Oilfield Oddity: Kootz and Stroehman Perfection Pumping Power

Wayne Spencer’s Kootz and Stroehman is an oilfield engine that proved to be an interesting challenge for this collector.


| April/May 2015



Koots & Stroehman oilfield engine

This circa 1920 Kootz & Stroehman is a unique oilfield engine.

Photos by Bill Vossler and Nikki Rajala

Manufacturer: Cooper-Bessemer
Year: Circa 1920
Horse Power: 7 HP
Bore: 7-inch
Stroke: 7-inch
Weight: 2,400 pounds
Flywheel diameter: 30-inch
Flywheel width: 3-5/8-inch
Ignition: Wico EK magneto
Governing: Hit-and-miss

Wayne Spencer probably didn’t realize his penchant for the odd would get him into unusual situations.

Such was the case when Wayne went to pick up a couple of engines in Minneapolis. “A friend heard of a guy who wanted to get rid of a couple of engines, a 3 HP Fairbanks Z and a 5 HP Jumbo,” Wayne recalls. “When I went down there with my brother, we found that the engines were in various parts in three different places, five miles apart. The owner knew where everything was. A few were in his apartment, but he didn’t have much room there, so some were where he worked. We had to use a freight elevator to go up and get the cylinder and flywheels for the Jumbo and bring them down. The rest were in a storage building. Everything was there except for the valve keepers. I still have both of those engines.”

Getting started

Wayne got into the hobby through his dad, who started collecting tractors in the late 1970s. “When you start going to shows and auctions and swap meets with your father, pretty soon you bring home a couple of washing machine engines, a 3/4 HP Maytag Model 92 and a Briggs & Stratton FH, and you’re hooked, right?” he laughs. He was only 10 years old when he brought those two engines home after a show.

“At that time, I was already tinkering with lawn mowers and stuff,” the 50-year-old Zimmerman, Minnesota, machinist says. “I was screwing around with engines, trying to make go-karts at that point. From then on it never really stopped.”

His next step was walk-behind garden tractors. “I’ve got a couple of Standard Twins, a Viking Breadbox with a big hood over the engine, a Centaur, and a Beeman Flex-Tred, both of which I purchased in Lakeside, Montana, where my dad bought a Cleveland Crawler, and most of another one. I was into walk-behinds for a while before I got into the farm engines.”