Gas Engine Magazine

A Small Australian Collection

By Staff

Livingstone 6 Hill Stree t Leichhardt 2040 NSW Australia
pml@bigpond. com

I have been collecting engines since I was 10 years old, and as
with most collectors, my collection has grown and shrunk a number
of times. My engines were stored for 12 years due to university,
work, and moving to the city, until last year when I came across
the ATIS engine list on the Internet. My enthusiasm was restored
and my engines started to be uncovered and brought back into the
world. In the last year I have gone to a number of shows, joined a
club (Sydney Antique Machinery Club), and bought and restored more
engines. I have a mix of U.S., Canadian, Australian, and English
engines, Some of which I will talk about in this article.

My first engine was bought at an auction for $7.00. It is a
Fairbanks-Morse No.1 Eclipse, engine no. A5093 and is still my
favorite engine. As far as I have been able to discover, this
engine was probably built fairly early in the production run, as it
has a number of features different from later engines. The most
notable difference is that the engine does not have
‘Fairbanks-Morse’ or ‘1’ cast on the barrel of the
engine, as most seem to have. I have an original 1914 catalogue for
the Eclipse engines, which shows both versions of this casting. The
photos show the earlier type with just ‘Eclipse’ cast on
the barrel, while the diagrams show the barrel with
‘Fairbanks-Morse’ cast on it. According to the catalog, the
No.1 Eclipse without pumpjack has a shipping weight of 185 pounds
and has a 14′ flywheel.

My Eclipse never seems to have had a pumpjack attached and as I
bought it from an old dairy, I presume it had been used to power
various dairy machines.

You will note in the photo that it has a magneto. All the
Australian Eclipses I have seen have magnetos attached. My engine
has an early Bosch driven by a chain off the crankshaft. The
magneto sits on a plate bolted to the crankcase. Many of the
Eclipses here have a much better made setup and the magneto is
driven with gears and attaches to a much more solid plate. The
engine also has the original factory extension hopper. This
increases water capacity by one gallon (according to the

My Eclipse was missing the governor, crank handle, and silencer
when I bought it, but all other parts are original. I have now
either acquired or had the missing parts made. The Eclipse will
happily run all day at a show and is an easy starting engine. It is
starting to look a bit shabby, as it was restored 20 years ago and
has been to every engine show I have taken engines to. When there
is a big enough break between shows, I will repaint the

I now have a beautiful half size model of the Eclipse made by
Reg Ingold. It is an easy starting, great running, little engine
and the full size and half size engines attract a lot of attention
at shows. Reg is a true craftsman and I am very proud to have one
of his models.

My biggest engine (at the moment) is a 5 HP Austral Oil Engine.
This was made by Ronaldson Bros, and Tippett in Ballarat Victoria,
Australia, in September 1917. It is a lamp-start sideshaft engine.
I have yet to restore this engine, as it was acquired shortly
before my engines went into storage. I have had it running and it
is a sweet sounding engine. I have had a set of new valves made and
fitted, as the originals were very worn. This particular engine was
originally a stationary engine which drove a Chinese laundry in
Young, NSW. I swapped a 1928 Fordson Tractor my father and I had
restored for the Austral. I recently acquired an original Austral
transporter, which I hope to soon move the Austral onto, as the
transporter it is currently on is not correct. I hope to be able to
start showing this engine this year, restored or unrestored.

My next largest engine is a 4-5 HP Massey Harris Type 2.1 have
been unable to date this engine, but it is a later model engine, as
it has a cast crank cover. The parts book lists the full crank
shield first being used in 1925. My engine was recovered from an
outside toilet where it has sat for at least 20 years. It had been
used to drive a water pump and other equipment. After getting it
home, I gave the valves a quick grind, which gave the engine good
compression, and it started first try, after not being run in 20
years. It has only had a cosmetic restoration so far, as most of
the parts are in good order. I have yet to install the main fuel
tank, as I was missing the check valve assembly, but it will run
for about 30 minutes on the carb reservoir. I have recently
acquired the check valve assembly and piping from Edd Payne, so I
will soon put the main tank back in. This engine starts so easily,
it is unbelievable. It will start with a single click of the Wico
EK (which has never been touched), with only a slow turn of the
flywheels. The Massey-Harris is mounted on a Sunshine transporter
with the 4 HP Buzacott, as it makes it a bit easier to move these
heavy engines.

The next largest engine is my 4 HP Buzacott. This is a an
Australian copy of the Fuller and Johnson model K. It was made by
the Rosebery Engine Works in Sydney and badged as The Buzacott Oil
Engine. It is a throttle governed engine with rotary magneto, in
this case a Wico A, which is not the original but it works. These
engines were also sold with the Wico EK. I found this engine lying
in some long grass with only the flywheels showing. Nothing was
missing off this engine, the original Lewis oiler was in place and
the crank handle was still in the hopper. Lying in the grass next
to it were all the parts of the shearing plant it had once driven.
The engine was not stuck, but the shearing gear was (and still is)
rusted solid.

While on Buzacotts, possibly one of the more unusual engines is
my ‘The Little Kangaroo’ shearing plant. The engine is a 2
HP Buzacott 2B. This is also a copy of the Fuller and Johnson
engine. The Buzacott 2A is a hit and miss governed engine, while
the 2B is throttle governed. Most use a Wico EK, but I have seen
some with rotary mags. The 2B is quite rare here. The shearing gear
was built by G. Munro Pty. Ltd. in Ballarat Victoria. It is all
mounted on an original transporter and is a great looking little
unit. I acquired this unit some years ago and put it to the back of
the shed, as it was stuck solid and the carb had been broken off at
the head. Last year I decided to have a go at restoring it. Reg
Ingold applied his expertise and well equipped workshop to the task
of getting the piston out, which was tight all the way as it was
stuck near the top of the stroke. The bore was in good condition,
as was the piston. Only one ring was broken, so a replacement was
obtained from Edd Payne. Edd also rebuilt the Wico EK, as it was a
complete wreck. Every part and every nut and bolt were difficult to
get apart, but once apart all the bits were in good condition. Reg
also repaired the broken carburetor and made me a nice crank
handle, which is a bit shorter than normal due to the close
proximity of the flywheels to the transporter wheels. The engine
will start with a flip of the flywheels, but as it is a recent
restoration I am still ironing out the bugs. Next project is to
repaint the transporter. The engine runs very well with quite a
distinct exhaust note sounding more like the 4HP K than the nearly
identical hit and miss 2As.

Also lurking in the collection is an early Fuller and Johnson
Farm Pumper. It has a blank flywheel, except for the direction
arrow, a Dixie magneto on the side, and the spark plug in the
barrel. I found this engine lying on its side on a farm scrap heap.
My father and I brought the engine home, filled the fuel tank, and
it started almost first try. It is 100% complete, including
original oiler and I have not had it apart. I now have a complete
pump jack for it which will eventually be attached when the engine
is restored. I have not had the heart to pull it apart for
restoration as it is such a good running engine. Well, it runs as
well as Farm Pumpers can.

One of the nicest engines I have picked up is a Boulton and Paul
‘Electrolite’ lighting plant. This was made in Norwich,
England, in 1928. It is 110V DC and is 100% complete except for the
battery set. I am the second owner of this engine, having recovered
it from its original installation where it had provided power for a
large homestead before the coming of mains power. It is very heavy,
as the large generator and petrol/kerosene engine are mounted on a
common cast base.

The first engine I bought when I returned to the hobby last year
was a Cooper CT-2. This is identical to the Stover engine, except
for having disk flywheels with no name cast in them. It is unknown
if the local CT-2s are rebadged Stovers or locally made engines.
These engines were still being sold here long after the demise of
Stover. My engine is a throttle governed, petrol start, kerosene
fueled engine. It is rated at 2HP to 2.5 HP at 575rpm. The Cooper
CT-2 was available as hit and miss or throttle governed, the
throttle governed being the slightly less common engine. I bought
this engine at a swap meet and quickly restored it, but it has only
been to one show so far.

Also in the collection are a few small Ronaldson-Tippet petrol
engines, a small Wolsley, a couple of vertical Buzacotts, and who
knows what other bits and pieces. My smaller engines live here in
the city with me. while my large engines stay in my father’s
shed in the country, lurking behind his old cars.

The only engine I allow my father to claim ownership of is his
‘Little Monitor.’ It is not known if this engine is a Baker
Mfg. Co. engine or if it is a locally made Chandler. It has a few
things slightly different from the Baker engines, the most notable
being the lack of ‘Monitor’ cast in the fuel tank, and a
slightly different magneto mount. You might question a magneto on a
Monitor, but all engines exported to Australia had a magneto mount
cast into the fuel tank and a Dixie magneto fitted.

This is the first article I have ever written, so I hope I have
not rabbited on too much. I hope to share some more of my down
under engine experiences with you again.

  • Published on Jul 1, 2000
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