Canadian Gold: Goold, Shapely & Muir

A rare 6 hp Goold, Shapely & Muir gets a deserving restoration.

| April/May 2016

Circa-1902 Goold, Shapely & Muir 6 HP
Manufacturer: Goold, Shapely & Muir, Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Serial no.: B101
Horsepower: 6 hp @ 400 rpm
Bore & stroke: 5in x 6in
Flywheel diameter: 35in
Ignition: Battery and igniter
Governing: Fuel (injected w/no throttle plate)

Canadian engine manufacturer Goold, Shapely & Muir (GSM) was based in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, just 90 miles northwest of Buffalo, New York, and 170 northeast of Detroit, Michigan. Yet even with that close proximity, GSM engines are a surprising rarity in the States. Marketed as Brantford “Ideal” engines, they were made in a number of styles and horsepower ranges, including tank-cooled horizontal singles and opposed twins, and later hopper-cooled vertical and horizontal singles. The company was formed in 1892, and engine production is believed to have started in 1899 (a surviving photograph dated to 1899 shows a horizontal 6 hp Ideal powering a line shaft in a bakery) with a line of tank-cooled horizontal singles fueled by manufactured gas or gasoline, with the gasoline engines employing a unique fuel injection system.

By all appearances GSM prospered, expanding its line of engines and introducing tractors about 1907, at first using its own 2-cylinder opposed engines and later using bought-in 4-cylinder inline Waukesha engines. Hard times hit the company in the 1930s, however, and GSM closed its doors about 1934, a victim of the Great Depression. Interestingly, while several sources suggest a relatively large production of engines, survivors – especially of the early tank-cooled models – are few, and of those, we’d wager none have as interesting a story as this circa-1902 fuel-injected, tank-cooled, 6 hp horizontal belonging to Alan Hough of Brucefield, Ontario, Canada, and believed to be the earliest known surviving GSM.

Alan’s engine

“It came from a meat processing business in northeast London, Ontario,” says Alan, who lives just 50 miles or so northwest of London. Alan acquired the engine about 30 years ago when it and another 6 hp GSM were in the possession of a nearby village. A local official, knowing of Alan’s interest in engines, asked if Alan might want them. “I thought they were a Type K, a copy of a Fairbanks-Morse made by Goold in the 1920s, so I wasn’t interested,” Alan recalls, adding, “I was after the fuel-injected type.”

The matter might have ended there, but some years later a different representative of the village called, asking if Alan was still interested. It was at that point he realized the engines in question were early fuel-injected horizontal singles. “They were going to auction them off, probably for scrap,” Alan says, “so very shortly I got them out of there.”

Both engines were seized from sitting outside, and each engine had one broken flywheel from being dumped on a flatbed truck. Yet even so they were remarkably complete, still retaining their unique governor and fuel injection system. At this juncture, Alan knew nothing of the engines’ early life, yet by a quirk of fate, some 15 years later he discovered how at least one of the engines, the circa-1902 6 hp, had come into the village’s possession.