‘Mumbo Jumbo’ or ‘A Dream Come True’

By Staff
1 / 2
Before restoring.
2 / 2
After restored

3201 Burnett Road, Suwanee, Georgia 30174

I did it again!! In the April 1992 issue appears an article
about a 4 HP United I found in an old pasture, and the owner gave
it to me. After solving all the usual problems, it ran great. The
thing is, all my friends and acquaintances said I was lucky and it
would never happen again, but read on.

Before my retiring from General Motors, I had never even seen
one of these old engines, but I talked daily with a co-worker,
Curtis Spence, of Ball-ground, Georgia. I then got interested in
old iron through another friend.

Over the past few months I managed to add a few more engines to
start my collection, but then things began to slow down and it
looked as if my luck had run out. Weeks passed, still no engines
were located. Then on a Friday night I had a dream and recalled
what my old friend Curtis had said a couple of years back about an
old ‘something’ that has two wheels, sitting in the woods
back of his house. Needless to say, early Saturday morning I gave
Curtis a call. ‘Yeah, there’s one of them here, my
granddaddy used it to saw fire wood years ago.’ I made
arrangements to see this engine later in the day. Upon arrival at
the Spence home, Curtis immediately showed the engine to me. This
Nelson Brothers Jumbo was in more than pitiful condition, but after
some discussion Curtis said the magic words, ‘You can have

A section was busted off the head, leaving a hole big enough to
insert a baseball. All the springs were missing, the valve stems
were almost rusted away, the carburetor was in sad shape, butterfly
and its valve stem were completely rusted away, the primary fuel
tank was rusted beyond repair, the piston was stuck, the water
hopper was full of mud, the governor weights were all present but
broken, the Webster magneto and ignitor were beyond repair, and the
cylinder had frozen and cracked from here to yonder.

First I disassembled all external parts, began the cleaning
process and located people to repair all broken parts, then ordered
new rings.

The head was repaired and new valve stems made and the governor
balls re paired at a local machine shop. Another welding shop
repaired the cracked cylinder. The piston came loose with little
effort. Next I rebuilt the carburetor as best I could. New slide
rod and make shift springs were acquired. Once all the repairs were
made and reassembly finished, a spark plug and battery were used
for ignition.

Then came the big day. On the first turn of the flywheels,
nothing happened. After some carburetor adjustments, the next turn
brought a puff of smoke. Then after some adjustments of compression
timing, on the next turn of the flywheels she fired and began to

I have always been told that good things happen to those who are
patient, and I now believe that dreams do come true. I have
enclosed a before and after snapshot. This is a gasoline/kerosene
engine and originally used a K-60 Webster magneto and ignitor. The
engine brass plate reads: Jumbo, Model DA, 5 HP, No. 3374, Nelson
Bros. Co., Saginaw, Michigan.

I understand not much information is available on these engines.
If any of you readers can tell me the year built, correct color,
etc., etc., I would be grateful. I am now going to bed early,
hoping to have another dream come true!!

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines