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.  

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.