My First Hit and Miss Engine

| March/April 1995

1072 Fourth St. Ext, Charleroi, Pennsylvania 15022

I am a new subscriber to GEM, and I received my first copy, the December issue, a couple of days ago. Looking through it, I read several items concerning the gas engine. This gave me an urge to write a story of my first encounter with a hit and miss engine.

I went to many farm auctions over the years, when my dad was living. I started to go way back at-the age of 10 years old, until Dad died in 1964 at age 72. I am now 74 years old, so you know how many years I have spent at auctions. Way back in 1960 we went to a farm auction where I bought my first hit and miss engine. I still remember the family name: the Harry McCracken Farm.

We went into a barn and there, sitting in a corner by itself, was a hit and miss engine, the first one I had ever seen. I knew I had to have it! I bid on it and it was mine to take home for $5.00. It was a McCormick-Deering, manufactured by Inter national Harvester Company, similar to the name of the family having the auction: McCracken.

We brought it home and tried to start it, but we didn't have much success. It would fire late or sound out of time, just a puff. That's all Dad and I could get out of it: puff-puff! We gave it up for a while, after a few weeks of trying to get it to run.

I worked at a steel mill, and coming home from work at 4:00 p.m. one afternoon, I pulled over at the garage (I live in the country), and Dad had the engine outside and it was chugging away! I remember the big smile on his face as I got out of the truck. I asked him how he got it started. He told me, 'You will never believe what the trouble was.' He said, 'It was the crank!'

Richard Iacono
4/12/2009 12:30:43 PM

Old gas engines are awesome, old gas and steam remind me of simpler times