Oil Field Engine News

Notes on the Reid Company


| December/January 2002



Makers of 1/4-scale and 1/8-scale Reid engines

From left to right: Ben Faulkner, Margaret Reid, Jack Reid and Harry Homer, of Burns & Homer Engine Company, makers of 1/4-scale and 1/8-scale Reid engines.

The following 'Notes about the Joseph Reid Gas Engine Company,' comes from a letter written by Margaret Reid, daughter of John Reid, Reid Gas Engine Co. founder Joseph Reid's nephew.

'My reminiscences of the Joseph Reid Gas Engine Co. of Oil City, Pa., begin in the 1920s. My father's office was in a large brick building located on Main Street beyond the present Electralloy Company.

'Sometimes on Saturdays I would go with my father to the ''shop'', as he called it. As he worked at the big wooden roll-top desk, I would draw pictures or write him notes, which I delighted to drop through the slots in the ends of the desk.

'If he decided to check on progress in various parts of the company, we would go through the machine shop where I was intrigued with the shiny machines smelling of oil. Occasionally a machinist would be working and I could watch metal 'curls' coiling off whatever he was tooling. These were sharp and I was warned not to touch them.

'Then we might go through the scrap yard on our way to the woodworking building. I loved the smell of the wood and was happy when the wooden shaving 'curls' and sawdust had not yet been swept away. I could play with those curls.

'The foundry was, to me, a huge, forbidding place, but once or twice I was taken to watch the molten iron being poured into molds. It was unforgettably exciting to see the blazing stream and the explosion of sparks.