The Superior Engine

| December/January 1998

  • 25 HP Superior engine
    Harold R. Keller, Rt. 1, Glouster, Ohio 45732 writes about this 25 HP Superior engine and its manufacturer's history in this issue. Photos by Ruth A. Van Schoor.
    Ruth Van Schoor?
  • Early Superior Engine

    Ruth A. Van Schoor

  • 25 HP Superior engine
  • Early Superior Engine

Rt. l Glouster, Ohio 45732

Around 1889, Irish immigrant Patrick Shouvlin started a machine shop in Springfield, Ohio. He had a good head for mechanics and put his knowledge to work repairing oil field equipment. With the increased uses for oil, and its discovery in the area, his business flourished. In the 1890s his shop adopted the name Superior. The demand for Superior engines and related equipment made it obvious that a better marketing plan was necessary. Arrangements were made with a fledgling business named the National Supply Company to be distributors of Superior engines, and probably related equipment.

By 1914, Superior was building engines from 2 HP to 100 HP, both stationary and portable, as mine was.

Although building mostly gas engines at this time, Superior was well aware of the advantages of diesel power. Invented by Rudolf Diesel several years earlier, Superior was well aware of the advantages of diesel power. Invented by Rudolf Diesel several years earlier, Motoren Fabric Deutz, among others, were instrumental in its early development. among others, were instrumental in its early development. By 1930, Superior was building diesel engines for oil field use, of a truly superior design.

The engine on the front cover came home to southeastern Ohio in 1934, brand new from the factory in Springfield. Many years ago, I knew a man who hauled it home. At the time, I did not have the foresight to ask him how he hauled the engine home. The engine proper, mounted on the original iron wheels, weighs close to 9,000 pounds. The clutch assembly is a strongly built and heavy piece, weighing about 1,200 pounds. The reversing mechanism and outer bearing are also strong and heavy, so the total weight of this engine is close to 11,000 or 12,000 pounds. It seems likely that back in 1934, it took two trucks to haul it home. The trip alone was probably an interesting experience.

This engine replaced a steam engine, powering an oil field drilling rig. I imagine this new engine made the owners feel pretty sassy, no longer having to fire a boiler for power.


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