The Very Rough Rumsey

| April/May 1997

12882 Mackinaw Road, Perrysburg, New York 14129

This story started several years ago when a good friend and fledgling engine collector, Art Crouse, was taking a load of scrap to the local junkyard. While there he saw what appeared to be an engine unceremoniously dumped on top of a large pile of scrap iron. Sensing that the engine's feelings had been hurt enough, Art offered the crane operator a few dollars to reposition it to the back of his now empty truck. After checking out and paying for his new find, he headed home wondering what to do with this new acquisition.

Art was relatively new to engine collecting and this one was missing many parts and in sad shape. When he got home he called to tell me about it. Art said he thought it might be an air compressor and it had Rumsey, Ripley, New York, cast in it. He said it was in such bad shape that it would make a nice ornament to plant flowers in.

Well, now my curiosity was really stirred up. I had limited knowledge of two early manufacturers of gas engines in Ripley, one being Charles Rumsey and the other being Alfred Huntington. Both engines are extremely scarce.

A fast trip down to Art's confirmed my suspicions. Art was gone but his wife, Linda, told me to look at it anyway. It was indeed what was left of a Ripley Rumsey gas engine, but looked like someone tried to convert it to an air compressor. It was missing the flywheels, governor, headplug, mixer, ignitor, intake valve housing, crankguard, throttle plates, cam gear with shaft and lobe, and all related linkages. Amazingly, the main bearing caps were unbolted from the engine but laid down in the crankshaft belly. This would be the perfect project to test my sanity. I had an over-restored engine at home that Art was interested in, and after some bartering the Rumsey was mine.

Upon getting it home, I called Dale Nickerson, a man whose name occasionally graces the pages of GEM. He has one of the remaining Ripley Rumseys and I knew he would be interested in hearing about it. As expected, he was very excited. He told me that he heard of someone who might have flywheels for this engine. Well, now it was my turn to get excited! The next night I called Roger Hayden of Springville and he said he had two flywheels that might fit this engine. I took my Rumsey up to Roger's and the flywheels fit perfectly. They had a raised number 5 cast on them, as did Dale's, and the governor weights were intact. A few more parts were brought out and they fit also. They were the governor collar, cam gear, camshaft and lobe, and headplug. I purchased these and asked Roger how he came by them.


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