Post Card Engine: Part II

By Staff
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In the August issue of GEM, we featured some post card engines
sent to us by regular contributor John Davidson, Bristol, Wis. John
actively collects engines and related literature, and among the
turn of the century post cards he sent was one showing an engine
we’d never seen. The post card gave no information on the
engine; no name, no date and no location. In some measure the
engine had the appearance of a crude, home-built special, possibly
even a kit, a few of which were available in the early part of the
20th century. By sheer chance, the identity of the engine’s
builder has been discovered.

At the Coolspring Power Museum’s Summer Expo and Flea Market
in Coolspring, Pa., this past June, I was looking at Jim Zook’s
2 HP Shugers engine when John rushed up almost breathless, asking
if I’d seen the copy of the post card photo Jim had acquired
from Ben Ridings. I hadn’t, and when Jim showed me the photo,
what I saw seemed almost too remarkable to be true.

This second post card (shown above, with John’s post card
photo inset for comparison) clearly shows the other side of the
same model of engine we featured last issue. Ben Ridings has the
original, and as with John’s, no dates appear on the card. But,
as the picture above clearly shows, the post card has notations as
written on the original photograph, and careful examination shows a
nameplate on the side of engine.

Hovey Manufacturing

The engine’s manufacturer was evidently one Joseph Hovey of
Florida, Ohio, and if the serial number plate on the cylinder is to
be believed, this engine was no. 89 of an unknown total. Close
inspection shows the photograph was taken ‘By Turner’ of
Napoleon, Ohio. Napoleon is approximately 25 miles southwest of
Toledo, Ohio, and Florida is about 10 miles southeast of

While clearly showing the same engine model, this photo appears
to show a different example. Note, for instance the fuel and
cooling tanks. The fuel tanks in both photos appear identical, but
the cooling tank on the engine in John’s photo is square, while
the one in Ben’s photo appears to be nothing more than a milk
bucket adapted to engine duty. Further, Ben’s photo shows what
looks to be a cartridge-shaped muffler exiting to the right, while
John’s photo shows no muffler at all, only a pipe, and exiting
to the left instead of to the right.

Attempts to find further information on the company and its
products have met a dead end, but with any luck someone out there
knows more about this interesting engine.

Contact Gas Engine Magazine at: 1503 S.W. 42nd. St., Topeka,
KS 66609-1265, or e-mail:

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines