Mietz and Weiss 2-1/2 HP


| March/April 2002



Mietz and Weiss wheels and barrel

Once a Duty Engine at a Soda Factory, Mietz and Weiss Serial Number 7507 is Back in Form - and in the States - After 85 Years in the Caribbean

The 2-1/2 HP Mietz and Weiss flywheel engine featured here found its way to the Brow Soda factory at 65-66 King St., Frederiksted, St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands, in 1910. Mr. C.R.T. Brow, the owner of the soda factory, purchased the engine that same year while he was visiting New York City, and it arrived in St. Croix after being shipped via a steamer from New York. This engine is believed to have been built some time around 1906 to 1907.

As a young boy growing up in St. Croix in the 1930s, I vividly remember this engine turning the belt-driven carbonator and bottler of the Brow Soda factory while blowing exhaust smoke rings into the trees above the roof. Government rationing of sugar during WW II caused the Brow Soda factory to shut down, but at some point Richard Berg removed the well-worn engine from the factory grounds. Richard, known by his best friends as 'Buddy,' was a local collector of antique engines, and a close friend of mine growing up in Frederiksted. Buddy took the engine to his country home on the north side of the island, placing it under a tamarind tree

In his front yard where the flywheel spokes served as a tie-down for his watchdog. It performed well in this capacity until after Buddy's death in 1993.

After years of neglect, this circa 1906 Mietz and Weiss is back in form. Mietz and Weiss engines were built in New York, N.Y., and the company is credited with building the first oil engine in the U.S.

The Mietz and Weiss as it arrived in the states after 85 years in St. Croix. Customs officials initially thought it was an antique cannon because of its 'barrel' and 'wheels.'