The 24-Year Itch

By Staff
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'Right: The cylinder bore, a cozy home for rodents and storage for their food. '
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'Below: The piston, rod and valves pulled from the Majestic. '
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'Right: The trucks before restoration, which had previously been used to support a large piece of machinery. '

In the May 2004 issue of Gas Engine
, an article was published about making a suitable
mixer for a Majestic engine without altering the remaining “water
faucet” intake pipe. Since the design has proven successful after
running the engine at several shows, we would like to share “the
rest of the story.”

The current owner, Charles Stewart of Altamont, N.Y., inherited
the Majestic from his father in 1979. No history prior to that time
is known. Charles sold it to a local engine collector who simply
put it in a shed and did nothing with it until 2003, when he sold
it back to Charles. All those years in storage it sat propped up
against a wall.

When the engine was brought to my shop for the mechanical
restoration, it was lightly stuck and the hopper was full of
insulation and mattress stuffing from a recent rodent residence.
After cleaning it up, the piston was removed and, as the picture
shows, the cylinder was the food storage area for the residents.
Fortunately, the bore was not ruined as it usually is when
subjected to these conditions.

While I was proceeding with the mechanical work, Charles was
building the trucks in his shop. He is actually quite capable of
doing the complete restoration himself, but he always has so many
irons in the fire at the same time. A joint project between the two
of us kept us both focused on getting it done during the winter
months. The trucks he used were originally under a large piece of
machinery. The rotten wood was discarded, the axles were narrowed
(which involved lathe work to machine a taper on each of them), and
some nice donated oak skids made a sturdy set of trucks.

Once the piston was out, the valves were lapped in without
removing the cylinder head. We freed up the rings and reused them,
as well as rebuilt the igniter. John Wanat, a GEM
advertiser, made the new, round gas tank. My brother, who enjoys
woodworking, made the battery box from some old wooden crates that
Charles had.

The completed trucks were delivered to the shop where the engine
was waiting. After lowering the engine onto them, the gas tank, gas
line, battery box and wiring were installed.

For the initial start-up, Charles was not present. My objective
was to have the governor, timing and mixer all adjusted and
operating properly so it would start and run as best as

I believe he was satisfied by the smile I witnessed when he did
see and hear it run for the first time. It was taken to some shows
in 2004. At the Hanford Mills Museum Antique Engine Jamboree, East
Meredith, N.Y., on Sept. 11-12, we belted it up to a buzz saw and
sawed some slab wood for a demonstration.

So, after owning the Majestic in 1979, not owning it for 24
years, then re-acquiring it in 2003, it has finally been brought
back to life to be enjoyed by the old iron community.

There is another chapter in the saga. Charles wanted to
compensate me for what I did. No money changed hands, but we did
change ownership of some things, which will be written about

Contact engine enthusiast Bob Naske at: 2059 State
Highway 29, Johnstown, NY 12095.

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines