Out of Hibernation

In the Same Family Since New, a 1911 4 HP Waterloo Boy Comes out of Hibernation and Back out to Play

| May/June 2002

Behind every engine lies the potential of a unique and interesting story. The challenge lies in our ability to discover and substantiate an engine's history. This particular engine is unique in that it's believed to have been in our family since new, and as such its story certainly warrants documenting for the enjoyment of other old engine collectors.

About 35 years ago this engine, after a long term of service, sawed its last log and was put in a storage garage. Everyone in my wife's family knew the old engine was in the storage garage, but none of them had any real interest in it.

Fast-forward to the late 1990s when I married the current owner's daughter - and also happened to catch rusty engine fever.

I pulled the Waterloo Boy out of storage and carefully brought it into our shop so I could get it running. I say carefully because it sat on two sets of very rotten and cracked wood, allowing the engine to actually lean to one side. I was concerned the engine would fall over from the vibration and torque once it was running. I did get it running - that was in 1998 and then it sat while 1 fixed up some other engines, a couple of old garden tractors and a large two-cylinder John Deere tractor.

The winter of 2001-2002 seemed like a good time to complete the project. The engine was moved to a more appropriate shop of ours with the equipment to handle a heavyweight such as this. One of the reasons it sat for three years was getting some reasonably priced hardwood for the skids.

In the fall of 2001 while participating in the Hanford Mills Engine Jamboree, I had a conversation with the mill foreman about making some skids for this engine. After giving him the dimensions of what I needed he told me it was no problem and quoted a reasonable price. He also told me he had some seasoned ash logs waiting to be put to use.