The Twin-Cylinder Novo Engine

A twin-cylinder 12 HP Novo engine sees the light of day for the first time in 40 years.

| August/September 2002

12 HP Novo Engine

Shawn Halle's 12 HP Novo, serial number 55117, comes out of hiding after nearly 40 years in a barn in West Virginia. These engines were first introduced in 1914, and this one is believed to date from 1914 to 1915. Shawn's good friend Steve Smith, left, and Shawn's dad, Normand Halle, right, help to move lumber out of the way as the Novo is moved into position for its final removal from the barn.

In the spring of 2001 we put on our first engine show here in Buckhannon, W.Va. It wasn't very big, but at least it was a start. At one point during the show a man approached me with some pictures of an engine he had. I looked at the pictures briefly, and they showed a Novo twin-cylinder 12 HP engine. I had never seen a twin-cylinder Novo, and I didn't know much about them.

We talked a little, and he told me the Novo was in a barn where it was belted up to a gristmill. After awhile we discussed a price for the engine, but we never settled on anything. I got his name and phone number, and after he left the show I didn't give much more thought about the Novo -for awhile.

A few weeks went by and I started thinking about the man and his Novo engine, so I gave him a call. He was quite brief with me, telling me he had decided to keep the motor after all. I suddenly felt I had made a big mistake not following up on this potential find.


Months went by and still I couldn't stop thinking about the Novo. I talked to a good engine friend, Chester Bill from St. Marys, W. Va., asking him if he knew anything about Novo engines. He was excited to hear about the 12 HP twin-cylinder Novo, telling me it was certainly a really nice find.

Christmas was soon approaching, and still no engine. Right before Christmas my wife had surgery. Because of that she never had a chance to try and find me a Christmas present, so she decided to call the Novo's owner one more time and try and buy it for my Christmas gift. She tried to buy the Novo numerous times, but frustrated by not being able to make a deal she finally gave up.

Some months passed, and one Sunday I was thinking of that Novo engine again, so once again I made the dreaded phone call to try and purchase the engine. The owner and I talked briefly, and this time he invited me to come see the engine and the grist mill in the barn where it sat. I was very excited, and with my wife alongside I went rushing off to see this long-awaited motor and grist mill. I decided to call my dad, Normand, and on the way out we picked him up so he could come along.