The Search For My Grandfather’s Engine

By Staff

P.O. Box 6, Wilmington, Vermont 05363

I would like to locate a certain engine. It belonged to my
grandfather, who was a dairy farmer in Tunbridge, Vermont. I
remember it well: a 6 HP Jumbo, equipped with a Webster
magneto.

I do not know the serial number or the date that it was
purchased. I do know that it was purchased from the Sargeant Osgood
& Roundy Company in Randolph, Vermont. This company, known as
‘The Foundry,’ manufactured plows, cultivators, other horse
drawn farm implements and both circular and drag type wood saws.
The implements made by this company were known as
‘Randolph’ implements. The company also sold other farm
related machinery, made by other manufacturers, including the Jumbo
engines.

The Sargeant Osgood & Roundy Company went out of business
sometime after World War II. The buildings were purchased by the
Vermont Castings Company, manufacturers of modern wood and gas
burning stoves.

My grandfather owned several pieces of ‘Randolph’
equipment, including a cordwood saw.

My first memory of this engine was in 1929, when my parents
returned to the ‘home farm,’ where I had been born, while
my father was between jobs.

The farm buildings were all connected, in the old New England
tradition. There was a woodshed on the end of the house, where the
saw rig was set. The engine sat on a cement pad outside the
woodshed, in the corner of the barnyard. I remember its being used
to saw wood that year we lived at the farm.

I was always confined to the house when this operation was
taking place, so forcefully that I developed a fear of the engine.
I recall looking out through the kitchen screen door and seeing the
wheels going around without the usual exhaust noise and wondering
why. Obviously the engine had been shut off and was idling
down.

A grindstone sat beside the engine. It was powered via belts and
a jack shaft attached to the wall of the wood shed, from a small
wooden pulley attached to a wooden cross inside the large pulley on
the engine. Speed reduction was accomplished via large and small
wooden pulleys on the jack shaft and grind stone.

When not is use, the engine was stored by being covered with an
old sugaring off pan, that had been used to make maple sugar from
syrup, on the kitchen stove. A board was placed over the Webster
magneto, another over the large pulley, and an old tin sap bucket
placed over the small wooden pulley.

Once a year with the aid of planks, rolls, pry bars and some
profanity, the engine was moved across the barnyard where it
powered a Blizzard ensilage cutter. I believe this ensilage cutter
was also purchased from the Sargeant Osgood 6k Roundy Company. The
engine had been purchased to power the ensilage cutter, as the one
my grandfather owned before was not large enough.

This Blizzard ensilage cutter had a unique feature: a clean-out
panel at the base of the pipe that was often used while attempting
to run it with a 6 HP engine.

My family returned to live at the farm for a year in 1935. My
older brother and I were both big enough to help with the farm
work, including sawing wood and filling silo. I recall how the
water hopper would boil after running a load of corn through the
ensilage cutter.

The engine was not used to power the grindstone that year. With
two grandsons around to turn the crank, it was not necessary.

During Christmas school vacation in 1939, my brother and I
stayed with my grandfather and cut some firewood, using the engine
to saw it after drawing it from the woods with horses.

My grandfather passed away in 1940. At the auction of the farm
equipment, the engine was purchased by an acquaintance, Philip
Rogers, to be used for sawing wood.

My father acquired the farm and we moved there in 1942, after I
graduated from high school. My brother and I worked briefly for a
person who also employed Philip. The engine was set up to saw wood
and we used it a couple of times that summer.

The next year, Philip traded the engine to Loren Roberts of
Tunbridge, for a 4 HP Woodpecker, as he found this large engine
impossible to start alone in the winter. Loren traded the engine to
someone in Chelsea, the town next to Tunbridge. The last time I saw
the engine, Loren had it on a wagon pulled by a team of horses,
enroute to Chelsea.

I never saw but one other engine just like it. They were not
popular in that area. (The Woodpecker, sold by the Bracket and Shaw
Company of Somersworth, New Hampshire, was much more common.) The
other 6 HP Jumbo was on a farm in Tunbridge where I was employed
briefly in 1943 prior to going into the Army. It was set up to run
a ‘Randolph’ drag saw rig.

After I became interested in collecting one lung engines, I
tried to find this one. I learned that Jack Kennedy (formerly of
Chelsea, Vermont, but now a resident of Florida), who had an
extensive collection of engines, had owned it at one time. He told
me it still had the small pulley attached when he owned it. Jack
thought that he had sold it to a collector in Putney, Vermont. I
contacted him and learned that the Jumbo engine that he had
purchased from Jack was a 4 HP. Wrong engine!

Jack then told me a New York State man had purchased his
remaining engines when he moved to Florida, and this engine must
have been with them. He could not recall this person’s
name.

I am certain that ‘My Grandfather’s Engine’ is in
someone’s collection. I’d like to see it again, and if the
price is right, buy it.

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