Update On A 'Cover Girl'


| September/October 2001



Samson gas engine

Frank Ferguson of P.O. Box 67, Forest Ranch, CA 95942

Frank Ferguson

E-Mail address: mpmurph@cooper-energy-services. com

I thought you might want some additional history on the engine that appears on the cover of the 2001 Steam and Gas Engine Show Directory.

Back in 1991, Chris Eby of Paradise, Pennsylvania, introduced me to a Mennonite farmer from Lancaster County who had an old single-cylinder diesel engine sitting in the woods on his farm. He was interested in selling it, and as a collector of diesel engines, Chris thought that I would be interested in the engine.

Sent this photo of an 8 HP Samson gas (or distillate) engine, built circa 1902, fitted with a vertical governor and belt driven. The engine worked in California Gold Country.

I met the farmer at the Rough and Tumble Reunion in '91, and we drove out to his farm from the show grounds to look at the engine. When we finally arrived where the engine sat, it was obvious that the elements had had their way with the old thing for many years. Supposedly, the engine had been used in a fishing boat on the Chesapeake Bay many years ago, but upon closer inspection I noticed degree marks on the flywheel. The engine was obviously a Caterpillar, as I recognized the remains of the injection equipment and the valve cover. Being a single-cylinder engine with the degree scale on the flywheel, and having injection equipment (the fueling cam, etc.) and dainty levers exposed precariously to the elements, I knew it had to be a laboratory engine.

Unfortunately, the piston and rod were missing, and many of the components on the exterior of the engine were damaged or severely weathered. Well, I thought I could give it a better home and at least get it out of the weather, so I made a deal with the farmer and bought the old Caterpillar engine. Chris Eby moved it to Coolspring during the fall show in '91, where it sat until a few years ago.