A Tale of Two Engines

| September/October 1984

26 Mott Place Rockaway Boro, New Jersey 07866

I have always liked old engines and machinery, having been introduced to them by my dad at the Kutztown Folk Festival about 20 years ago. Over the years I have acquired a number of them in various states of repair.

I learned how to rebuild and restore them the old fashioned way, that is by taking them apart and putting them back together myself. It was not easy. My first attempt was nearly my last. It was on my fifth birthday and my grandpa had left his brand new rotary lawnmower in the backyard on its side. I saw it and asked him if I could 'fix it'. Figuring I could do little harm with no tools, he said yes. (He had removed the blade to sharpen it.) He did not remember that he had left a screwdriver, a hammer and a pair of vice grips on his workbench nearby. Well I found them, went to work and 'fixed it' just fine. Needless to say Grandpa was thrilled with the job I did. After 25 years I still have the only salvagable part left the carburetor. I have been repairing engines ever since (with some help early on) with much more success.

My latest restoration project began with the arrival of the March-April 1983 issue of GEM. I was glancing thru the Wanted section when a For Sale ad caught my eye. The ad had been placed by Stewart B. Sisk of Antler, North Dakota. He was selling two IHC-McCormick Deering type M 1 HP gasoline engines.

Because I had just finished fixing a 1932 engine of the same type, I decided to inquire into what kind of shape they were in and how much he wanted for them. I figured I could use mine as an example to fix them up since it was in good original condition.

The reply from Stewart was quick in coming both engines were stuck and missing some parts. However, he added, parts from both engines might possibly be used to make one usable engine. The price was right, but the big problem was getting them from Antler, N.D. where he was, to Rockaway Boro, N.J. where I live. Stewart solved that problem by locating a trucking firm willing to carry them for $32 per 100 pounds, if we knew the weight and put them on a pallet. We didn't know the exact weight (and still don't) so we took a guess at 500 pounds for the pair. It must have been close enough, because after a couple more exchanges of information and a mailed check, they were on their way by April 8th.