Corn-stalk-covered engine no small task for enthusiast

| October 2006

While discussing our plans for an upcoming show in southeastern Indiana, Joe Lambert asked me if I had ever seen the letter he received from the W.T. Rawleigh Co. in Freeport, Ill. Joe had written the company in 1965, two years after he purchased his Rawleigh-Schryer engine.

Joe had asked a fellow worker at the factory if he knew of an old engine he could buy. The man said there was one in a nearby field covered with corn stalks, and he was sure the farmer would sell it if Joe could get it out.

The old Rawleigh-Schryer was used many years ago to power a buzz saw and was abandoned after many hours of hard work cutting wood in the once spacious wooded field. Now it was simply a piece of yard art that usually got covered with non-important materials that needed out-of-the-way storage. "I paid $27.50 in 1963 for the little giant of an engine and worked the good part of a day winching it into my truck by myself. Needless to say my family was not very happy with my purchase, as that kind of money spent for such non-essential things was not a priority within the family budget," Joe says. "I've never seen such big roaches living in an engine, I finally had to pour gasoline all over the engine to get rid of them."

Once the engine was in Joe's shop, he found the head was cracked in two different places and needed some delicate welding - an easy task for a man who was a welder for many years at the local metalworking factory.

Today, Joe's finely tuned Rawleigh-Schryer 6 HP engine sits proudly on the specially built trailer he purchased just for his collection of gas engines. As you can see, the engine looks very nice, with good attention to detail. And I might add it runs as good as it looks.

C.H. Wendel's American Gasoline Engines Since 1872 states, "For 1911, the Rawleigh-Schryer line included hopper-cooled engines in 2-1/2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 HP sizes. The similarity to Stover's engine is obvious, but why wouldn't it be? Paul F. Schryer had been with Stover for many years - in fact, his experiments on gas engines started way back in 1884. A disastrous fire in 1916 wiped out the engine factory and that ended production of the Rawleigh engines."