled and
ready and the Stover 5 hp. just waiting to have her tail twisted.
She barks nicely. Have a nice Fairbanks Morse, 15 hp. that ran a
sawmill near fifty years ago. It’s in beautiful shape. Wrote a
letter about a small mill for that one today. But, that’s
another story — and some more work — and a lot more fun.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines