United Engine Is a Workhorse

This 1-3/4 HP United engine has been working hard since the beginning of the 20th century.


| December 2012/January 2013



United Engine

This 1-3/4 HP United engine has been working hard since the beginning of the 20th century. 

Photo By John M. Gaul

The following is a summary of the working life of a 1-3/4 HP hit-and-miss United engine that was built in Lansing, Mich., around the beginning of the 20th century. It was purchased used by my dad’s older brother in 1908 from a blacksmith shop in Earling, Iowa, where it was belted to an overhead line shaft that drove a forge, grinding wheel and drill press. My uncle bought the United engine from the blacksmith to run his corn elevator, pump jack and a home-built concrete mixer.

• In 1915 my dad bought the United from his brother to drive a pump jack and my mother’s washing machine.

• In 1926 Dad built a 20-by-30-foot hog house with an attached 14-by-36-foot feeding floor. All the concrete for this hog house and feeding floor was mixed with a home-built rotary mixer driven by the United engine.

• In 1927 Dad built an addition on his house in which he set a 32-volt Delco Remy engine/generator and 16 glass jar batteries. This new Delco Remy engine generator, besides keeping the batteries charged, became the new prime mover for the washing machine; however, the concrete foundation and floor of this 8-by-14-foot addition was mixed by the United.

• In 1929 Dad built a two-story 16-by-36-foot combination two car garage/workshop. It had a dirt floor but a concrete foundation. The same mixer was used for this job and powered by the United engine.

• In 1930 Dad built a 14-by-36-foot combination cob shed, feed and calf shed next to his hog feeding floor. All the concrete for the foundation was mixed by the United.