Tractor Men Lured To Engine Hobby

By Staff
1 / 2
2 / 2

8370 Kelsey Road, Batavia, New York 14020

Three years ago we took an L. I. John Deere, that we restored
from bushel baskets of pieces, parts and a bare frame, to the
annual steam show in our area. The compliments and comments on the
job were plentiful and to say the least, we were proud as peacocks
of our project!

There was only one slight problem; the row we had our tractor in
was the row next to where the gas engines were. All we knew was
that these were old gas engines, we had no idea what made them
tick. Some looked massive and heavy and we saw several people
puttering to get theirs running.

The sounds coming from that area were much different than any we
had heard, almost luring or calling. We had to investigate. One
gentleman came up while we were looking and started talking about
his engines. He asked as he pointed to one, ‘How many
horsepower you think this one is?’ Knowing that I once used a
Remington 700 chainsaw that was 7 HP, I said, ’20 HP.’ He
chuckled and said, ‘1 HP.’ Then he pointed to one about
three times the size of the first one and said, ‘This one’s
only 4 HP.’ This was it! As we went down the rows of engines
asking questions and looking at all the different models, we had
forgotten about our tractor for the rest of the afternoon.

None of the engines were for sale, but a veteran told us about a
5 HP Hercules that had a fine bark several years ago, about 40
miles away from us. We went that weekend to bring it home. Barring,
wedging and straining, we learned fast about the weight of these
animals. Finally loaded! After a brief explanation of how it was
supposed to start, we were on our way home. The gentleman gave us
these final words of wisdom, ‘If ya’ can’t get it
running’,go see Lester Rosenthall.’ We left and got home
and both agreed we would get it going. The day lingered on,
blisters on both our hands, we didn’t worry about the blisters
because in a few more vain attempts of spinning those flywheels, we
knew that our arms were going to fall off and we wouldn’t need
to worry about the blisters!

The engine was still on the truck and we both agreed to take the
engine to this Lester guy. Even the steering wheel on the drive
there seemed to be frozen, from our arms aching so much, but we
made it. We talked and told him our troubles. He looked things over
and went and got some tools, and an old box of assorted spark plugs
He made some adjustments to the mag, trip mechanism, carburetor and
changed the plug. Then he told us to spin ‘her’ over a
couple of times. Our arms said no, but our hearts said yes! Three
times over and to our disbelief it was barking with a loud sweet
sound that sent us into engine land!

It’s been three years since that day and we’ve had
numerous makes and models, numerous newly-learned swear words, and
more skinned knuckles than we care to talk about. Oh yeah, and
those wonderful buzz coils, who needs a stun gun when you have
these? I still recall a few times when I thought my teeth would not
stop chattering!

We have always wanted a ‘Julian’ and this year our
pursuit paid off. Rebuilt, painted, new skids and woodwork and
decked out, the R and V and the Julian are our latest conquests and
we are proud as peacocks!

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines