The ‘Beat ‘Em All’ Engine

By Staff
article image

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.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines