Sheffield Tool and Supply Co.

SHEFFIELD GAS ENGINE


| March/April 1991



12 HP Sheffield enigne

Another view of the engine.

3286 Cramlington Drive, Gibsonia, Pennsylvania 15044.

As with most engine collectors, there seems to come a time when the collector needs to move into a larger engine, something in the 10 to 15 HP range. The club that I am a member of, the Northwest Pennsylvania Steam Engine and Old Equipment Association, located in Harmony, PA has a display of Pennsylvania made oil field engines that were unique to our state. I have had a longing to find one of these engines that was unique to the oil boom here in Pennsylvania at the turn of the century; this article is about such a find.

At our club, we have on permanent display a 15 HP Berry from Petrolia, a 15 HP Evans from Butler, a 15 HP Ball from Butler, a 20 HP Bessemer from Grove City, a 12 HP Price Brothers from Renfrew, a 15 HP Reid from Titusville, and my engine, a 12 HP Sheffield from Sheffield.

In the fall of 1987, while traveling over one of my favorite roads to go hunting north of Butler, I saw the find of a lifetime! From Route 38 near the small village of Hooker a large pair of flywheels could be seen coupled with an engine base. Over top of the engine was a leaning walking beam and ban wheel surrounded by small red maples and brush. I had passed by this engine for several years just chalking it up as another dead engine from a once great oil boom era. One day I decided to drive up the farmer's lane and meet the owner, Mr. Robert Saper, who gave me permission to look the engine over after I told him about our club and its functions. Well, I ran over to the engine, but found myself side stepping several electric cow fences and bramble thickets before getting to the engine site. The engine name, cast into the side of the bed plate, read SHEFFIELD, nothing else, just Sheffield.

The engine is a two cycle design with a cross head and hot tube ignition. The engine had a pair of mismatched flywheels, one with a counter weight about 40 degrees from the throw of the crank; the second wheel had the counter weight with the throw. The original builders plate was missing so, at this time, the actual horsepower could only be a guess, and yes, it was frozen. The cross head wrist pin brasses were intact with a partial brass half still connected to the connecting rod. The other half would be discovered during the removal of the engine. Some of the original paint was found under the grease that had leaked from the main bearings. It was a faded red, so I have painted it Regal Red with glossy black trim.

The only Sheffield that I knew about at this time was the village in England or a small village to the north of Butler, PA, approximately 100 miles. Sheffield, PA was made famous during the early white pine timber harvests followed by the early oil boom around 1890 to 1900.