The Almost Forgotten Engine

By Staff
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R. D. #1, Box 757, Easy Drive, Lucinda, Pennsylvania 16235.

The story begins in the summer of 1991. I was showing some of my
neighbor friends my engines and a friend of one of them said he had
an old engine something like mine, but in real bad shape. I asked
him if he cared if I looked at it. He said it was for sale, and if
anybody could get it to run, it would probably be me.

In a couple of days, I went to his farm in Lucinda,
Pennsylvania, (my hometown) and behind his barn we found the old
engine. It was a 5 HP Hercules made Economy in really bad shape. He
said it had been behind his barn for about three years, but before
that, it had sat in an open field since about 1951. It had been on
his grandfather’s farm, up on a hill with no buildings ever
around it.

This engine had originally been used to power a large fan to
blow air into a coal mine shaft. The mine shaft caved in a long
time ago and the fan fell into the cave but the engine survived.
The mine shaft closed in 1951–the last year the engine was used.
It had been sitting outside for forty years.

The engine was definitely stuck; the valves were rusted and
almost gone. The cylinder had about two quarts of water in it and I
had it rebored and new sleeves installed by my son-in-law, Matt
Smerker, on a 36 inch swing lathe at Betts Machine Shop in
Rouseville, Pennsylvania. The valves, from a 454 Chevy engine, were
modified to fit the head. The mag bracket and other parts came from
Hit & Miss Enterprises (the mag bracket was the first one they
had ever sold) and these parts really worked out well.

After working on the engine all summer, it was started and runs
well. It ran almost all day on the Fourth of July, 1992, at a show
held by our engine club, the Coolspring Hit & Miss Engine
Society, at Wolfs Corner, Pennsylvania. I made the truck for the
engine from red oak timbers and the wheels I acquired from a junk
yard. My wife had a picture of my engine put on a sweatshirt for me
for Christmas 1992 and it turned out great! It also has my
grandsons’ names below the picture, Justin (8), Callen (4), and
Kyle (), naming them as my crew.

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