25 N. Front Street Mountaintop, Pennsylvania 18707
Saturday morning found me standing at a farm sale, with a damp,
chilly wind at my back. In spite of the threatening clouds, a fair
crowd was gathering, probably happy to be outdoors after a long
All the usual stuff was there: antique furniture, barn goodies,
farm implements, a tractor or two, even hot coffee and bean soup
offered up by a local church group.
After checking out the barn and sheds, I was feeling somewhat
disappointed, because I didn’t see what I was really looking
for. Maybe, just maybe, I might finally find an open crankshaft
motor ‘all by myself!’ Since my first show several years
ago, I’d been wanting one, but I had to be the one to find it.
Oh well, maybe next time.
I went through all the ‘auction motions,’ bought several
tractor advertising collectibles, and then followed the auctioneer
and the crowd around the back of a shed to sell a pile of scrap
WELL, I’LL BE…!! There, alongside the pile, was a pair of
fly wheels-no,-a whole motor! The flywheels told me it was a Leader
(Field Force Pump Co., see GEM May 90). I guessed about 5 HP. It
looked to be in sad shape, badly rusted, but I had to have it. I
tried to be casual, but my determination must have shown, because
the other two bidders dropped out shortly after we hit triple
digits. ‘You paid too much,’ commented one of my opponents,
‘for a motor in such poor condition.’ Oddly enough, his
idea of too much was $5.00 more than he bid.
With the help of some friends, I urged my treasure onto the
pickup, drove it home, and unloaded it. I couldn’t wait to
start working on it, so after taking some pictures for the record,
I proceeded to tear it down.
What a surprise! Instead of rust, I found a good bore and
piston, good bearings, and fairly good valves. It even had an extra
oiler, and the original hand crank in the hopper. All it needed was
to be ‘freshened’ with some minor parts fabrication, a few
springs, and a new paint job.
This all went smoothly, as I have restored several tractors and
other motors of later vintage. Now the fun really began. Having no
instruction manual, I had to rely on my own experience to get the
timing-firing sequence properly set up.
Turn the flywheel, watch the mechanism. Turn the flywheel, watch
Turn the flywheel, watch my fingers!!
OUCH!! What a mess! Two fingers mangled, three hours in a
crowded emergency room (at eight o’clock in the evening), and
the trip to a bone specialist-my fingers should be all right, but
my fingernails might look a little funny. Oh, well, this is to be
After a day’s rest, I couldn’t wait to get back to work.
Turn the flywheel (left hand), watch the mechanism. Is there a
pattern forming here? You guessed it-two fingers on my left hand
Now my pride hurts. Not only are my fingertips gone, but I think
my wife is starting to doubt my abilities, as she insists on
visiting the garage almost hourly, to count my fingers. I’m not
accident prone or careless. I work construction and have operated
power tools and machinery all my life with only a couple of minor
injuries. I even read an article on safety in GEM. How could this
My son’s friend said it all when he said that I was turning
the flywheel just like I was starting my John Deere tractor
(nothing to catch your fingers on there). It told me that although
machines may have similar parts, they are different and require
different techniques and procedures. Look for dangerous areas and
On a happy note, all that turning and watching paid off, as my 4
HP Leader started on the third revolution (with the original hand
crank, of course) and still runs fine.
With this project completed and my fingers healing, I’m
looking forward to my next ‘safe’ encounter with another