Through a chance encounter at a show in nearby Richton, Miss.,
the Pine Belt Antique Engine and Tractor Club of Hattiesburg,
Miss., recently acquired a 1911 Chicago Pneumatic built by the
Chicago Pneumatic Company of Chicago, Ill. A single-cylinder,
two-cycle horizontal oil engine, it has a bore and stroke of 15- x
18 inches and is rated at 70 HP at 150 rpm.
We found out about the old Chicago Pneumatic when a former
employee of International Paper visited with one of our members,
David Lyon, at the Richton Pican Festival last September. In 1911
this engine was purchased by the International Paper Company and
installed on a site on a freshwater creek approximately six miles
northeast of Moss Point, Miss., on the Gulf of Mexico. It was
belted to a pair of three-cylinder Worthington pumps to supply
fresh water to the International Paper Company mill located in Moss
Point. The engine worked continuously in this capacity until some
point during the 1940s, when electric motors were installed and the
engine was retired.
The mill, it turned out, had been closed and was being torn
down. The following week, David visited with the plant manager, Jay
Schmidt, telling him how our club members restore old engines and
run them at shows to educate the public about engines of the past.
He also told him how we hate hearing about engines being taken to
the scrap yard. Inevitably the question arose, ‘Can we acquire
the engine?’ ‘You have made my day,’ Schmidt replied,
‘we do not want to see the engine go to the scrap yard. We will
donate it to your club with one request: put a plaque on it saying,
‘Donated by International Paper Co., Moss Point,
Mississippi.” We gladly agreed to this, of course.
As the building was scheduled to be torn down the engine needed
to be moved quickly, and club members made two trips to get the
engine. The first visit involved freeing it from an 18-inch tall
pedestal, in the process removing the intake and exhaust equipment,
and placing timber skids under each side. Club members David Lyon,
Warren Croft, Jim Parker, Jim Callender, Homer Ferrill, John
Edwards, Hayward Anderson and Joe Spell were part of this phase of
the project. A week later we made our second trip, bringing along
chains saws, hammers and other equipment so we could remove enough
of a wall in the building to pass the 10-foot-wide engine through.
Harold Clark, an International Paper Co. employee, assured us it
would be all right to tear out the wall, as the entire building
would soon be demolished.
The next few days were filled with some serious thinking: How do
we get the engine, located five feet inside the building, out
through a hole in the wall and over a foot-high concrete footing
supporting the wall? We had already estimated (guessed) that the
engine weighed five or six tons, but we didn’t have a hoist
with that kind of capacity. However, Lovitt Equipment Co., our
local John Deere dealer, has a big GMC tilt-bed truck with a large
hydraulic winch, so we discussed the problem with owner Phil
Lovitt. Phil went back and visited with his shop foreman, and in
short order he was back, saying, ‘We want to help you. Be here
at 7:30 in the morning and ride with our driver, Arnold Walters,
and if it can be done, Arnold will do it.’
We arrived at the engine site at 10 a.m. By 2 p.m. the engine
was loaded and the job site cleaned up. Arriving back at
Hattiesburg, the loaded truck was weighed before unloading the
engine in David Lyon’s shop on his farm near town, a thankfully
uneventful event. Once unloaded, we weighed the truck again. Total
weight: 18,120 pounds, or just over nine tons.
David spent a couple of nights cleaning mud dauber nests out of
the old engine before disassembling the brass injector pump so he
could free it up. He also removed the force-feed oiler and all the
oil lines, blowing them out with compressed air before hooking them
back up. Once hooked up he hand pumped the oiler until he was sure
oil was getting to the cylinder. After going through everything on
the engine it was finally started. That was on Dec. 1, 2001, almost
60 years after it had last been run and, amazingly, its 90th
birthday. Its date of manufacture was Dec. 1, 1911.
The Chicago Pneumatic sees the light of day for the first time
in 60 years.
We are going to mount the engine on a heavy duty trailer, and we
are looking forward to getting the engine running, sporting a new
brass plaque stating, ‘Donated by International Paper Co., Moss
Special thanks to Jay Schmidt and Harold Clark with
International Paper Co. and to Phil Lovitt and Arnold Walters with
Lovitt Equipment Co.
Chicago Pneumatic Specifications
Date of Manufacture
Dec. 1, 1911
Bore and Stroke
15-1/2 x 18-inch
64-inch, 5-inch face
Fuel and Ignition
Two-cycle oil, direct injection hotbulb ignition
70 HP @ 150 rpm
Force feed, three feed lines
Open sump, crankshaft acting as splash oiler
Contact engine enthusiast Joe Spell at: 1905 Ridgeway Lane,
Hattiesburg, MS 39401, (601) 582-5664.