WATKINS MARINE ENGINES


| August/September 1986



Watkins marine inboard engine

8350 Newbury St., Cincinnati, OH 45216

The engine pictured here is a Watkins marine inboard engine, built in Cincinnati, Ohio, in approximately the year 1905. The Patent Pending number is 1895, the model number 85. It is 3 HP, 1-cylinder, 2-cycle, and has a Model T Ford spark plug coil and spark plug. The engine is water-cooled, it weighs approximately 40 pounds, and stands about 32' tall.

This engine was given to me by my very good friend, Bill Behr. Bill always knew I was interested in marine engines. One day he came to me and said, 'Hey, 1 know where there's a good inboard engine, but it needs a lot of work.' So, I said, 'Let's have it, Bill, where can we get it?' He came back to me about a week later and said, 'I'm sorry, George, but the fellow said you could have it, but there's a few strings attached to it. He said he always wanted to hear the engine run and started up.' And I said, 'Well, Bill, I'm sorry, if I'm going to do all this work, I don't want any strings attached.' 'Well,' he said, 'I'll tell him about it.'

So I forgot all about the engine. About a month later, Bill came to me and said, 'Hey, look what I got for you.' I said, 'What are you talking about?' He said, 'Come on out to the car.' And, what do you know, he had the marine engine! So I said, 'Boy, it looks like I'm going to have to do an awful lot of work.' Bill, being a mechanic, said 'I think you can do it. You've restored a lot of Briggs & Stratton and all and this doesn't look too complicated for you. I'll try to help you out on the ignition system.' (Bill worked in a shop and he was a starter and generator distributor man.) So I said, 'O.K., Buddy, when shall we start?' He said, 'Oh, we won't rush into it. Just hold off for awhile.'

I took the engine home and, to this day, I never will forget the look on my wife's face. I knocked on the back door and said, 'Hold the door open for me, will you?' She said, 'What in the name of sense have you got there another piece of junk!' I said, 'No, no this is a boat engine. I'm going to restore it. I'll take it down to my workshop and I'm going to work on it.' She said, 'Well, let me remind you that we have a wedding coming up and I don't want to be an engine widow and doing all this work while you're working on that.' I said, 'No, just forget about it for awhile. Bill and I intend to restore this, but in our leisure moments.' She said, 'Yeah, I've heard that one before.'

Well, I did keep my word. I put the engine on my work bench and went about my business. But I do have to admit that I cheated a little bit here. I could see that the engine needed a few parts. The water jacket looked like someone had worked on it with a ball-pen hammer. I figured that, with the wedding that was coming up in about three months (the oldest daughter was getting married) and in between this I could chase a few parts and maybe get a little bit of labor done. So, I went about doing this. Of course, I never touched the engine. I just more or less looked at it every time I walked into the shop.