Coolspring Spotlight

The rare and the beautiful from the Coolspring Power Museum

| April 2007

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The Watkins

Manufacturer: F. M. Watkins Mfg. Co., Cincinnati

Year: circa 1898

This engine, as its nameplate states, was manufactured expressly for Stephen B. Church of Seymour, Conn. It is on loan from the collection of John Rex, Chelmsford, Mass.

Very little is known about the F.M. Watkins Mfg. Co. C.H. Wendel has a short reference to the Watkins engine in his book, American Gasoline Engines Since 1872, in which he writes: "The 1898 edition of Gas, Gasoline & Oil Engines by Gardner D. Hiscox illustrates the Watkins horizontal engine of that era. Apparently marketed under both the 'Watkins' and 'Sumner' tradenames, this particular model was one of the first to feature a gear-driven, low-tension magneto as standard equipment." Wendel was unable to find any patent information on this particular engine, but he does cite in Volume II of his book that the company manufactured marine engines and changed its name to Watkins Motor Co. by 1908.

The serial number and true horsepower of this engine are unknown. All that is known is the engine powered the equipment in a lumberyard in New Hampshire and was placed in preservation by Nate Lillibridge.

Contact the Coolspring Power Museum at: P.O. Box 19, Coolspring, PA 15730; (814) 849-6883;