Old Arco Powers Vintage Hardie Sprayer

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

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.

His collection of antique engines includes two Arcos in their
original condition, from which I took pictures of the decals to
have reproductions made. Those two Arcos have the decals on both
sides of the hopper tank, which is a question of authenticity as to
which side the decals belong both.

With everything together, a trip to Berryville, Virginia, was in
store to exhibit the sprayer in its new life. It made a neat
conversation piece, since the show is in the area of Winchester,
apple capital of Virginia. The response it received there made the
project worthwhile.

Thanks to friends and other gas engine restorers, this project
turned out to be beyond my first expectation, which makes this such
an enjoyable hobby. If anyone has an old model 99 Hardie two-piston
pump, I’m looking for a reserve parts pump to be able to keep
this one going.

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