Thanks To GEM For Help With Aermotor Restoration

| September/October 1990

  • 2  HP Aermotor
    Rare?? Early 1900's single flywheel 2 HP Aermotor restored by Buck Reiley and Larry Alexander, shipped by boat from San Francisco to Port Hartford (San Luis Obispo), then by narrow gauge Pacific Coast Railway to end of line at Los Olivos, CA. Pumped wate
  • Oscillator magneto
    The authentic 'striker' oscillator magneto built by Jack Chandler of Magneeders.
  • Pump jack
    Pump jack side with the old wine cask for water cooler that was on it.

  • 2  HP Aermotor
  • Oscillator magneto
  • Pump jack

P.O. Box 163, 440 Dania Avenue, Buellton, California 93427

I have only been interested in restoration for about three years, and your magazine is really a 'GEM', in a lot of ways besides its name. Larry Alexander and I have completely torn apart and restored first a 1929 Model 'D' John Deere tractor, second a 1938 Model 'B' John Deere tractor, third this (1910 or earlier) single Aermotor Pump, fourth we just got a hold of a 1939 Model 'L' John Deere. All of this stuff was in pretty 'sad' shape so we tore it completely apart, with the help of your Gas Engine Magazine and the ads for a source of scarce parts. Plus the two cylinder mag and cooperation of the local John Deere dealer in Santa Maria, California, we were able to restore these treasures of another era. I'm 75 years old myself. We would like to share with your readers and our fellow craftsmen the picture of this old single flywheel Aermotor that we dug out of an old shed at a railroad pump station at Matties Tavern in Los Olivos, California.

The history of this Aermotor single flywheel pump set up is pretty accurate. The round house and water tower (which still stands) were located at the old Hotel and Stagecoach Stop at Matties, in Los Olivos, California. The Pacific Coast Narrow Gauge Railroad was built in the 1860's and 70's from Port Hartford, California (now Port San Luis Obispo, California) for a distance of approximately 65 miles to the end terminus at Los Olivos, California. From there the passengers went by stagecoach across San Marcos Pass to the farthest point of the Southern Pacific Railroad that reached Santa Barbara, California about 1890. They thought the Southern Pacific was to cross the Pass at San Marcos and tie in to the Pacific Coast Railway. The stage coaches left from Matties Hotel to Santa Barbara daily from 1886 until 1901. Then the Southern Pacific Railroad took another route up the Coast by way of Point Conception, Azquello and Surf so it bypassed the original route. The Pacific Coast Railway continued operation until 1937. Then Alphonso E. Bell bought the right of way. They tore up the tracks and Speed Kirchoff went to Japan and sold the steel to Japan for wartime materials. The right of way is now owned by Union Oil of California.

The interesting thing about this scarce single flywheel Aermotor is the fact that two of them came by ship from San Francisco, California to Port San Luis Obispo and by the railroad company to this terminus at Los Olivos, California. A friend of ours in Los Olivos located the other one up at Happy Canyon by Figueroa Mountain about 10 miles from the railroad terminal at Los Olivos. We figure by the old brochure we obtained from Aermotor and the ads in it that the vintage of this Aermotor is about 1906?? We used cutting torches to remove it from a boarded up pump house and took it from there. The head on the motor was removed and valve guides bored out and new ones installed. The valves were made in Phoenix, Arizona. The rings came from Otto Bros. on the east coast and I went to Carthage, Missouri, and talked to Jack Chandler at 'Magneeders' about the oscillator, magneto and ignitor that he made for us. The small wine cask was what they were using in the 30's. We had a heck of a time just getting that back in condition. The pump that you see is original but I took a 3' copper tube and made a new suction set up on the bottom as it was pumping from a 6' casing in the well. We set the stroke at its shortest point on the adjustable gear at 6 inches so it pumps about 2? gallons of circulating water per minute. It was made to run on kerosene or distillate. The small gas tank capacity will run it for about 36 hours or more. It is an 8 cycle so it turns all those times and then the governor drops the trip and fires the engine. The cylinder piston pin and piston skirt are all oiled by the regulated top drip oiler seen on motor. The rod and crankshaft are open and lubed by a on each main bearing, grease cup on the rod and oiled rag sump


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