CAN YOU NAME THE ENGINE?


| September/October 1967



Unidentified Engine

Courtesy of W. J. Eshelman, 722 East End Ave., Lancaster, Penna. 17602 (See Story)

W. J. Eshelman

722 East End Ave., Lancaster, Penna. 17602

On one of my business calls, I happened to see an ancient postcard sticking on the wall of a dealers Office. Needless to say both had been there for some years. I obtained the loan of this card to have a negative made for reproduction, which I am forwarding to you with this little story.

The picture is that of Henry R. Longenecker, a pioneer dealer of Rheems, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and a gasoline traction engine of a long forgotten make. Mr. Longenecker was born in 1876 and grew to manhood at the opening of the gasoline engine era, but started business with a franchise for 'Brown' buggies and carriages. Later, he became one of the first custom operators in the area by filling silos and shredding fodder.

About 1905, he opened a shop at Rheems, which he later enlarged and entered the automobile era. In the days of fabric tires, he drove his intended bride to Lancaster to purchase a marriag license and had two flat tires in a distance of about twenty miles.

Manufactures at that time did not have iron clad contracts or were they too interested as to the number of lines a dealer handled and this dealer sold the desired make of the customer. The automobiles included Brush, Lambert, Patterson and White. As to gasoline engines, he sold Advance, Rumely, New Holland, Witte and Alamo engines and electric light plants. One of his early engines was perhaps an Advance or Rumely with a four cylinder engine (I don't vouch for this) but in any event it had a single rear wheel drive, with a V belt made of wood blocks, much in the same manner as the Westinghouse steam engine and this drive apparently left much to be desired.

Mr. Longenecker once had his leg broken by an automobile he was cranking and walked lame the balance of his life. He died in 1946.