1/4-scale model of the 5 HP Red Wing

| November/December 2004

Editor's note: This is part one of a planned four-part series. 

In the fall of 2002, I made it to my first tractor show. I expected to walk around for a few minutes and see some old tractors. If I was lucky, I might even see one or two that had been restored. There were a few old tractors as well as some beautiful restorations.

What I didn't expect to see were steam tractors and a sawmill - and an assortment of things called 'farm engines.' Before that day, I had no idea what a farm engine was. I was fascinated. I stood next to several of these old, massive chunks of metal. All of my worries drifted away as I watched the flywheels spin, the pistons slide and crankshafts rotate. The sound of the engines with their 'hit, miss, miss, miss, miss, hit' was almost hypnotic in its rhythm.

This was much more than a tractor show - it was history in action. I spent hours walking around enjoying myself as I made it from booth to booth. That's when I saw the most fascinating thing of all - it was a little gas engine that was barely a foot long. It looked just like the big ones with its flywheels and paint. That was just too cool in itself. When the owner gave the flywheel a spin, this little toy engine came to life. It really worked! I spent over an hour talking to the owner and watching this little working model. This engine was without a doubt the one thing that impressed me most. I enjoyed everything that day, but the thing I kept thinking about was that little model engine from the Red Wing Motor Co.

It took over a year before I was able to track down a source for the Red Wing model. I found it by getting my hands on a magazine I had not heard of before. It was called Gas Engine Magazine. Inside, I found an advertisement for what I was looking for. I drove to the Red Wing Motor Co., which is located about 75 miles north of Springfield, Mo. I spent a couple of hours talking with the owner, Vic Greenwood. He was able to give me a little history of where the idea for the model started.

Somewhere around 1996, a guy by the name of Jim Foster, from Minnesota, wanted a scale model of a 5 HP Red Wing stationary engine, so he made a set of scaled-down prints and casting molds. Others saw what Jim was doing and also wanted castings. There seemed to be a demand for this little model engine.