The Johnson Iron Horse

| March/April 1994

  • Machine model

  • Wash machine models
    Photo B: left to right, Model X436 hand start and X417 foot start wash machine model with long choke cable and flexible exhaust pipe.

  • Machine model
  • Wash machine models

2 Donnacona Crescent Scarborough, Ontario M1E 3P9

My interest in engines began about ten years ago when visiting my sister in Milton, Ontario. It never seemed to fail that we picked the Labor Day weekend for our visits when the Steam Era Show was on. We could hear the steam whistles off in the distance, and I was told about the steam show in progress. After a couple of years I decided it was time to take a look for myself firsthand, and I was amazed at all the activity going on. I thought it would be great to own one of those engines.

I had always been somewhat mechanically inclined, so about five years ago I decided to take a night school course in small engines. Little did I know the bug had bitten. I started simply enough, overhauling all the small engines in my possession. After the first year I had run out of engines of my own, so I fixed a few for friends the second year, but soon even these were in short supply. By the third year I started buying any old engine I could find and fixing it. About this time I was working on

Briggs, as these were the easiest to find. A friend said, 'Why don't you get a cast iron one to work on?' Little did I know it, but that old iron bug had me hooked after I finished my first cast iron engine, a model 9 Briggs. I started to look for something different, and that's when I stumbled across the Johnson Iron Horse. It sure looked different with its angled cylinder and suction carburetor.

Well, now my collecting moved into high gear. Where would I find these engines that have not been made for over 40 years? The first year I found fifteen of them. Some were restorable and others would be a future parts supply. Most of the engines still had their engine tags attached, and this started the first of many puzzles what did all the model numbers mean?

The answer to this question eluded me until one day, while I was buying some Briggs parts, I asked the chap about Iron Horse engines. I asked him if he had any manuals on these engines. He did. He was kind enough to let me photocopy them. This not only answered my first question about the model numbers but started my collection of Iron Horse repair and parts manuals.

8/12/2014 5:57:49 PM

Hi, Great website. I have a question. I found a 4 cycle iron horse engine in my dad's garage. Model AR536, Serial# - 245818, HP - 1.34 Outboard Marine & MFG Company, Peterborough, Ont. What do I have and what is it worth? Thank you, Mike


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