1912 7-1/2 hp Galloway Engine

Learning and a Galloway engine go together for a beginning engine collector.

| August/September 2015

Dan Drury of Foreston, Minnesota, has always loved anything mechanical. “Ever since I can remember, I’ve always liked things that move, machines that do things. I remember at a very young age watching my dad take gears out of his Chevrolet, fix them and put them back in so he could go to work the next morning. He would tell me to go to bed, because it would take most of the night. But I was curious. I wanted to watch, so I stayed up with him, but would fall asleep before he was finished.”

Dan, 65, spent a few of his younger years on a farm without electricity that used horse-drawn equipment converted to pull behind a small tractor. “I was kind of raised on that stuff. Even though I was too small to handle it, I took a liking to anything old or anything big.”

Dan’s father, William Drury, was a good mechanic, which helped them keep the old equipment in working order. “When we finally got a pump jack, we used a Briggs engine to pump water for the cattle. Dad knew that we would be typical youngsters, and wouldn’t pay close enough attention to the water in the tank. The engine would pump the well dry. So he would put just enough gas in it to fill the tank, and then the engine would stop.”

Dan spent 33 years working at Federal Cartridge. Most of those years were spent working in maintenance, with a lot of older machinery that was converted to run on new technology. The building was filled with old machines with big flywheels and lots of cast iron. “I was in my glory there. These machines at Federal Cartridge were from the war era, although a few were from 1936-1937. Most were Bliss electrical models.”

The Bliss presses were used in the area where Dan worked to make rifle and pistol cases for different caliber guns. A part would come in the form of a cup, like a thimble, go through one operation to make it a little bit longer and go into the washroom and be run through the annealing process. Then it would be put on another machine similar to the first one, and get a little bit longer to eventually make a pistol or rifle case. It left the machines and came back many times. The cases were made of brass.

Gas engines

Dan would occasionally attend a threshing show and see gas engines running. He was curious about them. “I’d ask, ‘Do you have any more of them at home?’ ‘Do you have any that don’t run?’ I’d mostly get the same answer, that yes, they did.”