1603 S. Market Street, Oskaloosa, Iowa 52577-4025
Bill L. Briney of 1603 S. Market Street, Oskaloosa, Iowa 52577 tells the story of how he got started in the engine hobby.
This is the story of how I got started in the gas engine hobby. My wife Karen and I and my parents went camping to a lake in southeastern Iowa, Labor Day weekend in 1974. My dad suggested we take one day off from fishing and drive to Mt. Pleasant and visit the Old Threshers Reunion.
While there, we spotted a one cylinder Maytag for sale in the swap tent for $25. We split the cost and brought the Maytag back to the campgrounds.
After the carburetor, check valve, and points were cleaned, the Maytag started. I imagine the neighboring campers did not appreciate a Maytag popping away at midnight.
The next summer I found a farmer neighbor of Dad's had an old flywheel engine in his scrap iron pile that he would give us. Dad, Karen and I went and picked it up. It was a 2 HP Rock Island engine that years before he had taken a sledge hammer to. A scrap iron dealer was supposed to buy the iron pile but for some reason he never came back.
One flywheel had all the spokes broken and the magneto and igniter were broken in pieces. I found the main caps in the water hopper. The crankshaft being still attached to the connecting rod when thrown into the iron pile had twisted the connecting rod considerably. The trucks were given to some boys, years before, to use as a wagon.
I bought a pair of flywheels, ignitor, and a magneto at a swap meet in Coon Rapid, Iowa.
The piston was stuck so badly that it took one year of soaking with penetrating fluid of all kinds, all the power my ten-ton press could push, and lots of heat with my acetylene torch.
The cylinder was pitted so badly my mechanic, Darrell Rust, bored the cylinder and we pressed a sleeve in. That was our first sleeve job and it worked out well. I was lucky to find a set of trucks at a farm sale.
This Rock Island is serial #A59497, and came by rail car to Newton, Iowa, where the first owner took a team and wagon to the depot and brought it to his farm in New Sharon, Iowa, 40 miles away.
He used this engine until electricity came to his place, then sold it to another farmer to pump water at a well out in the pasture. This was the farmer who gave the engine to Dad and me.
This was my first engine. I now have over ninety flywheel engines and this is still my favorite. It is a slow running engine, I think due to large flywheels.
Both farmers who had owned this engine have been to my place and watched me start it for them. Out of all these ninety engines, I only have twenty-four restored.