Once In A LIFETIME


| January/February 1996



Hamilton gas engine

Maureen Gosz

photos by Maureen Gosz, 1024 S. Park View Rd., Manitowoc, Wisconsin 54220

I would like to share with you the story of my recently restored Hamilton engine. This is the first time I've ever written to GEM, so please bear with me. It all started in June of 1994, at the Eagle River Antique Steam and Gas Engine Show, Eagle River, Wisconsin. I arrived on Friday morning, and proceeded to set up my engines for display. After registering and saying some howdy-dos to some friends and familiar faces at the show, a very good friend of mine, and a friend of my family for many, many years, came over to say hello and talk. After the usual how have you been and what's new, he informed me that he was selling his home, in favor of a new smaller one. He said he would not have the room for all the stuff he had collected over the years and he'd decided to sell some. He said he had something that I might be interested in. I said I'd come as soon as possible to have a look.

Well, about a month later, I finally got there. You know how it goes, you never have time to do the really 'important' things first. Once there, we went out to the garage and he showed me this engine under a large work bench. I couldn't believe my eyes.

Now, I've never seen a Hamilton engine before, but I realized right away that this was a very scarce engine. It was sitting on the floor, and was partially disassembled. The engine was in very nice original shape, and he assured me all the parts were there. He had started to restore it, but just couldn't find the time to do a good job and finish it. He told me the engine had been in his wife's family since new. When purchased, they built a little shed on the end of the barn to house it. It was mounted on a concrete base, and it powered a line shaft, which in turn powered various equipment in the barn. A shaft was extended through the side of the shed to power a saw rig to circle wood for winter. The flywheel on the sideshaft side of the engine was used for an anvil to peen rivets on sickle sections for the grain binder. Those little round head rivets make for some interesting little 'dinks' in the flywheel face!

The engine didn't see much use after 1920a tractor was favored to do the work on the farm, so the Hamilton remained idle for many years. Luckily, the engine remained protected in the little shed, until my friend 'rescued' it. He informed me the fuel and water tanks were completely rotted away beyond repair. The good part is, he kept all the piping and sweated fittings from the original tanks.

After he showed me the engine and all the parts, I just knew I had to have it! He said that he knew I would do a good job of restoring it, and that he could see it run, and that I would never sell it. After looking at a big bunch of other parts and 'neat' stuff, a deal was struck and the engine was mine!