Beginner’s Luck

By Staff
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2436 Westcott Road, RR#4 Duncan, B.C. Canada V9L 3W8

After being invited to the Puget Sound Antique Tractor and
Machinery Show for the weekend and seeing all the old stationary
engines, I was hooked. In the next couple of weeks after returning
home, I acquired a 1 HP Fairbanks Morse in very tough shape. I then
decided to place an ad in the paper for any antique engines anyone
might have.

Within two weeks I had a call from a lady who was selling her
uncle’s estate. She said there was a small engine in the pump
house, if I was interested. I could hardly wait for the next
morning, when I would meet her at the house.

When I reached the property, it looked as if the old fellow who
had lived there was a real collector. There were boxes of odds and
ends everywhere. I walked into the pump house to find this old
engine still hooked up to the water pump, fittings and belt intact.
The engine was complete, just as it was when put in years
earlier.

I got the engine home and started to dismantle and clean it with
the help of my two enthused boys. We learned from the plate on the
side of the engine that it was a Petter, made in England. After a
couple of weeks of cleaning and scraping it was looking pretty
good. I hadn’t expected to see the amount of brass on it that
it had.

One problem I had was getting it started. I got lots of tips
from fellow tractor club members and engine enthusiasts, but still
couldn’t manage to get it going. I acquired the address of two
people in England, who someone said might have some information,
and sent letters out to them.

After a short time I received a letter from one of the fellows,
who didn’t have any information. You can imagine how
disappointed I was. A couple of weeks later I got a reply from the
second fellow, telling me I had a ‘rare find.’ My engine
was one in a ‘Handy Man’ series which was made from
1903-1915. My engine #20162 was built in 1909. With the info he
gave, me along with a booklet on fixing, starting and working the
‘Handy Man Oil Engine,’ I was able to get it restored to
basically its original colors and get it running.

With the help of my boys and ‘Mr. Bruce,’ we have built
a trailer from a cedar beam, added old wheel barrow wheels and a
boiler tank for the cooling.

Since restoring my engine, I have displayed it at the Puget
Sound Machinery Show and another local weekend fair with rave
reviews. Now that I have finished this project, I will be on the
lookout for another engine to restore.

I would be happy to share my information on this Petter engine
or to hear from anyone who had this make of engine.

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