In the Beginning

Part One in a Five-Part Series: Restoring an Amanco 2-1/4 HP Hired Man

| January 2006

  • Hired Man
    The Hired Man, circa 1914-1916, as found with exhaust muffler balancing on the pipe.  
  • Stripped Components
    Engine and components after being stripped. Rusty and stuck from years of sitting, it took a lot of work to get the engine apart. Even so, it was very complete and a good candidate for restoration.
  • Piston
    Piston and bent connecting rod with end cap missing. The connecting rod was probably bent when someone tried to turn over the engine, not realizing how stuck the piston was.
  • Crankshaft
    Crankshaft showing rust pitting, particularly to the big end.
  • Cylinder Head
    The cylinder head showing the broken rocker arm.
  • Measured
    Showing how the crank was measured. The reground big end stands out.

  • Hired Man
  • Stripped Components
  • Piston
  • Crankshaft
  • Cylinder Head
  • Measured

Editor’s note: This article is the first of a planned five-part series by British engine enthusiast Peter Rooke on restoring an Amanco 2-1/4 HP Hired Man stationary engine. 

I arrived home with my first stationary engine to be greeted by my wife’s unhelpful comments about a lump of rusty old metal and questions about my sanity. She found it difficult to visualize the mound on the garage floor could eventually become a restored, gleaming, working engine: It would take me almost a year to complete.

I have always been drawn to stationary engines at agricultural events and fancied the challenge of renovating one. I put out the word among farming friends that I was looking for a full-size engine and was soon introduced to an enthusiast at a local show that resulted in an offer of a Lister to restore.

A visit to “Aladdin’s Cave” revealed an amazing collection of over 30 engines. He dragged out a Lister D, and Wolsey WD2 for me to consider restoring. While I was drooling over these he mentioned he had an open crank engine, but it required a considerable amount of work. He then produced a rather tired and rusty Amanco Hired Man. This was it, just what I wanted, small enough for my workshop and a real challenge to get running again. However, the scale of the work required was not really apparent until I had it home.



The Amanco is a 2-1/4 HP Hired Man, serial no. 129028. Depending on which table you read, the engine was made between 1914 and 1916.

The steps I have taken to restore this engine are those of a “first timer” and more experienced enthusiasts might well have had a different approach. For some of the restoration I chose to make new components, as I enjoy working metal. However, time would have been saved and my life made easier if I had sourced the parts from shows and other enthusiasts.