My First Hit and Miss Engine

By Staff

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!’

The crank to the engine had a sleeve with slots to fit the
crankshaft, which slipped into the crank with a cotter key. The
cotter key was straight in the crank. He said he took the cotter
key out and turned the sleeve around. Looking at the engine from
the front, the crank was turning the engine over clockwise with
late firing. Reversing the sleeve one has to crank the engine
counter clock wise. We came to the conclusion that the farmer had a
few younger children and he reversed the sleeve so no one could
start the engine.

My dad was born and raised on a farm and I always looked up to
him as a very smart man.

The engine has been stored over in the shed for a few years.
After receiving my Gas Engine Magazine, I got the urge and was
curious to hear it run again. I pulled out the spark plug and shot
five or six squirts of gas into the opening, filled up the piston
oiler, and put water in the hopper. The first turn of the crankoff
it went! I was amazed. Puff! Puff! Puff! What a sound. I am now
going to restore it for the younger generation to hear run.
It’s another hobby to keep me busy!

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