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The Aermotor was completely covered with grease, which Mark says
probably served as a good preservative. "It didn't run when I got
it, but it would turn over," he says. "It was in excellent
condition; it still had the yellow pin-striping." New to the hobby,
he followed a beginner's instincts and removed all the grease and,
in the process, the paint. "Today I would have removed the grease
gently," he says, "exposing the original finish."
Mark's engine spent its working life pumping water on a farm.
When he got it, it had a bent detent lever and a knock in the
connecting rod crank bearing. His dad helped him pour a new bearing
and straighten the detent lever. He painted it in a shade of
burgundy, and topped it off with a coat of polyurethane. Today,
nearly a century after it was built (no records are available, but
Mark's best guess is that his engine dates to about 1912), the
Aermotor runs like a top. "It's in excellent condition," he says.
"It runs well, and it has excellent compression, and no leaks. I'm
sure it puts out 3 hp at least."
It remains one of Mark's favorites. "What I like about Aermotor
is the way, on the 2-1/2 hp model, the name is cast in the
flywheel. And you can see all the working parts," he says. "You can
see how the engine really works."
Barry, an engine collector for more than 30 years, is equally
enthusiastic about the line. "It has its own design," he says.
"Aermotor is a little bit quirky." Barry restored his 2-1/2 hp
fluted-hopper engine just in time for the Mt. Pleasant display. It
required a fair amount of work. "The piston and valves were stuck,"
he says. "You could tell there had been water in the cylinder. It
had been run a lot; all the pins were worn. I made new valves for
it and had to knock the piston out of the cylinder. The cylinder
isn't perfect, but it's adequate for running the engine at shows."
A few days before loading for the show, the engine ran for the
first time, much to Barry's relief. "It is always a great feeling
when a project comes to life," he says.
A native of Iowa transplanted to Tennessee, Barry is partial to
Iowa-built engines and smaller engines in general. "They're easier
to move around," he says. He also keeps an eye out for
engine-related literature and memorabilia. "I may be more
interested in it all now than I was originally," he says. "There's
just so much to learn about the engines and their history."
For more information:
Mark Churchill, firstname.lastname@example.org
Barry Tuller, (731) 824-0923; email@example.com
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