Courtesy of Mr. Albert Fife, Milton, Ontario, Canada.
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 'buck'.
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 pocket.
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 farming.
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 painted.
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. 7x7 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 collection:
1. 10 H.P. Type M International Harvester kerosene engine S/N D3039.
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