207 Park Heim Yoga Itchome 1-19-19 Yoga, Setagaya-ku Tokyo 158,
Grandma’s engine was built, according to company records, in
1951 or 1952. This is not such a long time ago, but Grandma’s
engine was one of the last of the old design, with two brass
drip-feed oilers, open valve gear, and twin spoke flywheels.
Grandma’s engine cost forty thousand yen according to an
advertisement published at that time, and this was no doubt a
considerable sum of money, even for a farmer with thirty dairy
cows. However the engine was put to good use pumping water into the
rice fields for the spring planting, driving the rice thresher in
the fall, and sawing logs for the fire in winter.
As Granddad got older the fields were sold one by one, and the
engine was no longer used. It was put away in the corner of a shed
and covered with a sheet, and gradually disappeared under a pile of
boxes. The engine had gotten older too, the kerosene tank had
rusted out, and the latch had broken off the impulse drive on the
magneto, falling into the sludge and rice husks which had collected
over the years in the bottom of the crankcase, and bending the
magneto shaft at the same time. The spark plug had been taken out,
and put somewhere for safekeeping.
It was not until Granddad had passed away that I was able to go
an see what had now become Grandma’s engine. The engine was
taken out from its resting place of many years, and subjected to a
complete strip-down and clean. A spare magneto was obtained from a
friend, along with a spark plug. The engine was reassembled and
timed, one tooth out from the markings on the gears. The carburetor
was filled with gas. A couple of swings, and Grandma’s engine
burst into life again, a sound which brought Grandma rushing out of
the house to take a look.
Grandma’s engine has since been displayed at a local
agricultural fair, where it attracted the attention of the older
generation of farmers. ‘It looks like new,’ said one.
Grandma’s engine is a Kubota AHB kerosene engine, developing 2
to 2.5 HP at 1100 to 1300 RPM