An Ohio man with a passion for gas engines adds a rare find to his collection
A 1918 22-1/2 HP Bessemer, patented in 1899.
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 engine.
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; email@example.com
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; firstname.lastname@example.org