Rare 3 HP Abenaque Brought Back To Life

| September/October 1994

R.R.#1 Cabot, Vermont 05647

The last part of August '93 I had nearly finished restoring my 3 HP Abenaque. Looking through the kitchen window, my wife noticed that for the last 10 minutes or so I had been leaning on an old maple tree with my eyes fixed on the engine. I was reminiscing on what I had started with a few years before, and also admiring the lines and mechanical ideas of the inventor, John Ostenburg, who had patented the engine in the mid-1890s.

The story begins with an engine friend of mine, Jim Fehl of Fort Edwards, New York, stopping by to talk to a farmer, Mr. Kilburn of Greenwich, New York. The conversation got onto gasoline engines and in a while Kilburn asked, 'Ever heard of an Abenaque engine?' Jim said that he had, and Kilburn said, 'We used to have a small one that went through the barn fire in '53.'

Talk went on for a while and Jim was about to leave when he asked, 'What ever happened to that old Abenaque'? 'Well, I think that it's still back of the shed over there,' Kilburn replied. It was, buried in the ground with a small part of one flywheel exposed.

I'm sure Kilburn wondered why anyone would want it, but he gave Jim permission to dig it out and take it away.

Word got to me through another collector, Lee Houghton, that there was a 3 HP Abenaque in New York. I had a few Abenaque engines and had been interested in the company for 15 years or so, but had never seen or heard of a 3 HP.