My Old Witte Engine

| March/April 1994

301 Meridian Avenue Taylors, South Carolina 29687

I am a person who likes to obtain items that are alike, or at least similar to ones that I have owned or had contact with in earlier years.

As a boy on a farm in the foothills of North Carolina, I remember an old engine in a shed we called the Mill House. In younger years, I remember being afraid of it while it housed a corn mill. I spent a lot of time in this building because there was a workbench with wood working tools, all hand operated, that I loved to putter around withmaking such things as wooden toy airplanes.

As I grew older, the mill was disposed of, but the engine remained. It was now used to pull a tilt table saw, cutting tree trunks which were hauled in from the woods and cut into firewood.

Sometime ago I began to remember this engine and the fascination it held for me. Not knowing much about the engine collecting hobby, I saw a listing of the book American Gasoline Engines Since 1872, by C. H. Wendel, which I acquired in July, 1988. Having remembered someone calling the engine 'The Witte,' I eagerly looked through the book for maybe a picture or description of one. Sure enough, I found a picture that looked just like what I remembered from my boyhood about the Witte engine. Since then I've learned that that engine, in all likelihood, was a 4 HP Witte headless on skids.

I started going to shows, answering ads, and inquiring everywhere I thought there might be a chance of locating one of these jewels. Finally, on July 6, 1991, at the Old Threshers Reunion at Den-ton Farm Park, Denton, North Carolina, I found a 2 HP Witte headless engine for sale. Though this one was smaller, it at least looked like the one I remembered.