Cliff Collette’s Rumsey Engine

By Staff
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Box 74, Guildhall, VT 05905

At the engine shows in this area, Cliff Collette of Hyde Park,
Vermont is probably best known as the man with the rare Rumsey
engine. Cliff has lived all of his 68 years in the Hyde Park area
except for some time in the U.S. Navy and a defense plant in World
War II. He farmed in his early years. In the late 1940’s he
started his small engine repair business and continued that until
his retirement.

The Rumsey was obtained in 1974, the year in which he began to
collect engines. The purchase of this engine was a classic example
of ‘old engine fever’ that all of us seem to share. The
engine had been retired many years before. It had been hauled out
to the edge of the woods on a farm and left there. Cliff heard
about the engine and contacted the owner. He went to take a look at
it as soon as possible, which happened to be in the darkness of
night. The headlights of his vehicle revealed that the skids were
rotted away and the flywheels were resting on the ground.
Amazingly, the piston was not stuck. He had to have it and a deal
was made with the owner. Cliff had realized that this was a special

It was eight years before Cliff got around to start restoration
on the Rumsey. A 3 HP International Famous vertical tank cooled
engine, a vertical Ellis engine and an air cooled New Way had taken
precedence. In the winter of 1982-1983, the Rumsey underwent a
restoration of about 300 hours of labor. The engine was
disassembled and sandblasted. Hours and hours of time were spent in
applying primer and sanding it down and applying more and sanding
it down until the surface of the engine was as smooth as glass. The
necessary mechanical work was done and the engine was reassembled
and painted. Cliff had also made new kiln dried oak skids for the

This Rumsey is a very rare and unique engine. The base,
cylinder, cylinder head, hopper and valve chamber (or manifold) on
this engine are a single casting. The engine also has two spark
plugs in the head. It has a 5′ bore and 8′ stroke. The
flywheels are 27/8′ wide and 27′ in diameter. The engine
was built in

Friendship, New York around 1910 and is a 5 HP. The extensive
restoration of the engine and the fine workmanship of the oak skids
makes this a very popular engine at the shows.

Also, the friendliness of Cliff Collette to his fellow engine
collectors and to the people who come to the shows makes him very
popular. He always takes the time to talk to you and to answer the
many questions he gets asked.

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines