Hurricane Hugo Unearthed This Engine

By Staff
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P. O. Box 37, Scuffle Town Road Simpsonville, South Carolina

This 12 HP International Harvester Company engine turned up when
Hurricane Hugo hit the Carolina coast at Sumpter. When workmen were
cleaning up debris after the hurricane, they stumbled across this
engine lying on its side. Mr. Thurmond Coward was told of the
engine and, upon further investigation, he realized what they had
found was a large International Harvester Company engine. Also, he
noticed that a very valuable part was missing, the carburetor.

Since this is a kerosene throttle governing engine, the missing
carburetor proposed a major problem. Mr. Coward wanted to acquire
the engine and borrow a carburetor from a 12 HP Hercules to put on
the engine. After months of work and unsticking the engine, he was
about to start it.

I bought the engine from Mr. Coward in April 1991 and began to
look for a carburetor. After months of looking, it became apparent
that International Harvester Company parts were very rare,
especially carburetors. I decided if I was to get a carburetor it
would have to be made.

I borrowed a 6 HP carburetor from Ernest Duran and Walter
Shelley and began to make a pattern. The first thing I had to do
was determine the difference in size between the 6 HP and the 12
HP. I determined that the 12 HP was 21% larger than the 6 HP. After
a couple months work, the patterns were made. Then I had castings
made. After months of machining, the carburetor was finished. After
comparing it to another 12 HP, the body and the brass bowl and
breather cap were exact in scale. Also, I had to borrow a water
pump strap pattern from Harold Ottoway from Kansas to have cast for
the engine.

After the new parts were made then I took the engine completely
apart and sandblasted all the parts and began to prime and sand
until the engine was smooth as the finish on an automobile.

I also purchased a set of trucks from Mr. Ottoway and
sandblasted and painted them, then I painted the engine parts. I
used an automotive finish, a lacquer cooler coat and a clear finish
coat, then assembly started. First the trucks were assembled, then
the base was attached to the trucks, then the cylinder, then the
crank and flywheel, and soon all the parts were assembled.

The task of plumbing was next. I used all brass nuts, bolts and
fittings and pipe. I invested approximately $1,200.00 in brass

After all the piping was finished and the oak planking for the
new screen was done, the woodwork began. The seat post, footrest
and tongue are all finished in oak. After this the engine was ready
to start.

We had two men on each flywheel. I was at the carburetor. We
tried to start the engine several times with no success. We checked
the timing and it was okay. We checked everything. My dad decided
that such a large engine would require a lot of fuel to get it
started so we put a larger prime in. It began to turn the engine
and I tripped the lock out, then we heard it try to hit. I opened
the needle valve a little more, then black smoke began to boil from
the exhaust. After a minute or two of adjustment on the carburetor,
the engine was at full speed.

I continued to adjust for a long time, until finally the engine
was at idle. A kerosene International Harvester Company engine is
not easy to adjust, I found out.

In the photos you will see two things that make the old engine
more desirable-the clutch pulley and the rotary magneto that bolts
on the back of the cylinder. This is original equipment on the

The engine was cleaned and polished on Friday morning, loaded on
a trailer and taken to the fall show in Arden, North Carolina. It
drew a crowd all day as it ran perfectly. Mr. Coward was able to be
there and have his picture taken in front of the engine and see it
running in all of its glory just as it would have on- the farm in

Hugo did a lot of damage but as for Mr. Coward, myself, and all
engine folk, it found a rare old engine that brings back many

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