Peter John Holm and the Western King

By Staff
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Just before Dan bought the engine. The gas tank is in the hopper. He didn’t use this tank on the restored engine.
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Dan has seen these Essex mixers with a choke device screwed into the inlet, but this engine starts on the second turn without even hand-choking it. The red cap is the gas tank filler. Two holes were cast into the base for the filler and the pipe to the mi
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The outer half of the muffler is an aluminum casting Dan made. Note the reinforcement at the pivot point in the rocker arm. It was broken here when he got the engine.
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The homemade crankguard. The hopper cover was not on the engine when Dan took these photos, as the pinstriping was done the day before.
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I have been collecting engines for many years,
and in the past few, I have begun to specialize in Wisconsin-built
engines. In the Fall of 2004, I was very fortunate to find and
purchase 25 mostly Wisconsin-built engines. Among them was my 5 HP
version of the Western King. Although this engine was mostly
complete, it needed a total restoration, which was completed over a
three-month period.

The first thing I did before doing any restoration work was to
build a truck to move it around on. Since the only known original
photos of the engine do not show a truck, I designed my own more as
a means of showing the engine than to try to duplicate something
that might have been contemporary to the engine.

The engine was then completely torn down and de-greased. I quit
sandblasting my engines several years ago and now clean them by
electrolysis, unless there is enough of the original paint to make
it worth saving. The process is basically the same as used to clean
gold and silver recovered from shipwrecks.

In this case, there was barely enough paint left on the engine
to identify the original color. I found enough paint on the
flywheel hubs and base casting to make a close match. I?made a new
gas tank to fit into the base of the engine. When I got this
engine, it had an external tank, but holes cast into the base made
it obvious that the engine was also designed to use an internal
tank. With the base mounted on the new truck, the rest of the
engine was assembled and repairs were made where needed.

The most unusual features of this engine are the valve chambers,
which are attached to the headless cylinder with pipe threads. The
exhaust valve is operated with a long rocker arm activated by a
camshaft just ahead of the crank.

A latch-and-pick finger assembly operated by the governor holds
down the back of the rocker arm on the miss cycle of this
hit-and-miss engine. The intake valve is automatic. The mixer is an

The spark plug is directly above the intake valve, which makes
the engine very easy to start. Most of these old engines were
brush-painted originally, so I brushed on two coats of color. I
have been using half-and-half boiled Linseed oil and mineral
spirits for a paint base, because it is so easy to use. Just brush
it on the clean iron and let it sit for 12 to 24 hours. Then take a
clean rag and wipe off the excess oil. The parts should sit for
about a week before filling and painting. I didn’t use any filler
on the Western King, although I could see that it had been used on
the flywheels and base.

I like the look of the cast iron myself. I very seldom spray
paint my engines anymore. I find runs and flaws in my engines with
the original finish and I am trying to duplicate this look.

Finally, I made the hopper cover and crankguard. I had no sample
for these and am not really sure if the engine even had a hopper
cover. The pinstriping is the finishing touch. The photo of the
original engine shows these stripes, but I am just guessing on the
color. I will be showing this engine at several Midwest shows, so
you may have seen it by now.

Contact Dan Dorece at: 4814 47th Ave., Kenosha, WI 53144.

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines