A Little Piece of Paper Can Be So Important!

By Staff
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383 Catherine Street W. Arthur, Ontario, Canada N0G IA0

Most of you have probably had this happen to you. Someone hands
you a piece of paper with a phone number on it and tells you that
this guy might have a gas engine for sale. Unfortunately, you are
busy with something else or simply don’t have any spare money
at the time. You simply tuck the paper in your wallet and forget
about it.

In the spring of 1995 I was trying to finish restoring my 1946
John Deere unstyled AR and I had just purchased a 1917
Fairbanks-Morse Z 1 HP engine. I was just short of broke, and about
as pushed for time as anyone could be.

When my friend, Clarence McDougal, handed me this slip of paper,
I tucked it in my wallet and hoped that at some point I would have
the money and time, and that something would still be there at the
end of all this. Then I promptly forgot about it.

Spring and summer passed with the tractor being finished with
two whole days to spare before the first show for it. I turned my
attention to the Fairbanks-Morse Z and, because it was a
straightforward restoration, I had it pretty much finished by

Sooner or later we all have to do that job of cleaning out our
wallet and trying to remember what all those little pieces of paper
were for, why we saved them in the first place, and which ones we
should keep. When I pulled that slip of paper out, I vaguely
remembered that it had something to do with a gas engine. I
immediately called and got the gentleman’s wife on the phone. I
told her that I had heard that her husband might have a gas engine
for sale. ‘You bet he does,’ she exclaimed, at which I
laughed and told her I would call back that evening when her
husband was home. When I called back later, he confirmed that he
had a 2 HP Goold, Shapley & Muir for sale, and at a price that
I could actually afford. Because GSM engines were Canadian, having
been built in Brantford, Ontario, and because they had an
outstanding reputation for dependability, we had always wanted an
example to add to our collection. We currently have several gas
engines including a Canadian Beaver marine engine, as well as one
John Deere tractor and two antique cars.

In no time at all, I was dragging this engine across the floor
from the corner of the horse barn where it had been sitting for the
past several years. After getting it home, I started going over it
to see what all was wrong with it. It was free but extremely tight
through the bottom half of the stroke. So tight in fact, that it
took all my strength to pull it through. I recalled that the
previous owner had told me that he had put a ‘couple’ of
rings in it. After pulling the head and ‘admiring’ the head
gasket made out of duct tape, the piston was pulled and found to
contain only two out of three rings with the middle groove left
empty. The bottom ring came out in five pieces The entire engine
was then taken apart and the real work of cleaning began. Two weeks
were spent on just cleaning up the block. It was covered in old
grease and oil, and the hopper was full of grease, straw, oats and
all kinds of parts from God knows what. The only interesting things
that I found in the hopper were the cap for the oiler and a casting
star. I think the hopper became a convenient garbage can when
passed by. Someone had welded one of the crank caps while it was
still on the engine, which had pretty much wrecked the bearing, so
a new set had to be poured by a retired machinist friend of mine,
Howard Haines. The magneto had to be rebuilt and charged and a
complete set of new rings installed. Getting the remains of the
broken oiler out of the oiler tube was not as bad as I expected. A
new set of oak skids had to be made to replace the old two by fours
that were bolted to the engine when I got it. A funny thing about
those old boards happened while I was moving it around on the
bench. We had slid the engine through the barn and lifted it onto
my truck, unloaded it, and then put it on the bench using those
boards. When I attempted to move it on the bench, one of them broke
off in my hand! Talk about good timing! Because of the weight of
the engine, I mounted it on cast iron wheels to make moving it
around easier.

After painting and reassembly, I attempted to start the engine
with no success. Part of the problem was that this is my first
ignitor-fired engine. My previous restorations had all been spark
plug ignition. That is just the way it had worked out. After much
frustration and a lot of tinkering around, we found out that there
was no spark. We then bypassed the mag with a battery and coil and
the engine started immediately. Now it wanted to run away. I
finally had to make a new butterfly to replace the crude one that
someone in the past had put in. After some more work on the magneto
and many more adjustments, the engine was running smoothly. At
least I hope it is running right, because I have never heard
another type K running.

It was running just in time for the Blyth Steam Show in Blyth,
Ontario. Unfortunately, most of the weekend was rained out so the
engine only got about four or five hours of running. It did,
however, get a lot of compliments on the appearance and running, so
I was quite pleased.

As I mentioned earlier, the engine is a 2 HP Goold, Shapley
& Muir. These engines were also known as the Type K Brantford
kerosene engines. They were also built in four and seven horsepower
and were throttle governed with a Webster magneto. In 1920, the two
horsepower sold for $87 Canadian.

I would like to thank my father, Peter Denman, for his help and
support, as well as Howard Haines and Tim Curtis for their advice
and help. Thanks also go to Clarence for that little slip of paper.
Currently, I am working on a 1 HP Ontario Wind Engine, and then
there is that 2 HP Mogul that I have to figure out what I am going
to do with.

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