Goes and Goes Right: New Way Collection

An engine hobbyist’s New Way engine collection has a few oddities in the New Way line, including diesel and kerosene models.

| August/September 2019


James Johnson got interested in gas engines when he made the 1,600-mile trip from his home in Chehalis, Washington, to the WMSTR (Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion) show in Rollag, Minnesota, in 1980. Now 76, James had been there with his father in 1955, but that 1980 trip was different. “Since my dad had passed away, I spent a lot of time with my father’s brothers, and from that time until they passed on, my brother Jerry and I would go back and help them with their collection of engines at Rollag,” James says.

A lack of production records makes it hard to date New Way engines, but this Type C is likely form around 1910-1912.

Those experiences urged James to start his own engine collection, beginning with a 1920s 2-1/2hp Faultless, which he bought at one of the first shows he attended in the Northwest in 1982. “I still have that engine. I got it from a friend of mine. It looked like an interesting engine, and at that event there wasn’t much else available, so I bought it. Over the years I’ve had a lot of fun with it,” James says. “Though the Faultless is not a popular brand of engine, and it’s not rare, either, but I still have it. I haven‘t let go of almost any of my engines. I guess I‘m a kind of hoarder,” he laughs.

Building a collection

One time sitting with his friend Chuck, a New Way engine collector, Chuck gave him a pencil and said James should put his name in the battery box of a New Way engine Chuck had that he especially liked. “I said, ‘What’s that for?’ And Chuck said, ‘It’s just a reminder to me.’” It’s an offshoot of people putting their business card in a battery box of an engine to show the owner that they are interested in buying it.

James Johnson's 2-1/2hp New Way Type C. The enclosed fan helped ensure ample cooling for the air-cooled engine.


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