3201 Burnett Road, Suwanee, Georgia 30174.
I read with much interest the two stories in the October 1991
issue of GEM about the 4? HP United engines. One story was by Mr.
Joe Kocher, the other was by Mr. Jim Albaitis.
In July of 1991, quite by accident, I ran across one of the same
engines, in a field only a few hundred feet from where I have lived
for 32 years.
I knew nothing about this engine, except that I had to get my
hands on it. The lady who had lived there for 37 years said it had
always been there, and was always in the way of plowing and tending
the crops. She gave me the engine and told me to do whatever
pleased me. I was thrilled beyond any words!
With the help of my eleven year old son, Jeremy, it was almost
effortless to get the engine home and check out its needs.
To my disbelief it was not too rusty, was complete, and had
nothing broken. The only evidence of time’s injury was a frozen
tight piston and a missing fuel tank.
Another long time resident, a 70 year old man, told me the
engine had been used by the person who built the house to pump
water to the house and animal lots.
After several days and cans of WD-40, the piston came out bright
and untarnished as was the cylinder. A new set of rings, new
springs, cleaning the gasoline/kerosene carburetor, replacing the
ignitor with a spark plug and battery, building a gas line and
setting up a fuel tank. She fired and began to run as good as new.
Needless to say, I was so excited to stand back and watch those
flywheels turning and pushing the piston back and forth.
I had been told that the engine had not been used in at least
forty years, and possibly longer.
I have cleaned the entire unit and put on a coat of paint. At
this writing, the engine is running on a spark plug/battery
ignition system, but the magneto is hot and the ignitor has been
sent for repairs and will run as it did in 1912.
You will find a similar engine on Page 520 of American Gasoline
Engines Since 1872 using the Associated gasoline/kerosene
carburetor shown on page 37 of the same book. This engine serial
number is only 22 numbers from the engine Mr. Albaitis writes
about. The brass tag reads: United.
United Engine Company, Lansing, MI U.S.A. 4? HP, Type H, Serial
I am looking forward to showing the engine next spring, as I
have yet to see one of them on display. She looks so proud in her
new coat of Regal Red and Black paint, sitting there running
a-popping, as was intended for her to do almost 80 years ago.
I would like to thank my good friends, Mr. Grady Howington and
his son David and my very good and new found friend, Mr. Don
Batten, for their help in restoring this fine old lady.