Gilson Type E Farm Engine

Jeff Werner's 1 hp Gilson Type E engine and the Gilson Manufacturing Co.

| August/September 2016

Manufacturer: Gilson Mfg Co., Port Washington, WI
Year: NA (circa 1910)
Serial no.: 2814
Horsepower: 1 hp
Bore & stroke: 3-3/4 in x 4 in
Weight: 2,400lb
Flywheel dia.: 30in
Flywheel width: 15-1/4in x 2in
Ignition: Buzz coil and spark plug
Governing: Hit-and-miss

Jeff Werner probably isn’t alone in his thoughts about engine collecting: “I like working on them probably more than collecting them,” the 42-year-old Long Prairie, Minnesota, man says. But that doesn’t prevent him from collecting, as his group of 70-some gas engines and scale models attests.

Different Start

Jeff got started in gas engines through his dad, Ron, who was an avid old car collector. “We’d go to threshing shows, and I’d always want to buy an engine,” Jeff says. Eventually, he went to an auction and bought his first engine, a 1925 1-1/2 hp Hercules. “It was one of those big auctions with all the big buyers, and for some reason that Hercules stood out for me. It was one that I could afford, I guess. That first engine started him on the path he’s on today. “One leads to another, and leads to 70 or so,” he says with a laugh.

The first engines he really started collecting were air-cooled Associated models. “I have quite a few of them. There are nowhere near as many as the hopper-cooled.” One of Jeff’s rarer engines is a 1 hp air-cooled Gilson Type E that he bought at an auction in southern Minnesota. Jeff’s not sure what year it is, as the serial number – 2814 – doesn’t help determine when it was built.

Though complete when he bought it, Jeff did some serious work on the engine, including replacing the gas tank, which was rusted through and not usable. “I used a piece of stove pipe to make that tank, and it works pretty good,” he says. He also made the wood battery box and the base on which the Gilson rests. “I suspect it might have had ‘Goes Like Sixty’ stenciled on the original battery box, because that was their slogan.”

He also made the unusual pipe exhaust for the hit-and-miss engine, using pictures from old ads as a guide. “The original exhaust was made of cast iron, but I made mine out of pieces of steel welded together,” Jeff says. Other than that work, the engine was pretty complete. “I had to make a few bolts, new pins, bushings and new valves for it, but it was a pretty good engine when I bought it. Nothing too major, just tightening everything up again.”

8/14/2016 7:09:06 PM

I have a Johnny On The Spot 1 1/2 hp. water cooled. I thought (was told) it is a 1917 but it is red. I understand that in 1917 they were green and made in Canada. I can't find the serial number. It is a good engine. Runs like sixty.


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