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Gilson Handy Hopper Comes out of Hiding

Author Photo
By Staff

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Mixer on Hanford Mills Museum's 3 HP Gilson is an 'upside down' Lunkenheimer, further proof of its early production. Note the engine's original skids, gas tank and battery box.
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Original shipping tags and operating instructions - complete with attaching strings -were found with the Gilson.

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:
www.hanfordmills.org

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines