The 'Beat 'Em All' Engine

| May/June 2001

  • Waterloo Gasoline Engine

  • Waterloo Gasoline Engine

Route 1, Box 18, Rosalie, Nebraska 68055

I purchased engine #4618, manufactured by the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company of Waterloo, Iowa, from a man in Wisconsin who had hauled it into my area for another party. But upon seeing it, since it was truly a basket case, the other fellow did not want it and sent the man my direction. After three or four days of talking, I ended up with it. That was in August 1976. Even though the cast brass nameplate was there, I still did not know what I had. After a lot of hard work, we finally got it running. At some real early date, the ignitor quit, a timer strap was put on the frame, and they used a spark plug and a buzz coil for ignition. Before I sandblasted the engine, I took off this timer strap and, to my surprise, underneath was a swatch of the original paint and striping as bright as the day it left the factory. I ended up cleaning most of the engine by hand with gasoline and a hand steel brush. By doing so, we found faded areas of striping but no detail. I made charts of this while cleaning and filled in the vacant areas. Am very sure that I'm 95% accurate.

The only pieces of information that I have been able to find on the engine are from a 1904 David Bradley and Co. catalog from Council Bluffs, Iowa, which indicates that it was made only in the three HP size, at 250 rpms, weighed 900 lbs. and cost $150. (Patented on July 8, 1900, #656289 and October 7, 1902, #710647).

It was also made adaptable for a walking beam pumping system which was never on my engine. This attachment brought the weight up to 1,000 lbs. and the price up to $175.00. All tanks and fittings were in place and ready to use without delayso says the book. The only other information was from Alan King of Radnor, Ohio, who found an advertisement in a 1907 American Agriculturist Magazine.

I have shown this engine quite a bit through the years, but always within a hundred miles from home. I have had several collectors of more national renown stop by to see it and all are of the same opinion. 'Never saw one before and without any doubt it's probably the only one in existence.'

Being of the single flywheel design with a pin in the spoke of the flywheel for the connecting rod and the offset cylinder, it was not a very well balanced engine. At 250 rpm it tends to be a real mover and shaker. So, I rather doubt that very many engines of this design were actually manufactured.


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