1899 Industrial Iron Works

By Staff
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Ted tends to the 2-1/2 HP Industrial Iron Works.
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'Upside down' Lunkenheimer carburetor on the 2-1/2 HP Industrial Iron Works.
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Close up of five of the six, matched Lunkenheimer Sentinel oilers.

Total Output of the ‘Missouri Engine’ was Around 500
This 2-1/2 HP is One of Only Five Known Survivors

Ted Brookover’s circa 1899 2-1/2 HP Industrial Iron Works,
Shop No. 414, one of five known. His father, Calvin, owns a
surviving 7 HP sideshaft engine. Three others, including a 3 HP, 5
HP and 16 HP, are in the hands of collectors in Missouri and
Nebraska. Engine production from the company appears to have
started around 1898 and ended 13 years later, in 1911.

In 1975 old iron was still pretty plentiful, and pretty cheap.
Old Fairbanks-Morse Model Zs or IHC Model Ms could be picked up for
a song, so when Ted Brookover and his dad, Calvin, paid $1,000 for
an engine most people had never even heard of, people in the hobby
thought they were crazy. ‘Everybody thought we were insane,
they said we were going to ruin the hobby,’ Ted says. ‘But,
it’s the only one of its kind, how do you put a price on

Good question, and while there are probably as many answers as
there are collectors, for Ted there’s no question the engine he
and his dad paid so much for so long ago was worth the price.
Estimated to have been built some time around 1899, Ted’s 2-1/2
HP Industrial Iron Works is one of only five known surviving
engines made by the Clinton, Mo., firm, and it’s the only
surviving 2-1/2 HP.

Ted and his dad got into the old iron hobby in the early 1970s,
not long before purchasing this engine, and it was through an
encounter with Rolly Hines of Clinton, Mo., that they first learned
of the Industrial Iron Works company. At the time, Rolly owned the
sole surviving Industrial Iron Works 16 HP engine, a tank-cooled,
sideshaft engine. Rolly knew of another Industrial Iron Works
engine believed at the time to be in Independence, Kan., but that
was all.

Not long after meeting Rolly, Calvin, looking to buy a steam
engine, happened to be talking with Bill Barnes, proprietor of Old
Bill’s Museum in Liberty, Mo. A retired TWA pilot and
collector, Bill’s museum featured old farm equipment, a gun
said to have belonged to Jesse James, cars, tractors, toys – and
some engines.

Bill told Calvin he might sell one of his engines, so Calvin and
Ted went to Liberty to see what they could find. What they found,
of course, was the engine you see here.

Pulley side of engine with belt-drive, brass-geared water pump
visible at bottom center. The brass fuel tank was originally
destined to be cold water piping for the U.S.S. Enterprise’s
nuclear reactor.

Ted’s had this engine for 27 years, but it’s not just a
show piece. Ted built the igniter from a raw casting he had made,
and since then he estimates it’s tripped over 350,000 times.
Ted rebuilt the igniter for the first time last year.

The Engine

When Ted bought the Industrial Iron Works it was incomplete, not
running and, to be fair, a bit cobbled up. ‘It was a block, two
flywheels, and the head and valves. All the peripherals were
missing. There was no water pump, it had a natural gas carb on it
and an Eisemann four-cylinder tractor mag with all four wires
twisted together into one,’ Ted says.

Even so, Ted was able to get the engine running once he got it
home, and a subsequent tear-down revealed the engine to be in good
shape. Inspection of the bearings showed them to be fine, the
piston was removed, inspected and put back in, and the valves were
lapped to ensure good compression. But getting the engine back to
its original state took a number of years. First up was the natural
gas carburetor, which Ted was able to replace with, very possibly,
the original carburetor from this engine. How he got the carburetor
is a story in itself.

‘Upside Down’ Lunkenheimer

The spring after buying the 2-1/2 HP engine, Ted and Calvin were
driving through Tightwad, Mo., when they spied a pair of flywheels
sitting in the overgrowth just off the road. Turning around to
investigate, they discovered the flywheels were connected to a 7
HP, hopper-cooled, sideshaft Industrial Iron Works engine on a
factory buzz saw rig. And it was for sale.

Ted and Calvin bought the 7 HP engine, and the owner told them
he had at one time owned a number of Industrial Iron Works engines,
saying he had scrapped at least six of the smaller ones during the
scrap drives of WW II. Ted remembers him telling them he scrapped
everything but the brass.

Later that same year, the man who sold them the 7 HP passed
away, and at his estate auction Ted discovered six early
‘upside down’ Lunkenheimer brass carbs. The flutter valve
on these Lunkenheimers is, by design, at the top of the unit, but
on first-generation models the Lunkenheimer name appears upside
down when the carburetor is mounted. This was changed on
second-generation models so the name would appear right side

Close up of cylinder head showing valve arrangement, igniter and
igniter trip mechanism. Note Ted’s ‘spark saver’
modification, in which the rod responsible for holding tension on
the intake during over-run also lifts the igniter trip to interrupt
spark to the engine.

Close up shot of the Phanstiehl magneto on the Industrial Iron
Works engine. Although not original to this engine, Ted says this
magneto is ‘era correct.’

Ted bid successfully for one of these, and he believes it’s
possible it came off one of the engines the man scrapped during WW
II. ‘There’s a good chance this carb came off of one of
those, so it could be original. There’s every chance this came
off, if not this engine, one just like it,’ Ted says.

The igniter is another interesting story. When Ted bought this
engine the igniter was missing and an adapter plate with a spark
plug had been installed in its place. After Ted and his dad bought
the 7 HP engine they discovered it apparently used an identical
igniter, as it fit the 2-1/2 HP engine perfectly. Using the 7 HP
igniter as a pattern, Ted made a mold and then had his own casting
made, machining the final piece from there. That was in 1975, and
just last year Ted rebuilt the igniter for the first time. In the
interval, Ted estimates it has been tripped around 350,000 times.
‘It deserved to be rebuilt,’ Ted says.

The cooling tank is a cut-down water tank that came with the
engine, and Ted fabricated the screen cooler. The brass gas tank
was originally scrap, salvaged from the scrap pile at the Newport
News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Newport News, Va., by Ted’s
grandfather sometime around 1960 when he was working on the U.S.S.
Enterprise’s construction. The brass tank, originally designed
to be part of the cold water piping for the U.S.S. Enterprise’s
nuclear reactor, is 4.25-inches in diameter and has a wall
thickness of 1/2-inch with top and bottom plates 1/8-inch

The Industrial Iron Works logo as interpreted by Ted Brookover.
With no surviving company literature, Ted designed a logo he felt
fit the company’s products.

It’s interesting to note that this engine is equipped with
hot tube ignition capability. Ted thinks it was set up this way to
allow the operator to conserve on battery or magneto power when
needed. He notes the magneto appears to have originally been
mounted so it could be pivoted out of the way when running hot tube

Ted didn’t install a magneto until 1998, when he sourced the
pre-1908 Phanstiehl low-tension magneto currently sparking the
engine. ‘It was merely a function of taking that long to find a
mag I was comfortable with,’ Ted says. ‘This one is close
enough in era that I’m comfortable with it on the

That desire to be era correct has driven Ted’s restoration
of this engine. The brass-geared water pump, for example, ‘may
or may not be correct,’ Ted says, but it is era correct. The
same goes for the six, matched Lunkenheimer Sentinel oilers, which
Ted says were probably built in the teens.

In fact, about the only thing Ted can’t pin down as being
correct is the Industrial Iron Works logo he fashioned for the
cooling tank. That item, he says, is simply his interpretation of
the company and how he imagines they might have fashioned a

With no surviving factory literature it’s possible we’ll
never know any more about the company, but thanks to Ted’s
careful restoration of this surviving 2-1/4 HP engine we have a
running, working legacy of the Industrial Iron Works.

Richard Backus is editor of Gas Engine Magazine. Contact
engine enthusiast Ted Brookover at: 4801 E. Red Bridge Rd., Kansas
City, MO 64137, or e-mail at: ignitors@earthlink.net

Industrial Iron Works, Clinton, Missouri

Industrial Iron Works was in business at least by 1896, building
ore cars, carts, track and other mining-related equipment for
Peabody Coal Co.’s coal mining operations outside of Clinton,

When the coal ran out Industrial Iron Works shifted production
to satisfy the light industrial and agricultural markets,
manufacturing hay rakes, balers and engines. Engine production
started around 1898, and indications are the company prospered in
its new capacity for a few years, building perhaps 30 to 40 engines
a year along side its other offerings. Engines ranging from 2 HP to
20 HP were built.

Unfortunately, Industrial Iron Works was one of the casualties
of an increasingly competitive market, and in 1911 the company went
into receivership. After a fire in 1913 destroyed its foundry,
Industrial Iron Works ceased operations. It would appear the last
‘Missouri Engine,’ as they were known in their time, was
built in 1911.

The engine featured here carries Shop No. 414. The number refers
to the engine’s order in line in the production of any number
of items coming from Industrial Iron Works. It’s possible, for
example, that Shop No. 413 was a hay rake and Shop No. 415 a

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