The Engine That Saved My Life

The story of my one horsepower International and my Model T Ford and the events that followed.

| August/September 1998

  • One horsepower International and 1921 T Ford.
    One horsepower International and 1921 T Ford.

  • One horsepower International and 1921 T Ford.

Box 404 Rock Hollow Road R.R.1 Birdsboro, Pennsylvania 19508

My dad bought this engine for two dollars in 1928 from a butcher shop. The igniter was worn out then. This was one of my toys. I played with it until I was about ten years old.

At this time, my dad showed me the book that came with the 3 HP and the 15 HP International. From this book he taught me the four cycles of the gas engine.

These were the Depression years, and there would be no money spent on an unnecessary project like this new parts were out of the question.

My dad showed me how to adapt a T Ford coil and spark plug to make the engine run. I was about 10 or 12 years old by this time, and wanted to bring the engine to life. The only tools that were available were hand tools. I used a hand operated breast drill and a hacksaw. From a ' steel plate I sawed out the shape of the worn-out igniter and drilled the holes. To install the plug I put it through the plate and forced a T Ford SAE fine thread nut over the 18 mm thread spark plug. Timing for the ignition was with two tapped holes and button head bolts on the outer edge of the butter churn pulley. The ratio of the pulley is 4 to 1. The contact was a piece of fiber fastened to the lower bolt of the gear guard, and I used a piece of brass spring wire for the contact.

With the battery from the 3 HP IHC and a T coil and a little gas and used oil, I was ready for the big event. Can you imagine the charge I got when it came to life?