By Staff
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Courtesy of Mr. Albert Fife, Milton, Ontario, Canada.
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O. C. Davis A. A. C. A. Engineer, with his 1929 Graham Paige Locomotive built exclusively for Paramount Pictures.
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Courtesy of W. C. Wally Getman, Route 2, Washougal, Washington
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Courtesy of Wilbur A. Skaar, 1429 Benton Street, Alameda, California 94502.
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Courtesy of Ellis M. Wellman, 1012 West 32nd Street, Erie, Penna. 16508.

Route 2, Washougal, Washington

My 5 hp. Mod. Z Fairbanks-Morse and sliding table saw-rig. Note
this engine runs backward. I reversed the cam.

Naturally being born before gas engines became popular, my first
love was steam engines. Although, soon after the advent of gas
engines (they had wheels too) I became addicted to them also.

In a few years, after this new power became more or less
perfected, every farmer had from one to three or four gas engines
used, among other things, for pumping water, grinding feed, sawing
wood and power for the family washing machine. Needless to say, it
soon became a thriving business. I took to these new machines very
readily and became quite handy at ‘tinkering’ them up when
they refused to run. The neighbors soon depended on me when having
engine trouble.

About this time my father bought a 11/2
Hp. Economy engine for our water pump. (The old windmill had blown
down) The pump-jack bolted to the base of the engine and the gear
meshed into the timing gear on the crankshaft. (no belt).

Wood being our fuel on the farm prompted me to rig up a saw-rig
with this engine for power. Lacking power, this arrangement was not
too successful. I started looking for more power. Finally a 21/2
Hp. United was located and bought. This act really started
something – I started buying engines. In those days few old engines
were traded in on new ones so the country was full of these
rejects. Being just a ‘kid’, most farmers were very lenient
in dealing with me. Engines were bought in a price range from fifty
cents to not over two and a half dollars. After buying several, my
Dad’s team was employed, hitched to a sleigh or wagon to bring
them home.

Due to these experiences, I was in the used gas engine business
up to my neck, before graduating from the country grade school. On
Sunday, the country for miles around was ‘scoured’ buying
discarded engines. Soon Dad’s new granary, instead of grain,
was full of gas engines all sizes, makes and shapes. Also had bins
full of belts, pulleys, feed grinders, saw mandrels, pump-jacks and
what have you. I worked out there every spare minute, cleaning,
tuning, installing new rings, grinding valves plus the necessary
small adjustments to make these old ‘babies’ really tick.
Business was good. I bought, sold, traded, stole, borrowed, lent,
had engines given and gave away engines anything to make a

At this time saw-rigs were not to plentiful and wood sawing was
quite a business. Nearly all farmers had timber and used wood for
fuel. Here was another chance to make some money. I just had to
have a saw-rig.

The 21/2 Hp. United worked fine sawing our
own wood with a small crew, but was far too small for custom work.
I traded it for a four Hp. Fair-banks-Morse and drew some
difference. This engine was in excellent condition and had lots of
power. After mounting it on trucks and installing a heavier
saw-shaft, I was in business. This little rig sawed hundreds and
hundreds of cords of wood and mostly oak. My price was seventy-five
cents an hour and I furnished the gas and oil big deal! It financed
my way through high school by sawing Saturdays and vacations. One
Easter vacation (two weeks) I sawed, for one man, twelve days. A
sleet storm had ruined his fifteen acres of oak timber and it was
all made into block-wood.

I’ll never forget this job. It was close and I went home
nights. Every night it took my mother about an hour to pick the
slivers out of my face. The limbs broken off by the ice weight made
lots of ragged ends and when the saw cut through one of these ends,
the slivers would fly like arrows. I – went back to school pretty
tired and worn out but I had over one hundred dollars in my

One day after many years use, my old Fairbanks ‘bit the
dust’. The spring on the igniter trip broke and the pieces
wedged the trip so that the ignition timing was far in advance. I
lugged the motion down, on a large cut and she hit way before dead
center. Things stopped with a bang and both flywheels laid on the
ground split in two pieces. A local blacksmith shrunk bands around
the outside of each wheel and I finished the season.

Soon afterward, the old stand-by was traded, straight across,
for a John Lauson (made in New Holstein, Wisconsin) 5 Hp. It needed
rings, there was no compression. I installed new rings-two in a
groove instead of one. This engine was well built and well
balanced. It would stand high speed and after the rings were seated
it proved to be very good power.

After high school, I worked for the Overland garage in town
summers and sawed wood with this Lauson engine during the winter.
(No garage business in winter in those days.) This engine was used
several seasons and it too sawed hundreds of cords of block-wood.
After I left the country, Dad sawed wood around the neighborhood
for years. It was sold at his auction sale when he retired from

Must say and firmly believe that if I had all the wood I’ve
sawed, at the present price of $18.00 per cord, I could spend the
rest of my days in Palm Beach living in first class style.

Wood sawing in Wisconsin in those days was similar to a
threshing operation. The rigs in winter, ran every day and sawed
the jobs along a road as they came. Each farmer pulled the rig to
the next place with a team of horses. Sometimes, we would find
ourselves six miles or so from, home until we reached some other
rigs territory. Then using another road, we would work back toward
home. I stayed with my rig, generally. Got up early each morning
and while the barn chores were being done, I filed saws carried
three, one for hardwood, one for pine or softwood and the other for
rubbish (boards and old fence posts).

By the time the chores and breakfast was finished, my rig was
ready and started. That started a long, hard day. Inside of an
hour, even in below zero weather, I’d be working without coat
or jacket. A rig was supposed to saw enough wood in one day to last
a cook-stove and two heating stoves a year. To do this, that saw
had to be in wood most of the time. We always had lots of good
help, generally six men.

After a day of this sort, a party of ‘shin-dig’ was no
attraction that feather bed felt darn good!

Maybe in the future, if this story stays down in your stomach
I’ll relate some of my ‘kid’ gas engine deals along
with some outside experiences on engines for other people.

I’m very well pleased with the new Gas Engine Magazine it is
a wonderful idea!!

This is my 18 x 36 Hart Parr which I have restored and

This is my 1929 Graham-Paige, straight eight, built for
Paramount pictures, designed by Baldwin Locomotive Works at cost of
$15,000. It has a rear platform that seats two, 2 seats on front
fenders, No. 8 cylinder exhausts through smoke stack, smoke is made
by diesel oil from a tank, controlled from dash. It has a
compressor and air tank for blowing whistle, bell rings. This is
well built with lots of brass parts which were once nickel plated.
I have new mohair upholstery material and expect to have it
reupholstered. The wood work is refinished, etc., and quite a bit
of chrome plating done. This is the most unique piece of equipment
I have ever seen. It has 4 speeds forward, one is extra low speed
for parades, etc. It has 4-wheel hydraulic brakes, double plate
clutch, which have been completely renewed. It has one shot chassis
lubrication system and considering its age, it is in the most
excellent mechanical condition. There is practically no rust. There
are numerous lights, inside and out. Most unique directional
signals and has large 4-barrel exhaust whistle which sounds most
realistic when traveling 25 to 50 miles per hour. It seats two in
the front seat, three in the rear seat and space for two jump
seats, two on rear platform and two on front fenders.

This is an Avery 18-36 H.P. Engine pulling a Case 36′ x
58′ Seed pea huller near Manhattan, Montana in November of
1926. Mr. Leigh Roush is the owner and Mr. Skaar is the operator. I
ran both ends alone. It is a 4 cylinder engine that ran nicely but
not as nicely as ‘Old Minnie’.

Pictured is my 16-30 Rumely Oil Pull, Type H. S/N 9956

My collection consists of 4 antique tractors and about 85
portable and stationary steam, gas and kerosene engines. In
addition to the previously mentioned tractors, I own a 10-20

Titan S/N TY 74923 and a 10-20 McCormick-Deering.

The most interesting steam engine is a 24 H.P. 7×7 Ridgeway with
automatic cutoff governor. This engine was especially built for the
mechanical engineering laboratory of Case Institute of Technology
in Cleveland, Ohio. It is equipped with a prony brake, indicator
motion work, inlet steam dome and a throttling steam colorimeter.
The plans were drawn for the engine in 1898 but the final purchase
not made until 1921.

The following engines are among my favorites in the gas engine

1. 10 H.P. Type M International Harvester kerosene engine S/N

2. 12 H.P. Witte diesel engine S/N D3019.

3. 24 H.P. Olin gas engine S/N 361. This engine was manufactured
by the Titusville Iron Works. It has hot tube ignition, hit and
miss governing, an auxiliary exhaust port and coaxial inlet and
exhaust valves.

4. 13 H.P. Jacobson gasoline engine S/N 9046. This engine is
rated at 274 rpm, is hopper cooled and has a side shaft.

The new Gas Engine Magazine is a boon to our hobby. Keep up the
good work.

NOTICE NEW CLUB On January 30, 1966 a meeting was held
in Portland, Indiana with 15 interested men attending to organize a
new gasoline engine and tractor club which is to be called the
Tri-State Gasoline Engine and Tractor Association. Anyone wishing
to obtain membership may do so by writing Morris Titus, R. R. 2,
Pendleton, Indiana 46064. Those owning gas engines or tractors may
obtain active membership. Dues are $2.00. Those not owning gas
engines or tractors may obtain associate membership. Dues $1.00.
Please support this new club and help the interest and preservation
of gasoline and tractors grow. Woody Turner, Pres. Morris Titus,
Sec.-Treas. R. D. 2, Pendleton, Ind. 46064

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines