Unusual Engine: One Minute

One Minute engines are rare finds today

John Nixon (shown at back) is the owner of this engine, which he bought more than 30 years ago.

John Nixon (shown at back) is the owner of this engine, which he bought more than 30 years ago.

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The photos this month come from Rick Phillips, Tulsa, Okla. He saw this engine at the Ozarks Steam Engine Association Reunion in Republic, Mo., in September. The engine belongs to John Nixon, Ozark, Mo. 

John bought the engine at an estate sale more than 30 years ago, but he doesn't know the make of the engine. It is a very unusual engine, in that while it is running, the cam on the governor actually stops until the speed of the engine drops. It then re-engages to operate the valves and trips the ignitor. The engine is a vertical, is hopper-cooled, four cycle, and has an ignitor fired with battery ignition. The parts numbers all start with the letters "GE."

Here at Farm Collector, we didn't have to look too far to solve the mystery, as our circulation director, Arnold Miller, has an identical engine in his collection. It was made by the One Minute Manufacturing Co., Newton, Iowa. The company was established in 1901, and built washing machines and engines. In 1913, One Minute merged with the Bergman Manufacturing Company, also of Newton. In my copy of Millard's Implement Directory (Kansas City, Mo., 1923), the company is listed under "manufacturers" but not under the gasoline engine heading. The company remained in business into the late 1940s, according to C.H. Wendel, but its eventual disposition is not known.

Arnold says he knows of only six One Minute engines of this style (including John Nixon's). Finding one is quite rare.

The last word: We received a note from Farm Collector subscriber Henry Struchtemeyer, Mayview, Mo., pertaining to the November "Vintage Iron" column. Henry has a 1923 copy of Dennelley's Red Book, a catalog of southwestern manufacturers, distributors and business services. Dennelley's has a listing under the gas and gasoline engine heading for Unit Motor Co. (Mfrs.), with an address of 2615 Walnut, Kansas City, Mo. That is a different address for the company than what is listed in the Unit engine company ad that Dale Wetzel has. One possible reason: Advertisers sometimes use different addresses in different ads as a means of determining which ads are pulling the most business. Thanks to Henry for sharing that information. FC 

A 25-year collector, Wayne Walker is the marketing director and a columnist for Farm Collector.