Circa-1920 5 hp Julien Engine

A Canadian-built Julien engine possesses similarities to a Waterloo and ties to the U.S.

| October/November 2016

julien 5 hp

Julien 5 hp engine.

Photo by Christian Williams

Circa-1920 5 hp Julien

Manufacturer: LaCie Chs. A. Julien, Ltee., Pont Rouge, Quebec, Canada
Year: Circa 1920
Serial no.: NA
Horsepower: 5 hp (est.)
Bore & stroke: 5-1/2in x 10-1/4in
Weight: NA
Flywheel: 33-1/2in dia. x 3in face
Ignition: Igniter and magneto ignition
Governing: Hit-and-miss

Engine collector Travis Benner, Blue Grass, Iowa, has a knack for finding interesting engines, a point proven by the circa-1920 5 hp Julien he purchased some 10 years ago in Canada. “It came from Bob King’s estate up in Canada. He passed away, and a friend of his was looking to help his widow settle the estate, and took care of some of the engines. He’d always kept this engine back because of the original paint on it. He really thought this was the one he wanted to keep,” Travis says of the Julien.

According to Travis, Bob found the engine in its original installation, mounted inside a metal building that had kept water and snow off the engine. This, and the fact that the engine was covered in a hard cake of dried oil and grease, helped preserve the original paint. “It took many careful applications of mineral oil and Marvel Mystery Oil with paper towels and rags to ease the old layers of grime away,” Travis says. “What is left shows multiple colors that blend together to create almost a shadow or 3-D effect on the flywheel spokes. Someone really took time to dress up this engine before it left the factory,” Travis says in obvious admiration. “I have always felt that early artists who had difficulty selling art on their own may have found their way to companies including engine manufacturers. The detail and skill preserved in the original paint of several engine companies showcase the skill of these unknown artisans.”

When Bob found the engine there was a hole cut in the side of the building so belting could be run outside, but it is unknown what sort of implement or implements it might have run.

The Waterloo connection

Not a great deal is known about manufacturer LaCie Chs. A. Julien, Ltee., Pont Rouge, Quebec, Canada, or how many engines they built. The company’s roots apparently go back to the late 1870s when Charles A. Julien and a business partner acquired furniture maker Bussieres and Beaudry Co., Ltd., in Pont Rouge. By the turn of the century the company was prospering, having turned to manufacturing threshers designed after a Julien patent.

According to information posted on engine historian Denis Rouleau’s Julien engine registry in 1910 Julien started selling badged engines manufactured by Waterloo Gasoline Engine Co., Waterloo, Iowa. This arrangement apparently lasted until about 1915-1917, when Julien engines began to be built at the Pont Rouge factory. Unfortunately, the Julien concern’s good fortunes didn’t last, and in 1928 the company went bankrupt.