How I Got My Latest Gas Engine

By Staff
article image

Resurrection Iron P.O.Box919 Scappoose, Oregon 97056

I would like to pass on a story on how I got my latest gas
engine. Maybe this will help my fellow collectors locate an engine
or two that need restoring.

As a collector, my first gas engine was a throttle governed
Fairbanks-Morse 2 HP. My next engine was a 1 HP Hercules, both
pretty common. Since then I’ve acquired a number of more
unusual engines that I’ve restored.

Last year a friend asked if I wanted another engine to fix
up-naturally, I jumped at the chance. A few days later, we were
digging through the remains of an old pump house less than three
miles from where I live, which I have driven by lots of times.
After a fashion, we uncovered a very sad looking 1 HP Hercules like
the one I already had, but this one was complete. My friend said
his mother had used it to run her washing machine, and a little
more digging produced the washing machine as well. It ‘followed
me home,’ along with the engine. (Anyone out there know about
washing machines?) It was two or three months before I could get to
work on my new engine.

What I discovered was that it was really shot! I decided not to
restore it to running condition. Instead I removed the splash
guard, crank and gas filler cap for my other Hercules engine. Next
I removed the ignitor and mag assembly and donated it to a friend
who needed it for his Hercules engine. (The look on his face was
worth more than anyone could have paid me for it.) I cleaned up
what was left and painted it up nice, made a spark plug adapter
plate and new skids. It looked real nice when it was finished but
it had some real troubles, mechanically.

As an engine collector, I also have something for each engine to
operate. I needed one more device to run, so I called up another
friend who is involved with one of the local museums around here. I
proposed a trade: my shiny engine for something they might have two
of. A week or so later I was browsing through their surplus stuff,
but didn’t really see anything that said ‘take me
home.’ I was just about ready to donate the engine to them,
when I spotted what appeared to be an old air compressor. On
further inspection, it turned out to be an engine with 50 or 60
years of mud and rust on it, so I couldn’t tell what brand it
was.

Naturally, I was cool and calm on the outside, but in reality I
was about to wet my pants with excitement! I’m sure a few of
you out there know the feeling! We made a trade and now I have a 1
HP Schmidt’s chilled cylinder. Some of you other collectors
might try trading with your local museums.

Thinking about it later, the trade worked out for the good of
four parties. I got parts for my engine plus a new addition to my
collection. My friend got his long sought-after ignitor and mag.
The original owner’s son has his mom’s engine on display
with the family name on it. The museum got a new showpiece plus the
knowledge that the crusted up rusty old engine they had will be
restored and shown.

The best part of the deal was that no money changed hands and
everybody involved is happy. Sometimes a little imagination is all
it takes.

My Schmidt’s engine is not finished yet, and I would like to
correspond with other owners in regard to ignition.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines