In the Family for 62 Years

| August/September 1986

  • 1923 Waterloo Boy gas engine
    This 1923 Waterloo Boy gas engine has been in Albert Hochstetler's family for sixty-two years.

  • 1923 Waterloo Boy gas engine

Route 2, Box 94B Topeka, Indiana 46571

In 1923 my grandfather purchased a 6 HP Waterloo Boy gas engine at a local farm sale. My father, who was about five or six years old and had never seen or heard such a huge engine run, was about half scared of it. He was used to hearing a 1 HP run a pump jack and turn the washing machine on Monday mornings.

When Grandfather purchased the engine he used it to run a 6 inch Letz Bur grinder. Then in 1928 it was moved to the Mint Distill to pump water and run a hoist. After about 20 years of use, the engine was replaced with a steam engine. Then the Waterloo was pushed outside and left out in various locations until 1980.

In about April of 1980 I bought a 1 HP International M at a sale. For some reason I thought I would like to have an old gas engine. When I brought it home Dad said, 'I have an engine like that, too.' I said, 'You do? Well where is it?' He said, 'I loaned it out to a man about 20 years ago. He wanted to buy it from me then, but I didn't sell it.' 'Oh, lucky me!' I said, 'Well, where does he live and what is his phone number?' Dad wasn't sure where he lived and, of course, he didn't have his number.

I won't use any names or cities in this story, but I located the man on the phone that very evening. I told him who I was and, yes, he knew my father. I asked, 'Do you still have the 6 HP Waterloo engine you borrowed from Dad years ago?' He said, 'Yes, I do.' I said, 'Well, we're going to come pick it up.'

So on May 31, 1980, we went after it, and oh boy, what a sight to see! The head was off, the piston was out (which was good). The push rod was bent, no rings, the valves were in very poor health. And all was very rusty. The water hopper was half full with walnuts and acorns. There was no needle-valve or gas tank.