An Odd Ball Rare Engine

An Iowa man finds a rare engine dating from the 19th century, and assorted contributors share their own engine stories and photos.

| January/February 1966

  • oddball-rare-engine.jpg
    Paul Gorrell with the odd ball rare engine found languishing in an Illinois barn.
  • Farm type engines
    Two Fuller and Johnson engines. The larger is 20 hp, the smaller on the ground in front of it is 1 hp. The fellows in the photo are Thomas Graves' son Ned Graves and friend Dwight M. Smith, both devoted gas engine enthusiasts. Courtesy of Mr. Thomas C. Graves, Tigard, Oregon.
  • Eclipse natural gas engine
    This is an Eclipse natural gas engine. Courtesy of George F. Kempher, Emporium, Pa.
  • Root & Van Dervoort engine
    This is a Root & Van Dervoort engine restored by Mr. Albert M. Cooper of Hampstead, Maryland.
  • Unknow tractor
    A tractor restored by Morris Blomgren of Siren, Wisconsin.

  • oddball-rare-engine.jpg
  • Farm type engines
  • Eclipse natural gas engine
  • Root & Van Dervoort engine
  • Unknow tractor

Paul Gorrell of Burlington, Iowa now is the proud owner of a most unique and rare gas engine. The finding and acquisition of this "odd ball" is a story in itself that should better be written up by Paul. This "Master Workman" engine was installed in a barn in Illinois sometime prior to 1900, and oddly enough nineteen years before that it was put to use on a line shaft that was belted to a corn sheller, a feed grinder and an elevator. Evidently it was used very little after that as it hadn't turned a wheel for the last 28 years. Perhaps the set-up was too congested inasmuch as a six hp Olds engine was added that could be moved about to run a sheller or grinder in more convenient locations. Paul was also fortunate to be able to buy the Olds pictured next to the double cylinder. Maneuvering this "two lunger" from its mooring proved quite a task. The original owners were unchartered "rock hounds," having collected several tons and packed them into horse stalls and alleys. There must have been some odd stones as Paul was told two horse stalls of rocks were sold at $200 each. Paul was still stuck with moving a lot of rock, cutting down trees and removing the engine pulleys. Nevertheless a very rare specimen has come out of hibernation and it sure proved a big attraction at "Old Threshers Reunion" at Mt. Pleasant where this picture was taken. Although he has some restoring yet to do Paul had it running many times. Certainly he is to be complimented for bringing to light such an odd exhibit.

May I speak for a multitude of hobbyists in saying that you are truly filling in one of the missing links in the chain of the old machinery enthusiasts. Not that steam isn't wonderful stuff, (I'm nuts about it, too) but the early types of internal combustion are also steps in the world's mechanical progress.

Fuller and Johnson Engines

I have a nice collection of single cylinder "farm type engines" (about 35 different makes) including a few rare birds ranging in sizes from 1/2 HP to 20 HP. Also have a collection of books and manuals on various makes.

I'd like to tell you about two of them, my Fuller and Johnson units. The larger is 20 HP. Serial #14061. 280 R.P.M., hit and miss governor, make and break ignition. Starts by using dry battery with low tension coil then changing over to timed Elkhart magneto.

The smaller one is 1 HP, Serial #19384, 500 R.P.M., hit and miss governor, make and break ignition using dry battery. Perhaps some hobbyists will recognize the original battery box which was supplied with these Fuller and Johnson engines.—Thomas Graves 

Natural Gas Engine

I have an Eclipse natural gas engine. On a thick cast brass name plate on the other side of the engine is the following information; Eclipse built by Myrick Mch. Co. Olean, N.Y., No. 476, Rev. 450, H.P. 4


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