One Horse Show: Mike Healy’s 1 hp Engine Collection

Engine collector’s exhibit highlights different styles of 1 hp engines.


| August/September 2017



Circa-1911-1912 1 hp Domestic

Circa-1911-1912 1 hp Domestic.

Photo by Nikki Rajala

A series of events led Mike Healy into the gasoline engine hobby. “I was a town boy, but my dad and uncles were raised on a farm, so we all attended the steam show in our little town of Fulton, Missouri, in the 1960s. I enjoyed steam, but I was intrigued by the gas engines early,” the 63-year-old collector says.

In 1974, Mike bought a 1939 1-1/4 hp Monitor engine at a farm sale. A local gentleman introduced himself, and invited Mike over. “Henry Matteson and I got to be good friends, and he mentored me early on. I bought a 1911 1 hp Monitor from his son after Henry’s passing. That was a turning point. I saw differences between my 1-1/4 and 1 hp Monitors. For instance, increasing the horsepower only required increasing the flywheel diameter by 1/4 inch. That really intrigued me. It was greater in the 2, 3, and 4 hp engines. After that I started looking at smaller engines.”

As his collection of 1 hp engines grew, Mike started showing them, but with a purpose. “I’d never seen anybody show the different engine styles at one time, so we decided to do that,” Mike says. Those engines included a Domestic sideshaft, a Monitor upright, a Quincy air-cooled, and a Root & Vandervoort igniter-equipped engine.

Mike has high praise for the Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Midwest Old Settlers & Threshers Reunion, where he likes to show his engines and which draws a wide cross-section of people. “We think up phrases to describe what we have at a show, and for these four it’s ‘One Horse Show.’ A theme encourages the general public to stop and visit, which we enjoy,” Mike says.

Circa-1911-1912 1 hp Domestic

Manufacturer: Domestic Engine & Pump Co., Shippensburg, PA
Year: Circa 1911-1912
Serial Number: 10084
Horsepower: 1 hp @ 300rpm (est.)
Bore & stroke: 3-1/2in x 4in
Flywheel dia: 14in x 1-1/2in
Ignition: Spark plug w/battery & coil
Governing: Hit-and-miss flywheel weights
Cooling: Hopper, 15 gallons

A sideshaft Domestic engine was on the list of engines Mike wanted, so he went to an auction where one was being sold. “At the auction, another gentleman had the same idea, so I had to give a lot of money to get it. The previous owner had added brass when he restored it, so I knew it would make a nice display.” The real draw, he says, is the design of the engine. “With that sideshaft there’s a lot to watch; the cam and ignition and exhaust valve. Yet despite all that, the Domestic is quiet as can be and it has a really good muffler design.” With pushrod engines, he adds, you always hear the roller come around on the cam gear and make a “plunking” noise.