By Staff
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Dubuque Gasoline Engine
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John Knepper's restored Dubuque engine
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The Details of Knepper's Engine
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The Details of Knepper's Engine

2280 Jaeger Drive, Dubuque, Iowa 52001

The Dubuque engine is a rare engine made in Dubuque, Iowa, by
the Dubuque Engine Company. Even though I live here in Dubuque, I
was unable to find information about the company or its product
until I contacted the Dubuque Historical Society and Curator, Roger
Osborne. Roger was able to find one 1911 article about the company
and a picture of its factory. No old company sales literature or
picture of the engine has been found so it is not known if it was
available with engine trucks, its price, or how it was painted,
although some bright red paint was found on the dirty side of the
crank guard. The company was in operation – or at least, existed on
city records – for only five years between 1910 and 1915, which may
help to explain why this is the only engine known to exist in this
area. I was lucky enough to buy the engine from another engine
collecting friend in Bellevue, Iowa, who found it in the Dubuque
area ten years ago and left it unrestored but in good original
condition, with no parts missing, damaged, or worn. Only one
product was manufactured by this company – that being this 1? HP,
500 RPM throttling governor 4-cyde engine with spark plug and
battery ignition. The engine uses a 34 inch Model T Ford piston,
connecting rod that was cut and lengthened, carburetor, and Ford
spark plug, all believed to be the original engine parts. Our local
engine club, ‘Hawkeye Vintage Farm Machinery Assn.’ in
Dubuque, is happy this engine was found and brought back home again
for local displays. Anyone knowing the whereabouts or additional
information about this engine please contact me.

The following history of the Dubuque Gasoline Engine Co. is
reprinted with permission of Roger Osborne and the Dubuque
Historical Society, in whose archives it was found. The photo on
the next page is reproduced from the article.

This concern is an exclusive manufacturer of gasoline engines.
The company was established and incorporated in 1910. The factory
which has 5,000 square feet of working space, is modern in every
detail and has been fully equipped with the latest and best
patterns of machinery. The first class mechanics who are employed
in the building of these engines have been selected for their skill
and practical knowledge. Two progressive salesmen place the engines
with local dealers throughout the country. The products this year
will reach in excess of $75,000. The firm maintains that by
centralizing their efforts upon one article they can make that
article better in every respect than by being burdened by several
different kinds and makes of machinery, and their product is a high
grade standard engine, designed for shop and farm, used for pumping
water, running a cream separator, churn, washing machine, etc. The
makers aim to put out an engine that will do the work at the least
possible cost, that is simple, durable, perfectly governed and easy
to operate.

Their motto is: ‘Nothing is good enough that could be made
better.’ The quality of their engines remains long after the
price is forgotten. The Dubuque engine is the best value obtainable
and is placed in the front rank of reliable makes of gasoline
engines. This company sells only to the local dealers, believing
that the advantages are many to the users of their engines. The
Dubuque Gasoline Engine Company guarantees all of its engines free
from defect in material and workmanship during the life of the
engine, and while owned by the original purchaser and will replace
free of charge any part that may develop a defect in material or
workmanship, when returned to the factory. Guarantee does not cover
cases of abuse or neglect. The officers who control the affairs of
this company are: J. J. Schreiner, president; Anton Zwack, vice
president, and S. C. Irvine, secretary and treasurer.

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines