The Sounds of Life

By Staff
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The large exhaust pipe and air-start compressor are visible in these views of the massive 60 HP engine.
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The cylinder head made by Ted’s father and brother, which Ted will restore back to original.

Ted and Tom Hawk have done their share of restorations: From
cars to tractors to their current project – the Queen Anne
Victorian house Ted was born in – they have a vast repertoire. But
perhaps none have meant as much as when they restored their
father’s circa 1911 60 HP Bessemer enclosed crankcase engine.

Their older brother Jack’s first memory of the engine is from
age 10. Their father – with World War II and a possible attack on
their hometown Canton, Ohio, looming – moved to the country and
bought the Bessemer in Bath, N.Y. Ted’s family moved 30 miles east
of Canton, where the engine generated power 24 hours a day, seven
days a week, for their machine shop and five other farms. Neighbor
Russell Sanor, who lived about a mile from the engine, told Ted
that when the engine was under load it would rattle the plates in
his wife’s china closet. It ran this way for 23 years.

“You could hear the engine from four or five miles away,” Ted
says. “It was running when I went to sleep and running when I woke
up. It has such a distinctive, low sound that I used to think it
was Indians.”

From 1964 to 1967, the engine was run on weekends and evenings.
“The engine disturbed everyone from sleeping when it first started
up,” Ted says. “It also prevented them from sleeping when it was
shut down.” The Bessemer was retired after 1967, spending the next
29 years outside.

Ted was interested in restoring the engine because it had been
such a big part of his life; it has been in his family since he can
remember. And he is trying to get it back to its original state –
original meaning before his father made changes to it.

His father and brother Jack made the head on the engine after
the original broke, so Ted purchased an original head as well as a
magneto. At present, Ted is running the engine using a Ford coil
and points operated off the center of the flywheel. He still needs
to install the original head, find gears to connect the magneto to
the governor shaft and make a bracket to hold the magneto. He needs
to find the original governor valve and linkage to the governor.
Currently, the engine has a throttle valve from a Bruce Macbeth
engine. He wants to install the original air-start tank and
starting engine. The air-start engine runs a regular air
compressor, but Ted discovered that the original ran with a
2-cylinder engine (one cylinder running the engine, the other
pumping air).

While this restoration is far from complete, there is no
questioning the significance of this engine: It is a spectacular
sight to behold, a behemoth among the masses.

Contact Ted Hawk at: (330) 525-7481; gold642@yahoo.com

Gas Engine Magazine
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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines