Gray-Aldrich Engine

By Staff
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740 Honeymoon Hill, Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738

I first saw this engine at Dacusville, South Carolina, Pioneer
Days, September ’88. My name being Gray, I wanted/needed it…
not for sale.

The next time I saw the engine was at Arden, North Carolina,
Apple Country Antique Engine Show. It was for sale, and for less
than I would have paid the first time I saw it.

It is a United 1 HP, Type A, air cooled, as shown on page 520,
Wendel’s book. Where United called it 1 HP, Gray-Aldrich
stretched it to 2 HP.

This engine has been at many shows in the surrounding area, but
so far no one has ever seen or heard of another Gray-Aldrich. I
have talked to engine people in the northeast and still no one
knows anything about the Gray-Aldrich Company.

I tried the Boston City Clerk, because the plate says
‘Gray-Aldrich, Boston, Mass.’ They told me it would cost
$10.00 to research the files. Later I received a letter
‘certifying’ that no such company was registered in Boston
between 1907 and 1968.

Not satisfied, I contacted the Boston Public Library. They were
very attentive and went out of their way to help me. I received
City Directory ads from 1915 and 1925. The company must have been
growing because in 1915 they moved from #8 to #33 & #34,
Commercial Wharf, Boston. In 1920 they moved to Atlantic Avenue and
then back to Commercial Wharf in 1925. In the 1930 City Directory,
Gray-Aldrich was listed as having been incorporated since 1908. The
name changed to Gray-Aldrich Marine in 1933, still at Commercial
Wharf, Boston. 1944 was the last year it was listed in the Boston
City Directory.

After running the engine, I discovered that a paint job was the
only restoration in many hard years. It was sleeved at a local
automotive shop, begrudgingly. The work took two months. The rings
I got through GEM advertising. Next, all I needed was paint??? As
no one had ever heard of Gray-Aldrich, I had to assume they were
practical, and painted their engines black (easier to keep clean)
with silver striping. So far, no one can prove it wrong.

After restoring the engine, I was off to the Smoky Mountain
Antique Engine & Tractor Show, Father’s Day, 1991. She
would run only a few minutes and die. I tried all weekend but could
get only a few minutes at a time. I messed with everything I could
think of: gas, timing, compression, spark, all seemed good. Later
in the year, at another show, I told Joe Morris about my problems.
After a little checking he went to the ignitor and loosened the
movable arm nut 1/8 turn.

In the two years since, it hasn’t missed a ‘hit’.
Thanks, Joe!

It seems that in my restoration the arm was tightened too much,
making it too sluggish when she got warm.

If there is another Gray-Aldrich out there, please drop me a
line. I would like to correspond with you!

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