International Harvester Oddity

Part one of three: Restoring a 2 HP IHC Nonpareil

| December 2006

After scouting around for a new project, word came of an "Osborne" engine ripe for restoration. It was only being sold because the owner was trying to raise money to purchase a rare tractor. At that time, I had little knowledge of the engine's history and thought I was being offered an ordinary International Harvester. However, research on the Internet soon provided a lot of background information.

Engine history

Osborne engines were manufactured by IHC while the company was under investigation by the government for unfair trading. To get around this dispute they marketed Nonpareil engines under the names of Osborne and McCormick based on the Famous, and Titan engines under the Deering banner. My Nonpareil engine, no. KG 671, was manufactured in 1911, sold by Osborne and painted blue rather than red.

There were a few small changes in the engine construction from the Famous: It was lighter, the base casting had a rounded profile, the hand plate (inspection cover) was round and the pipe-work layout was different. In the case of my 2 HP engine, some International Junior parts were used rather than those of the standard 2 HP Famous, but I do not know if this was common practice - it probably was.

My purchase

The engine was basically in bits as restoration of this engine had already been started with new fuel and water pump pistons and wrist pins. In addition, new castings had already been made from a broken exhaust valve rocker and governor bracket. The cylinder head and valves were rusted and clearly required work. The cylinder bore was thick with grease and the piston appeared a reasonable fit, but I was to discover later that there was excessive wear. There were numerous pieces missing, the most important being the hand plate with the engine details on it. I later managed to read the engine number stamped on the end of the crankshaft.

2 HP Famous
Weight 840 pounds
RPM 400/480
Flywheel diameter 24 inches
Flywheel width 2-1/2 inches

2HP Nonpareil
Weight 615 pounds
RPM 420/500
Flywheel diameter 22 inches
Flywheel width 2-1/2 inches


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