An Engine Named Gus – Part 1 of 2

Introducing Gus, an engine designed and built by a Swedish immigrant named Gustaf Joranson.

| June/July 2016

Manufacturer: The Carl Anderson Co., Chicago, IL
Serial no.: 232
Horsepower: 2 hp (est./rpm unknown)
Bore & stroke: 4-1/8 in x 6 in
Flywheel dia.: 22 in x 2-1/2 in
Ignition: Igniter (originally; converted to spark plug at unknown time)
Governing: Throttle governing

I first met Gus back in 1971, when my wife and I were vacationing in Maine. Driving through the village of North Windham, I spotted a likely place where I might find old engines and wheeled around. There, we met a friendly gentleman who had several engines, including Gus. He had painted a few, but had no interest in running them. After chatting a while, he agreed to a deal and Gus was mine. We returned a few months later with the old International pickup and loaded him up. We got back home not only with Gus, but also with a 5 hp Otto and a 2 hp Buffalo marine engine in the truck bed! The Otto now powers a triplex pump in the Pump House, and the Buffalo is displayed in the Susong Building.

Sadly, I did not understand Gus – he just didn’t make any sense on how he could have operated! The Otto and the Buffalo marine were put on display in the museum, but Gus was stored in the old garage to wait for a day to live again. Forty-five years later and perhaps a bit smarter – and with the help on the Internet – I learned what a complex and wonderful engine Gus is. Despite his metallic blue paint and white flywheels, he is now in my shop, being prepared to live once again.


Gus’ designer was a young Swedish immigrant named Gustaf Joranson, hence Gus’ name. Joranson is shown in Photo 2. Joranson was born on March 13, 1868, in Nykroppa, Vermland, Sweden. Receiving a common school education in his homeland, he then came to Chicago in 1887. In 1888, he worked for A. Schauble & Co. as a machinist. He soon transferred to the Carl Anderson Co., where he conceived and received his engine patents and built Gus. Anderson was also a young Swedish immigrant, and one wonders if they knew each other back in Sweden?

In 1893, Joranson married Hansine Amundsen Hansen, a Norwegian immigrant. They had four children and lived at 5346 West Ohio St. in Chicago, and the building they lived in still stands and can be seen on Google Maps. Joranson was naturalized in 1896. In 1900, he was listed in the Chicago directory as a gas engine salesman. Interestingly, he disappears from all records in 1918, and one can only wonder if he fell victim to the great flu epidemic of that year.


Joranson had two patents on his engine design, the latter assigned to the Carl Anderson Co. His first patent, number 574,610, granted on Jan. 5, 1897, basically had all the features of the engine I had, but not yet in a practical design. That patent is shown in Photo 3 and is th patent date that is displayed on Gus' nameplate. The second patent, number 740,571, granted Oct. 3, 1903, shows the exact engine as it was built. This patent was most useful in helping me understand how Gus actually runs.The second patent in shown in Photo 4.