Stuck in the Muck

A 4 HP Associated Farm Hand shines after years deteriorating in the dirt


| December 2006



12-06-012-DSC00007a-tla.jpg

1911 4 HP Associated Farm Hand.

My love for anything mechanical started way back when I was barely old enough to hold a wrench; I've been turning wrenches since I was very young, taking things apart just to see how they worked, then putting them back together. My mom used to call me a junk collector and said she felt sorry for the woman I would end up marrying because of all of my collectibles. Now my wife says I'm the only person she knows who will go to a junkyard and come back with more than I hauled off. Luckily for me, I usually find a use for what I bring home.

I am relatively new at old engine collecting. I have several friends who collect engines; I have been hanging out with them for years. Three years ago after attending our local show sponsored by the Eastern Antique Power Assn. in Chocowinity, N.C., the bug finally bit me, too. I purchased my first engine, a 1916 Associated 2-1/2 HP Hired Man from Stan Hudson, just after the show. It was not much of a challenge since Stan is the resident expert on all things engine related in this area. It already ran perfectly, so all I had to do was build a cart and battery box. At least I had my first engine.

As we all know, having one engine just makes us want more. (My wife is still trying to convince me there is a difference between wants and needs.) I couldn't stand it; I just had to have another one. My next purchase was a very nice, all original 1935 International LA. Once again the engine needed no work, so there just wasn't any challenge. I had seen Stan bring the really bad ones back to life and it amazed me.

Early this year, I purchased a 1910 1-3/4 HP Chore Boy from Pennsylvania that I found on SmokStack engine ads page. It was complete except for the mixer and there were a few parts that were rusted and stuck. I made a new mixer on the lathe from brass stock. The hardest thing was cleaning all of the old grease off the engine, but within a few days I had it running.

In the meantime, I followed my friends to more and more shows and the bug bit again. This time I wanted a larger engine. I really liked the looks of the Associated engines and the sweet way they ran, so I started looking around at the larger models in the line. I settled on the 4 HP since the size was perfect: I figured if I got anything much larger it would be hard to handle by myself.

Early Saturday morning, May 20, 2006, Stan and I left for Sanford, N.C., to attend the show at the Old Gilliam Mill Park. I was scheduled for a hip replacement the next week and knew it would be a while before I could attend any shows, much less work on any engines. Naturally, we talked about engines all the way there. I said I sure would love to see a big Associated at the show, but didn't think that was likely to happen since I hadn't seen many in our area.