COVER STORY

Where Have All The Springfields Gone?


| June/July 1995



Springfield engine

Raymond Scholl, Rt. 1, Box 459-A, Sugar Grove, North Carolina 28679 devoted countless hours to the restoration of this Springfield engine, serial number 2820. He tells his tale in 'Where Have All the Spring fields Gone?' inside this issue.

Route 1, Box 459-A Sugar Grove, North Carolina 28679

The story about how I became the owner of a Springfield #2820 goes back several years. In November of 1983 I received word from long-time friend Meredith Brison that the Springfield was for sale. I called immediately and discussed the financial arrangements, and was granted time to sell several engines from my collection.

Spring 1984 rolled around and my brother, nephew, and I headed north for Ohio. We stopped off at Lexington, Kentucky, and delivered a 1 HP Famous to Norman Parrish. After arriving at the Brison farm we talked to Meredith and his wife. Now it was time to go and look over my purchase. There it was, sitting on the barn floor chained to a tractor lift and ready to be loaded. Rust had really played havoc on the exterior of this engine. The cast and machine surfaces were very rough to say the least. All major parts were intact including the cast brass builders plate which reads: 'The Springfield Gas Engine Company, Springfield Ohio USA #2820, HP 1 Type A.'

To look at this engine was discouraging on one hand because of the sad state of repair, but on the other hand where was I ever going to find another Springfield? My brother was not encouraging at this point and felt I might be making a mistake. Then my thoughts jumped back to the late 1960s when I had seen this engine for the first time. Dad and I were on a trip through Ohio and stopped in to visit the Brisons. Meredith gave us a tour of his engine collection. Among the line-up of engines in the garage was the Springfield. The 25' flywheels and 4x5 bore and stroke fooled me into thinking that this engine had to be at least 3 HP but to my surprise the builders plate read 1 HP.

This was the first real Springfield I had ever seen. As a boy I would marvel at the pre-1900 internal combustion engines contained on the pages of Gardner Hiscox' 1898 book entitled Gas Gasolene and Oil Engines. On page 160 is shown a Type A Springfield. My first seventeen years of life, growing up near Hilliard, Ohio, had made me partial to Ohio-built engines. To own a Springfield became a top priority on engine finds.

Meredith did not want to part with his engine at this time, so I just kept asking over the next dozen or more years. During this time I asked a number of collectors and dealers about Springfield engines. Very few knew anything about them and it became obvious to me that Springfield engines were very scarce.