Mystery Engine

| November/December 1977

  • The engine came from the woods

  • Passing boy who threw a rock at it

  • The engine came from the woods
  • Passing boy who threw a rock at it

240 Chapin Road, Hampden, Massachusetts, 01036

I would like to tell you about what I call the 'Mystery Engine'. So far, no one in our area has been able to identify it. The engine came from the woods near the Berkshire foothills. When I first saw it, the engine was almost over on its side as the elaborate cart that once carried it had long ago disintegrated. Several sizable saplings had to be moved before the engine could be loaded in my truck. Fortunately, I had enlisted the aid of a good neighbor and master mechanic, Vern Rodiman, and together with patience, and planks we managed to move the one ton engine in my half ton 51 G.M.C. pick-up.

The man who gave me permission to take the engine from his property said that someone had been there a week before and apparently tried to break up or cut up the engine for scrap. One of the lead flyballs on the governor had been sheared through as well as the bolts securing the bearing caps for the crankshaft. The torch man started to cut through the round connecting rod, but never finished. Perhaps he was frightened off or maybe the good Lord saw fit to clog the tip of the torch! At any rate, I wilt be able to save the engine as it wasn't too severely damaged.

The shield that houses the connecting rod and bearing had long ago been broken, possibly by some passing boy who threw a rock at it. 1 found eight pieces on the forest floor and have successfully welded them back together. The ninth and final piece is missing and I will have to make that out of 3/16' flat stock steel and join that to the cast iron. Our local Industrial Arts Instructor at the high school has been kind enough to cast two new fly balls for the governor so part of the restoration process is under way. The flywheels are 42' and have H-811 cast on them. In fact, all parts are prefixed with the letter H (if that indicates anything). The bore is 7' with a stroke of 11'. I feel it is an attractive engine with a nicely shaped water hopper which looks almost like an urn. There is an igniter and the bearing caps and the connecting rod are bronze or brass. The magneto is missing and so is that nice little brass nameplate that could tell so much-but that junky probably took it and added it to his brass scrap. If anyone could help me with the name, location, and any other information regarding the engine's manufacturer, I would certainly appreciate hearing from them.


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