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Old Arco Powers Vintage Hardie Sprayer

Arco's gas tank was rusting and causing trouble

| February/March 2001

  • Hardie Sprayer
    Summer 2000, sprayer complete.
  • Arco Engine
    2 HP Arco. Original owner Benny Twigg on the day it was started after four decades at rest.
  • Hardie Sprayer
    Another view of the sprayer complete in summer of 2000.
  • Arco Engine
    Summer of 1997. Benny Twigg's Arco the way we found it. Note: PR trip and PR mag.

  • Hardie Sprayer
  • Arco Engine
  • Hardie Sprayer
  • Arco Engine

13704 Uhl Highway S.E., Cumberland, Maryland 21502

In the summer of 1997 a friend and local farmer, Benny Twigg, showed me a 2 HP Arco engine, serial #291982, that he had covered with a piece of roofing tin in the woods. He took it off an old horse-drawn 100-gallon Hardie Sprayer he used 35 to 40 years ago in his orchard. He converted that spray-rig to a PTO drive since the Arco's gas tank was rusting and causing trouble. He asked me if I would be interested in restoring the Arco to running condition since he didn't have time.

With some tech help from Allen Shively and welding expertise from Jim Cogan, fellow engine restorers, I was able to get the Arco running again with just minor parts needed such as rings, springs, and mag tune-up. With some welding and brazing on the governor spindle housing and spindle shaft, Jim agreed to do his magic to take the excess play out so it could run true in line again. After blasting, priming and painting, it was ready for reassembly.

Allen made a new gas tank and tuned the mag. On the day it was ready to start, I bolted it to a utility trailer and took it to Benny to let him see it start for the first time in four decades. This Arco was built in 1923 with some interesting features: a Lunkenheimer mixer, PR trip system, and PR mag. I mounted it on a wooden skid for the first year of its rebirth, and took it to several shows with nothing for it to power, until a trip in the fall of 1999 to Martinsburg, West Virginia, with Allen to meet John Combs, another engine enthusiast. I discovered he had a small 50-gallon Hardie sprayer with a model 99 pump from the mid-40s era without an engine to power it. At last, it was like finding a missing piece to a puzzle. I was excited because it was just what I needed for the Arco. John said he thought it had a B&S on it, so I could modify (cut) the framework that I didn't need. He was kind enough to sell it to me very reasonably, and I promised I'd have it at the Berryville, Virginia, show in July 2000 for its debut.

With some work of cleaning and making the seats in the pump seal, Allen touched up this little job on his lathe. I prepared the pump casting and the wooden tank for paint. A new v-belt pulley system, stepped down for a 14' to 7' diameter on the pump and a 2' diameter pulley on the engine made the hit and miss work where the old B&S was. With Benny's past experience with the engine in its previous life we made the pump produce pressure.

Yet another trip, to bring back a large Galloway engine from Baltimore for Allen. We discovered the engine truck was just the right size to complete the sprayer rig. Allen had found an original Galloway cart, so he donated this wooden one for the project. With minor alteration to the wood, everything fit as if it was made for the truck. With help from a neighbor of John Combs in Martinsburg, Oscar Chapman, another orchard sprayer man, he fixed me up with an original spray gun wand and a pattern for the crank guard on the Arco engine. Oscar has a horse-drawn original 150 gallon Domestic spray rig which dates back to the 1920s, to which he has detailed history from when it was new. He also gave me an antique 10' wooden tree-pruner to ride along with the sprayer.


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