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Waterloo Boy Contract Engines

Paul Sams shares his Waterloo Boy contract engine collection.

| April/May 2016

  • Lineup: Seven of Paul Sams’ Waterloo Boy and Waterloo Boy contract engines.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Paul Sams’ 1914 1-1/2 hp Waterloo Boy engine. This one has igniter ignition, and like all his engines it’s mounted on a cart for display.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • One of Paul’s many Waterloo Boy contract engines. This one is a 1912 1-1/2 hp American Boy engine equipped with a Webster oscillating magneto.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Paul’s 1916 1-1/2 hp Ever-Ready engine, built by Waterloo Boy and equipped with a Webster magneto.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • A 1914 4 hp Sandow marketed by Sandy McManus, Inc., of Waterloo, Iowa, but built by Waterloo Boy.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Paul’s igniter equipped 1918 2 hp Sheldon. Sheldon engines are thought to have succeeded Sandow engines.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Identification plate for the 1916 Ever-Ready.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Identification plate for the 1914 Sandow.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Identification plate for the 1918 Sheldon.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Collector Paul Sams with his Sheldon and Ever-Ready engines.
    Photo by Bill Vossler

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.”


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

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