An Engine Story

By Staff
1 / 3
We used this Lauson engine for running the saw rig.
2 / 3
McCormick Deering 1 HP as it arrived at my home after purchase.
3 / 3
The McCormick Deering with new parts, an added cart, and fresh paint.

421 E. Coolidge Avenue Appleton, Wisconsin 54915

I would like to share my engine story with you. It all started
when I was in school. My dad always talked about engines and he was
a big influence as far as getting me interested in gasoline
engines. He used to tell me stories about using engines as a little
boy, and later on on his parents’ farm. He told me that they
used engines to pump water and to generate power for equipment used
in and around the barn and milk house. They had a small dairy farm
and they also used engines to grind feed for the cattle. He told me
they used a 20 HP engine which was plenty big enough to do the work
that was needed for a feed mill. He also said that in those days
farmers traveled many miles to have their feed ground up.

As my dad got my interest up, I asked him where that old engine
went to when the home farm was sold. My dad told me it was at a
neighbor’s farm and I became all excited and told him I wanted
to go look at it and maybe we could bring it home.

We went there and brought it home just like I wanted. I was so
happy and excited but it needed a lot of work, and mechanical
attention. It had been sitting on its cart in some tall grass for
many years and it was all frozen up. None of the parts would move.
My dad told me that, when it was brought there, they drained the
water from it and covered it up, but still the weather didn’t
do it any good. Even bumble bees had made a nest between the engine
and the cart. This engine was a DeLaval 1?  HP and the paint
was pretty much gone, but it was originally green. I’m not sure
of the year it was made but I think it had to have been made in the
early 20’s. I was beginning to wonder if we would ever get it
going. It was a challenge of our mechanical ability. We really
wanted to see and hear it run. This engine was neat and I never in
my life saw an engine like it. It was an engine with two big
flywheels.

After school and on weekends I helped my dad. The first thing we
did was take the head off, clean the valves and take the piston out
and clean the rings and then we oiled everything as it needed
lubrication very badly. Then we looked into the carburetor and did
all the necessary cleaning. We then cleaned the rest of the engine
and put it back together.

The time that I was waiting for was here! We started it up with
anticipated excitement and it began running! The only bad thing was
that the governor stuck and we thought it was going to take off and
fly! We quickly shut it off and started cleaning and repairing it
again. We were fortunate though, that all the parts on the engine
were reuseable and didn’t need replacing. We only had to get a
new gas tank and a new gas line. After this we started it up again
and it ran beautifully and had much rhythm.

Now came the time to see how much it could pull. We bought a
used saw rig, but it was too much for this engine to handle, so we
found a bigger engine and installed a larger pulley and did some
minor repairs and it did a fine job of pulling then. We used it
mostly for sawing smaller limbs and branches. The ‘new’ old
engine we bought was called a Lawson hit and miss. The DeLaval was
later sold, but we wished later that we hadn’t sold it, because
the engine was gone and so was the money. We made wood because at
the time my parents and aunt used wood as a source of heat in their
homes. We also sold some wood that we made, and these old engines
sure made making wood a lot easier.

Over the years I have been to a lot of engine shows and tractor
pulls which I do enjoy a lot. I also enjoy going to old days
parades and thresherees and I like to watch the working shingle
mills and the many other working shows. During one engine show I
saw an engine sitting on a trailer and it was for sale. It was a
McCormick Deering 1? HP. I purchased it and had repairs to make. I
cleaned the engine, and oiled it. The gas tank was rusted, and mice
had a nest in it at one time, and some parts were missing. I
wondered what to do, so I called my friend who is also interested
in engines, and with his help and some books I read, I was able to
order parts and put it back together, and get it running. It runs
pretty good too, and I’ve enclosed a photo of it. I found and
bought a cart for it and it looks pretty sharp as the color of the
engine and cart complement one another.

The last engine I bought was for the parts only, if I can free
it. It’s very rusted and there are a lot of parts missing. It
is also a McCormick Deering 1? HP. I so enjoy each time I start up
my engines and hear them run. Engines bring back memories of the
past for me and many people and they are also a part of
history.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines