Waterloo Boy Contract Engines

Paul Sams shares his Waterloo Boy contract engine collection.

| April/May 2016

Eight of Paul Sams’ gasoline engines look very similar, though they carry five different names. Patent theft? Not hardly. “Their castings were all built by the Waterloo Gas Engine Co.,” Paul says, “and sold under contract to other places to resell.”

Paul’s collection reflects only a portion of the Waterloo contract engines. His list shows 43 different companies that Waterloo supplied engines to. “Some were marketed under the Waterloo Boy name by the company, distributor, clearinghouse or big warehouse for Waterloo Boy, while others branded these same engines with different names.”

A little history

Paul has liked old iron for many years, but began collecting in the early 1980s. “I started with tractors, mostly Allis-Chalmers back when you could find them in a grove and get them pretty cheap to fix up for your collection or to resell.”

He brought tractors to shows, where they sat for several days. “At the end of the show I loaded them up and took them home. There wasn’t a lot of tractor activity at most shows. I got interested in gas engines because the collectors at the shows stayed with the engines, and did fun activities with them. That appealed to me more not doing a lot with a tractor. Also, you can put more gas engines in one area than you can tractors. So I moved over into gas engines, and have enjoyed working with them, and I enjoy the gas engine people a lot.”

Sixty-seven-year-old Paul, from Marshalltown, Iowa, says his first engine was a 1-1/2 to 2-1/5 hp International Harvester LB. “It was something that wasn’t very expensive, and got me started in the engines.”

Under contract

After a few years of collecting gas engines, including a couple of Waterloo Boy engines, Paul began to notice contract engines. “I wasn’t looking for contract engines, but when I found one a little different, or something you didn’t see every day, I started picking them up. I like them because they’re good running engines. You can run them real slow, and parts are available.”