1902 Cushman 1-1/2 HP

Cushman's 100th Anniversary Brings the Oldest Known Cushman to the 25th Camp Creek Threshers Show


| January/February 2002



HP 2-cycle Cushman

Jim Brown's 1902 1-1/2 HP 2-cycle Cushman, serial number 8. This engine is believed to be the oldest known Cushman in existence.

2001 was the 100th Anniversary of the Cushman Motor Works of Lincoln, Neb. To help celebrate the event, I was invited to bring 30 Cushman engines for a special display at the 25th Anniversary of the Camp Creek Threshers Show, July 20 and 21, 2001 in Waverly, Neb. The display featured what is believed to be the oldest known Cushman engine in existence, a 1-1/2 HP, 2-cycle horizontal engine bearing s/n 8 and a patent date of July 1, 1902. While the company was formed in 1901, it was incorporated in 1902, and the first patents were issued to Everett B. Cushman and his cousin Clinton Cushman in 1902. It is not clear how many, if any, engines were actually produced or sold in 1901.

When I received the 1902 engine it was mounted vertically, and was said to be a marine engine. However, based on the mounting bosses, the presence of a governor (minus some parts) and other features, it is clear this is a horizontal stationary engine, not a marine engine. The missing governor parts and base will be made using scaled down reproductions off of the 3 HP horizontal engine, s/n 158, patent date July 1, 1903, which I also displayed at the show.

The display at Camp Creek included an extensive array of ages, sizes, models and types of Cushman engines and equipment. Among the other older engines in the display were a 1905 2 HP, 2-cycle vertical marine Cushman with s/n 1766, and a 1906 4HP, 2-cycle vertical marine engine with s/n 2273.

Engine sizes ranged from the very early 1-1/2 HP, 2-cycle serial number 8, to the 20 HP, 2-cylinder, 4-cycle s/n 127 on its original cart, the largest farm/industrial engine made by Cushman. Also displayed were a 15 HP 2-cylinder, a 10 HP 2-cylinder and two 8 HP, 2-cylinder engines on unique, original carts with the 'CUSHMAN' name cast in the front bolster, one featuring magneto ignition and round cooling tank, the other having a battery/coil ignition and rectangular cooling tank.

Other unusual Cushmans in the display included two examples of the Model BB engine, which was designed and sold as either a vertical (Type V, 3 HP) or horizontal (Type H, 5 HP) engine using the same block/cylinder, head, internal parts and flywheels, but with the engine turned 90 degrees on the base.