A Rare Engine


| April/May 2001



Dirigo engine

P.O. Box 6, Wilmington, Vermont 05363; e-mail gwrowl@pocketnail.com

Permission to write this article was granted only with a solemn promise that the owner's name or location of the engine would not be revealed.

The owner is the third generation owner of a machine and welding shop. Due to the antiquity of some of the machinery still used, with open, flat belt drives that do not comply with modern OSHA and insurance regulations, the owner cannot employ any assistants.

Although the most friendly and congenial person one could hope to meet, he cannot spend time showing the engine and visiting with those that would come to see it, and continue the family reputation of quality workmanship at affordable prices. The shop is a marvelous place to have parts made and repaired to keep old engines running.

The engine is a Dirigo, made by the American Gas Engine Company, of Portland, Maine. C. H. Wendel's book, American Gasoline Engines Since 1872, on page 24, devotes less than a quarter page to this company. There is a picture of a Dirigo engine, and the following caption: 'American Gas Engine Company operated the Dirigo Engine & Machine Works at Portland. Incorporated in 1902, the company built vertical engines up to 16 horsepower under the Dirigo name. Eight sizes were built, beginning with the 1 horsepower model. Dirigo engines featured make-and-break ignition. Another feature of this early style was a fuel tank built into the base, eliminating the need for a separate fuel tank and piping. Each engine carried a two year unconditional guarantee.'

Obviously, little is known about this company today.