Belt-Driven Pumps Are All Pumped Up

Trailer makes perfect operating display for collection of belt-driven pumps

| April/May 2012

I have had a long-standing interest in pumps, and this operating display gives me the opportunity to enjoy this fascination. I looked for belt-driven pumps that operated differently from one another to illustrate the variety of styles manufactured between 1895 and 1918. Prior to 1895, pumps were operated primarily by hand; after 1918 many of the pumps were more enclosed and the operating mechanisms simplified.

Some of the pumps I acquired appear to be one of a kind. Some were found at the Portland (Ind.) swap meet, some were found at the Hudson Valley Old Time Power Assn. Commission Auction in Hudson, N.Y., and others were purchased from long-standing contacts such as John Supple and Ken Hill.

The pumps on the trailer beginning in the left front corner (see the trailer photo in the Image Gallery): Myers horizontal bulldozer water pump, Luitweiler vertical deep well working head, Hayes inverted two-piston walking beam spray pump, Myers vertical siphon water pump, Gould inverted three piston water pump, Eccentric Lift Pump vertical working head and New Way inverted four-piston spray pump. The cooling tank is a cast iron tank from a National Feed Water Heater.

All of the pumps were rebuilt to be fully operational. Rebuilding required a considerable effort because water had frozen in the inverted pistons, wildlife had established multi-room living quarters, or a farmer had done quick repairs to satisfy thirsty animals or crops needing to be sprayed. For example, restoration of the Hayes walking beam pump required parts from three similar Hayes pumps. These pumps were completely rebuilt by Jack Welton in his Copley, Ohio, shop.

Belt driven pumps

As I accumulated these pumps, I felt that it would be more interesting to see them in motion. So I spent two years looking at engines, primarily at the Coolspring (Pa.) Power Museum and Kinzers’ (Pa.) Rough and Tumble shows, to identify a brand that had a considerable amount of moving parts at a relatively affordable price.

The Otto, with its sideshaft and hanging fuel pump, had a great deal of appeal to me. At the beginning of 2001, Butch Johnson told me that he knew of a 15 HP Otto, but the owner was not willing to sell even though he did not have any interest in or use for the engine. Finally, after numerous discussions, we completed the sale.