Stories of Gas Engines and Homestead Memories

By Staff
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Stories of gas engines and homestead memories.

Kitty shares with readers stories of gas engines and homestead memories.

It’s too darn cold here for me. We’re having worse winter weather than we’ve had yet. Of course, I’m just spoiled by the nice days we’ve had up until now.

Here are some stories of gas engines and a few homestead memories I’d like to share with readers.

John Wilcox of Columbus, Ohio is in the process of putting together an article on the Hornsby-Akroyd oil engine to send to us for the GEM. Any of you who are particularly interested in this engine, keep your eye open for the next few issues. Mr. Norman Vince, Wood Farm, Bawdes-well, East Dereham, Norfolk, England tells me that he has recently purchased a Centaur tractor which was made in the U.S.A. It is very small with a twin cylinder engine. He wants to know if any of our experts could tell him anything of the firms history or date of tractor. It would appear to date from the early twenties.

In a letter from Nobert Lucht of Athens, Illinois we find a request for information on several makes of tractors no longer being manufactured today. The Wisconsin Farm Tractor Co. in Sauk City, Wis. was one of them. Another is the Lauson, made in New Holstein, Wisconsin. They built a 6 cylinder tractor as early as 1929. One tractor that has always interested Mr. Lucht is the Rumely “6”. He would like to correspond with anyone who has worked with any of these tractors or has any literature on them. During the past 20 years, Mr. Lucht has been collecting literature on tractors and has had many contacts with public relations departments of the major tractor manufacturers, diesel engine firms and builders of road building equipment. I’m sure there are many of you who would like to contact him, and I’m hoping that he’ll send some of his valuable collection in for printing in the Gas Engine Magazine.

Mr. Paul Spearing of Baxter, Iowa and his son have 21 gas engines in their collection. They have, what they feel, is a rare one. (They’ve never seen any like it at any of the engine shows). It is a horizontal Monitor, 5 hp engine and is in perfect shape. In fact he’s using it this winter for sawing wood.

Jack Beamish of Hamiota, Manitoba, Canada is one of our teenage readers. He says that he really enjoys the helpful hints and the stories of the problems and predicaments that men got into when old gas and steam engines were king. His collection of gas engines range from a 1/2 hp to a 6 hp The last engine he got was a 60 hp Holt cat, 1928 model, 71/2 inch bore, 9 inch stroke, 4 cylinder and weighs 12 tons. He and a friend pulled it out of the ground where it had settled 6 or 7 inches and dragged it home with an International SMD and a Case 400. We certainly enjoy hearing from this group of readers. Mr. William Green of Rushsylvania, Ohio is for keeping the younger set interested in this hobby, too. He tells us this story. “Last summer at our show at Urbana, Ohio, a lad of about 14 or 15 walked up to me and said, Mister, do you know much about these things? We were looking at a 11/2 horse gas engine run backwards or anti-clockwise. And I said, yes, a little, and he said do they have a piston in them, and from there on it was a big story, so I think these little engines ought to have more explanation about them, if possible, and maybe I’ll just leave my 11/2 hp IHC torn down and clean it up and take it to some shows just so some of these lads can see what’s in them”. Mr. Green is also for the older set. He believes that these shows should let every person over 70 yrs. old in free of expense at the gate. We also had a nice letter from 12 year old Charles Nicholas of Kinsman, Ohio telling us about his collection.

Reese Dague of the Dague Repair Shop in Newman, Illinois has 1 International Engine. It’s an upright engine, water cooled. 24 in. flywheels. It has “Famous Pumping Engine manufactured by Int’I. Harvester Co., Chicago, Ill.” on the name plate. This engine has been changed to an air compressor and has been used since 1918 or earlier. Reese would like to know if any parts would be available to change back to an engine. He also has an upright engine put out by the Detroit Engine Works. It’s 2 cycle, fuel injection, 22 in. high, and 16 in. fly wheels. It will run clockwise or counter clockwise, has a big brass sight feed oiler with 2 controls, the injector is brass, the air control valve on the crank case is brass. Has a 15 gal. water tank. Patented in 1909. He would like to know more about the fuel injector and how it works as the engine doesn’t hit steadily. Any of you readers having any information on these two engines, I’m sure Mr. Dague would like to correspond with you.

Mr. Ray Fischer of Aitkin, Minnesota wants to know if anyone knows anything about or has an upright MacKadden 3 hp He believes it was manufactured at St. Cloud, Minn. Mr. Daryl McCready of Kensett, Iowa would like to see more pictures and articles on the old double-fly-wheels. He also would like to see a catalog with a picture, resume, color of paint, striping details of decals, etc. of each different type of engine made by different manufactures. He believes there would be about 300 of them. If anyone would like to accept his challenge and compile such a book, we’ll consider publishing it.

Here’s a little story from A. B. Stauffer, Penna. that I thought you might like to read.

“A boy of about 7 years old with a ‘gun’ I had made to shoot jar gums that mother would let me have that were too stretched to use in canning. One occasion I well remembered. Dad and my (10 year older than I) brother were building a chicken house and as they mixed cement for the floor, I was tempted to play in the mud (fresh cement). I was occasionally shooed away but made the mistake of shooting my treasured jar gum into the mud where my brother had just emptied the wheelbarrow. Before I could retrieve it, my treasure was promptly covered with an extra shovel of concrete; a very sad calamity of me. Brotherly love? At 21 years of age, I rented the farm from Dad and have been there for some 27 years. We have 14 children — 6 boys who are very much interested in our engine and tractor collection. Well, we needed a home or (machine shop) for these engines. Last summer we decided that rather than let this (now some 40 years old) chicken house fall down, we would remodel it. This plan called for a new floor which meant breaking up the now very brittle and weak old floor. As my two sons, 17 & 19 years old, were helping, the memory came back when this floor was put in. Swinging the maul and evening or leveling off for the ready mix truck suddenly my attention was drawn back to my work for there in front of me just about 2 feet farther south than I would have guessed was my treasured jar gum. Kitty, I feel silly just trying to explain my feelings, though maybe some old chap will understand. Our engines are now arranged on the new concrete floor and there, nailed to a joist in a plastic protecting is my ‘treasure’ with a notation back ground”.

Many thanks to Mr. Stauffer. We’re wishing you all good health and much happiness until next time.

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