A Family Heirloom

| June/July 1996

  • Galloway Engine

  • Galloway Engine

1606 Exeter Road Westminster, Maryland 21157

I remember I was about ten years old the first time I saw the old Galloway saw rig. It was sitting in a dark corner of my grandfather's barn, the other half of which enclosed a spring where he and his father before him, operated a spring water business. The farm is located just outside of Richmond, Virginia, and it is here that the saw rig did its work. My great-grandfather moved his family to Richmond from Owego, New York, in 1917, but I believe the saw rig was purchased after they arrived. The majority of the logs it cut were probably used as firewood on the farm. Anyway, as I said, the first time I saw the rig was about twenty-eight years ago. It was dirty, covered with dust, oil and grease. I asked my grandfather what it was, and he said that it was an old gasoline engine that didn't work anymore. So that was it. In my young mind it was forgotten.

In 1993 while visiting the Mason Dixon Historical Society Show in Westminster, Maryland, where I live, I saw a seven horsepower Galloway engine that looked very familiar. My memories came back of that old engine in the barn. I made plans to take a closer look at the old saw rig on my next visit to Richmond. My grandfather passed away in 1987, so my sister and her husband live on the farm now with my grandmother. Upon seeing the old saw rig again, I know I've been bitten by the 'gas engine bug.' Sure, I'd seen it now and again over the years, but to my great sorrow, I never paid much attention to it, nor asked my grandfather any more about it while he was still alive. But now I knew I had to do something about it. I had to restore it! So I looked closer.

It all seemed to be there with the only problem being a stuck piston. But every thing else seemed complete, even down to the trip lever on the Webster magneto. The brass Galloway nameplate read serial number 46964, 7 HP.

The next problem was getting it back home where I could begin the task of restoration. So in the spring of 1994, with the help of my brother-in-law and his tractor, the saw rig was pulled out of the barn and onto a rented U-Haul trailer for the trip home to my garage and sixteen months of disassembly, cleaning, stripping, sandblasting, priming, painting, and assembling. I sent a query to Mr. Wendel's Reflections column for advice on painting and pin striping as well as researching in his American Gasoline Engines book and various other Galloway pamphlets purchased at the shows.

As the project progressed, everything seemed to fall into place. This was the first time I had tackled anything of this magnitude, but as it turned out, it appeared that my grandfather and great-grandfather took very good care of the engine and saw rig during their life-times. The only rust that I could find was on the old iron wheels and a slight amount in the cylinder which was remedied with a little bit of honing. The piston came free with a few taps on its head with a 4x4 piece of wood and a mallet. The rings were in very good shape, so they were removed without breaking, cleaned, and then put back on, again without breaking (just lucky I guess). The Babbitt bearings also seemed to be in very good condition, so I surmised that my grandfather repaired them just before he retired the engine. The valves were somewhat worn how-ever, so I took the head and valves to the local machine shop where they ground the valves and installed new guides. Another problem I discovered was that the flywheels were not identical. One was slightly larger than the other. At first I thought it was just to compensate for the clutch pulley, but I later found out from my uncle (who helped my grandfather saw wood with it), that one flywheel had been replaced around 1945 to 1946. It seems that one of them had developed a crack, so my grandfather went to the junkyard for a replacement. He couldn't find a Gallo-way wheel, so he got one that was close. Unfortunately, it wasn't keyed the same so the balance was off. According to my uncle, this was when the engine was retired. He said that after putting the replacement flywheel on, it ran so off-balance that it nearly shook itself to pieces. My uncle couldn't remember which flywheel was replaced, and I couldn't figure it out either because one had a part number cast in it that said G739 (I thought the G was for Gallo-way), and the other looked like the wheels on another 7 HP Galloway I had seen. However, whether it was just luck or a little help from my late grandfather, I happened to order some back issues of GEM and on the cover of the July 1987 issue I happened to notice a picture of an International Famous engine owned by a man not far from where I live, and on this engine was a flywheel that looked exactly like the one with the casting number on it. So I took a chance and looked up the fellow's name in the local phone book and called him. Lo and behold! He said that my flywheel was from a 4 HP International as the 'G 739' was an International part number. So the mystery was solved. Whether or not the engine would run okay at a slow speed remained to be seen.


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