Western Classics

EDGE & TA 2002 Southwest Regional Show Brings Out


| September/October 2002



Hercules engine

A 12 HP Fairbanks-Morse sectionalized engine of 1900, owned by the Henningsen family of Salinas, Calif. Designed with mine work in mind, these engines could be broken down into sections for transport by pack animal. No piece weighs more than 300 pounds. Note the numbered bolt and flange in the smaller photo - the entire engine is indexed for assembly.

A 12 HP Fairbanks-Morse sectionalized engine of 1900, owned by the Henningsen family of Salinas, Calif. Designed with mine work in mind, these engines could be broken down into sections for transport by pack animal. No piece weighs more than 300 pounds. Note the numbered bolt and flange in the smaller photo - the entire engine is indexed for assembly.

Carl Mehr, Penn Valley, Calif., brought this incredible 4 HP Brown-Cochran, serial number 718. Built by Brown-Cochran Co., Lorain, Ohio, some time in the late 1890s, it was originally sold by E.B. Beck & Co. of San Francisco, Calif., and has spent its life on the West Coast.

Old iron varies from one region of the country to another, a situation created by agriculture and industry adapting to different needs and uses. The bulk of Gas Engine Magazine readers live east of California's Sierra Nevada Mountains, and as such most of us never get a chance to see the engines built and set to work along the West Coast of the U.S. But those lucky enough to make the trek this past July 7-9 to the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, Calif., for the EDGE & TA Southwest Regional Show were treated to one of the most fantastic collection of engines ever to assemble anywhere.

Gas Engines

Back in the February 2002 issue of GEM, we ran an article on Mike Tyler's 1905 7 HP Western, one of six known 7 HP survivors. Of those six, three made the trip to Grass Valley, including Mike's 1905, Bill Peterson's 1907 and Ed Cooksey's 1908.

All told, there were eight different Western engines on hand, ranging from the three 7 HP models up to Jim Clayton's 60 HP Western, a single-cylinder giant that started its working life in California's Taft oil fields. In fact, Western engines were so well represented you could be excused for thinking of them as commonplace. They're not, of course, but since few Westerns were shipped outside of California, surviving Westerns have stayed in a relatively close geographic area.