A Rarely Seen Engine

| December/January 2000

Sheldon is a name we rarely see in the pages of Gas Engine Magazine. These engines were sold by the Sheldon Engine & Sales Co. of Waterloo, Iowa. In his book, American Gas Engines Since 1872, Charles Wendel notes the striking resemblance of the Sheldon to the Sandow engine made by Sandy McManus, Inc. of the same city. In Wendel's Power In The Past Volume 1, he also compares the Sheldon to the Smythe, and the Yale. All of the mentioned engines are examples of 'contract engines,' which would have been made by one manufacturer, allowing the supply company to attach their own nameplate and sell the engine under their name.

The illustrations on these pages are from a 1919 brochure. At the time, Sheldon Jr. gasoline engines were offered in sizes from 1? to 7 HP; throttle governing kerosene engines with Webster magnetos came in 3, 5, 7 and 8 HP sizes; Sheldon gasoline engines sold were 2 HP with battery or magneto, 3, 5, 7 and 9 HP; Sheldon kerosene engines sold in 3, 5, 7 and 9 HP sizes, all with Webster magneto.

In addition, Sheldon sold a wide variety of other useful equipment for the farm including corn shellers, feed cutters, feed and grain mills. Also on their price list were household conveniences such as washing machines, tank heaters, and sanitary toilets. Concrete mixers could be purchased as well.

Another Sheldon product available was a '3-purpose auto attachment' to enable the buyer to make a tractor out of a Ford car. For $200, a wholesaler could purchase the attachment that would make the car a tractor that put no strain on the Ford car and could travel from 2? to 12 miles per hour.

Sheldon light plants had been in service for 10 years at the time this circular was printed. The light plants were available in sizes from 35 to 125 lights and the wholesale prices ranged from $157.50 to $370.00.

The photographs on these pages are of a Sheldon engine formerly owned by George Archer, which sold at his April auction in Des Moines, Iowa. (See GEM September 2000 for article about that auction.)