NOS Joseph Reid Engine


| March/April 1988



Reid engine

'Before', the Reid engine in Longview, Texas.

5475 Prue Road #1, San Antonio, Texas 78240.

This all started back in October 1986 at the Speegleville,. Texas gas engine show where I was watching Darwin 'Monk' Ivicic start his big engine, and wondering what it would be like to own one of these big machines. I was attending the show with my friend, Reagan Smith, who would later help me get the Reid up and home to San Antonio, Texas. Monk had a display set up with his engine, showing pictures he had taken of their Reid, asking 'what if?' with a For Sale sign on it. I picked up a card, not really knowing if I would ever be able to afford the Reid. From that show in October, up until January 1987, I thought about the engine. Finally, I decided to write to Monk and inquire about buying the Reid. To my surprise, Monk didn't have the engine at his house. It was in Longview, Texas, about 370 miles from San Antonio. My wife, Renate, and I were going to take a little vacation one weekend and go to the First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas, so we scheduled a little 100 mile detour to see if we could find the Reid in Longview. Monk said the engine was about six miles out Highway 300 on the left, in an old tin barn next to a butane tank. He was right on the mark with the directions, because we had no trouble finding it, surprising us both. I wondered why no one else had found it before now. I took a few pictures and then headed back to San Antonio. This old engine was just what I had been searching for. The original machine, still in the field, in almost new condition with very little missing.

On another weekend my wife and I drove by Monk's house in Holland, Texas to see his engines and to get serious about working out some sort of deal on the Reid. After settling on the price, we agreed that the engine would transfer ownership when I got it up and off of the property and onto Highway 300. Until then, if anyone should come around asking questions, I was 'working' for him. He had contacted the oil leasing company in Oklahoma and had the necessary papers, but they were in his name. I didn't tell Renate that her 'egg money' was gone, but she knows me and wasn't too thrilled with the idea of owning the Reid. Something about two kids in college and things being a little tight. But, after about a month or so it blew over. I guess she didn't really understand what kind of effect this rusty old iron stuff had on an old Operating Engineer like myself. Also, to our surprise this engine was four miles from Judson, Texas. We didn't even know this town existed until we took a wrong turn while searching for the Reid. The 'town' has one cemetery, one house, one garage, and one church. The church had a sign in the front stating that Judson had been established in 1883. We, like typical tourists, took pictures of ourselves in front of it for the memory book I intended to keep on this engine's recovery.

The next month I talked our friends Mr. and Mrs. Reagan Smith into going to the First Monday's Trade Days and to drive over to Longview to see my engine. The gauger who had managed the oil field told Monk he had helped install the Reid back in 1929 or 1930, he wasn't sure, and that they had never run the engine. The oil field shut down during the Depression and when it reopened, they used electric motors to pump the oil. Electric motors were cheaper and ran the wells more efficiently. There were two wells near the Reid that were still operating, both drilled to a depth of 3500 feet.

The old tin barn had protected the engine over the years, but two pieces of tin had blown off of the roof directly above the crank case several years earlier. When I pulled the crank case drain plug about fifty-five gallons of water flowed out. The cover had a very small rust hole in the top- but I'm getting ahead of my story.

After a couple of weeks of convincing Renate what a good addition this engine would make to our collection (which only consisted of a 1? Monitor and a 2 HP Eclipse vertical), and that we needed the horizontal engine to round things out, she reluctantly resigned herself to the idea. We started the necessary planning to get this baby home.