Red’s Engines

By Staff
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A 1918 22-1/2 HP Bessemer, patented in 1899.
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Bob “Red” Moore with the Arthur Colton engine he acquired after it was taken out of a mansion where it ran a central vacuum system.
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The attached Roots blower.
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Detail of the Colton engine’s cast base.
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The flywheel side of the Arthur Colton engine.
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The company logo on the tank.
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A Nelson Bros. 3 HP Jumbo.
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4 HP Cushman Cub.
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3 HP Cushman Bean.

It’s called a hobby: A man’s interests and his ability
to acquire a collection of things will occupy him for many years.
Bob Moore (Red, as everybody calls him) has been overly involved
with a couple of interesting and challenging hobbies. Now he has
turned his interest toward gas engines.

Red and his wife, Linda, have been bitten by the bug. “We’ve
already got our reservations for shows this summer,” Linda says,
“one being at Portland, Ind.” Portland is well known as one of the
largest parts meets and shows in the country. “We’re also going,
hopefully, to Rushville, Greensburg, Brookville, and the
Lawrenceburg F.A.R.M. show. This will cover most of our local shows
that we like to attend,” Red says.

Red has been busy working on several gas engines he’s acquired
over the years. “I like to buy the rough engine and try to get it
running, then painstakingly tear it down and reassemble it to look
like new,” he says.

As all engine lovers and restorers will admit, this is the
challenge, especially if parts are broken, missing or just worn
out. It takes a certain person to accomplish this task. But part
making and restoration comes somewhat easy for this hobbyist.

Red is the owner/operator of Valley Welding in Harrison, Ohio.
Red and Linda have operated this facility for 37 years and have
come across unbelievable challenges. Red has built several high
dollar streetrods and has rebuilt many, many Cushman collector
scooters. Now he is deeply involved with the gas engine hobby and
is finishing a “big boy,” so to speak, a Bessemer 22-1/2 HP field

The purchase was a result of the 2006 Portland show and got Red
highly involved with the engine hobby. The engine was completely
restored by the previous owner, but Red and longtime friend Ray
Harper took the huge mass of iron one step further. A new trailer
was purchased just for the Bessemer and the exhaust system was
reconstructed. With some fine tuning and learning the unusual ways
of an old, set-in-its-ways oil field engine, the duo had it up and
running in a short time. “Once we got all the bugs worked out, the
old engine ran like a clock,” Red says. “Man it is big.”

Though nowhere near the Bessemer in size, the purchase of an
Arthur Colton engine was a lucky find. Through a friend, Red heard
there was an engine torn out of a huge estate in Cincinnati. It was
headed for the scrap yard unless someone got to it first. This
engine was used in the mansion for a central vacuum system and it
now powers a Roots blower. “And we thought the central vacuum
system was one of the conveniences invented and used in homes
during our time,” Red says. “This engine was made in Detroit around
1904 and is a 1-1/2 HP 2-cycle engine.”

The blower was made by the Roots Blower Co. in Connersville,
Ind. “A little cleaning and adjusting and the engine came to life
and still has plenty of vacuum,” Red says. “Now all that has to be
done is to get it ready for show.”

Red has also restored several other engines, all of which were
in very poor condition. But with the help of Ray the two have put
together quite a collection.

To begin with, Red found a Nelson Bros. 3 HP Jumbo engine at a
swap meet and thought it was in pretty good shape (only to find out
the crankshaft was broken and many other parts were missing or
totally worn out). With a lot of searching through magazines and
talking with other collectors the two enthusiasts were able to
locate another crankshaft.

“After fitting up the crankshaft and doing all the fine tuning,
we could see some progress,” Red says. “It sure is a sweet running
engine.” Now the 3 HP Jumbo sits proudly on its newly built truck,
and reflects the sounds of a finely tuned piece of equipment
obviously associated with a well done restoration.

Being an ironworker and running a very successful metal
fabricating business, Red is also making custom-built trucks for
his engines.

Two other engines these fellows have restored are 3 and 4 HP
Cushman Cubs. As you can see by the photos, these guys are out to
do the job correctly and they sure have done a great job.

Bob “Red” Moore enjoys discussing engines with anyone with
similar interests. Contact him at: (513) 367-0006;

Bob Crowell and his wife, Linda, travel to antique farm
machinery shows throughout the Midwest promoting steam, gas engine
and antique tractor magazines. Contact them at: P.O. Box 103,
Batesville, IN 47006;

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