Gilson Handy Hopper Comes out of Hiding

Hanford Mills Museum Pulls a Rare Gilson from Storage

| November/December 2002

This Handy Hopper Gilson is in the collection of Hanford Mills Museum, East Meredith, MY. It had been in storage for quite a while, but it was recently moved to get it operational and to display it at the museum's Antique Engine Jamboree.

The pictures reveal a very original, untouched engine. Its thick brass identification plate notes it is a 3 HP, serial number 693, made in Port Washington, Wis., making it a very early hopper-cooled horizontal Gilson. There are several lightly stuck parts that need to be freed up to bring the engine back to running condition, and it needs the general maintenance any engine requires after sitting for many years.

The original skids are quite weak and the top of the original gas tank is rusted away, but enough of both survive that they can be used as patterns for replication. The battery box still has the original starting instructions inside the lid, along with a Simplex buzz coil and cloth-covered ignition wire. It even has several of the original shipping and information tags that were shipped with the engine to its first owners - complete with their attaching strings! These are usually long since discarded or have become dinner for the mice.

This engine appears to have most of its green paint, which will just be cleaned and preserved. The engine is not worn out and no repairs to any of the castings have been found, points that lead the museum to believe it was never used extensively.

The Hanford Mill Museum strives to maintain authenticity and originality in all of its collections and restorations. This engine is a nice, rare, early example of a seldom seen engine in this area and certainly complements the collection of antique engines owned by Hanford Mills Museum.

Contact the Hanford Mills Museum at: P.O. Box 99, East Meredith, NY 13757, (800) 295-4992, or on the Web at: