Red’s Engines

An Ohio man with a passion for gas engines adds a rare find to his collection

| June 2007


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."