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1 /4-hp machine

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Paul Marr of Pomeroy, Ohio, wanted his 'little, red engine' - a rare 1/4-hp Carlisle & Finch - so much so that five years ago he traded his restored early-1920s 2-hp Ottawa for it.

The Carlisle & Finch came from Bill and Doris Grueser of Meigs County, in southeastern Ohio, and had belonged to Doris' dad, who lived in Hartford, W.Va., just six miles across the Ohio River from Pomeroy. 'It was in an outbuilding there,' Paul recalls, 'and when he died about six years ago, Doris and her brother cleaned the building out and found it. They were going to throw it out, but Bill rescued it.' Doris didn't even know her dad had it, and her brother didn't know any history on it either.

The Carlisle & Finch engine came out of a shed in West Virginia in rough shape, left; the restored engine, far left, sits up on a table at shows so passersby can get a good look at it. Paul says for its size, it makes a fair amount of noise when running.

Paul and Bill both belong to the Big Bend Farm Antiques Club in the Pomeroy area. Bill knew the little engine needed a lot of work and thought Paul, who had the right equipment, could handle it, so a deal was struck -and Bill ended up with the Ottawa.

When Paul got the Carlisle & Finch home, he first had to get it unstuck. 'It took a couple of months,' he recalls, noting he tried 'a little bit of everything,' including diesel fuel. Once he got the engine free, he started on a complete restoration; rust had taken a heavy toll. He machined a new crankshaft; ordered new rings from Starbolt Engine Supplies; pulled the badly pitted 8-inch flywheels off, put them in his lathe and took off 30/1000ths of an inch of cast iron to smooth them up; sandblasted all the rest of the engine and then put it all back together again.

In that process, he was aided by a little instruction manual called How to Make a 1/4-horse Gas Engine, which was shared with him by another collector. The booklet identifies all the engine's parts and tells how they go together.

A 1/4-hp Carlisle & Finch is depicted in C.H. Wendel's book American Gasoline Engines since 1872, where Wendel reports it was sold as a 'complete kit of parts for customer assembly' by the Carlisle & Finch Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Paul says the idea behind the kits was to save the customer money, but whoever put his engine together initially failed to cut any keyways into the fly shaft, so he did that. 'Whoever did it first used set screws, which didn't work,' Paul explains. Also, his engine originally had make-and-break ignition, but at some point it was switched to a spark plug with an outboard motor coil and condenser in a box, with a motorcycle battery. Paul switched it back.

On the opposite end of the engine from the ignition now stands a stainless steel water tank that Paul also made new. He painted the engine red because he just likes that color: 'There was no paint on it, so I don't know for sure what color it might have been. I'm sure they were painted, but I don't think there was any standard color.'

The restored unit sits up on a table at shows, so people can get a good look at it while it's running, and Paul says, 'I tell you, it sounds real loud for a little engine.' He's also made a sign that tells the engine's history to display along with the machine.

Years ago, Paul and his late brother- in-law, George Neigler, started collecting and restoring antique outboard motors and eventually progressed to stationary engines, and full-sized and garden-sized tractors. They enjoyed spending time together and using their mechanical skills to restore the machines.

Paul and George joined the Antique Outboard Motor Club first - 'We started out with those,' Paul recalls, noting he still has about 100. Prizes among them are a 1914 Evinrude, which was the first year that motor came equipped with a flywheel magneto, and a 1918 'Motor Go,' which was sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co. Paul's retired now, but during his working days, he was employed at a power plant right across the river from nearby Racine, Ohio, 'and that's how I went to work, across the river in a boat.'

Twenty years or so ago, George turned up a rare 7-hp CH&E engine that Paul also owns now. The flywheels are 27 inches in diameter with 3-inch faces and have holes instead of spokes in the centers. The engine is Serial No. 7189.

'I've seen horizontal ones at Portland,' Paul says, 'but no other verticals.' The engine came out of the Pomeroy, Ohio, Cement Block Co., where George worked for many years. 'It sat back in a shed behind the main building for 30 years. It had a big winch on it when we got it; the engine had been used to pull materials up onto the roof.'

The engine went to George's house first, and the winch was donated to the West Virginia Farm Museum at Point Pleasant, W.Va., about 15 miles downriver from Pomeroy. Both men worked together on the restoration, and after George's death last year, Paul moved the engine over to his place, where it sits permanently on its own two-wheeled transport cart.

The main problem with the engine when George first acquired it was that the magneto was gone. 'Now,' Paul says, 'it has a magneto off an International engine.' The CH&E starts on gas and switches to kerosene, and it won't switch fast, he adds, 'because it must be pretty well warmed up first.' Once it's going, though, it can get up a speed of 475 rpm and, unlike the little, red engine, it doesn't make a lot of noise. He painted it gray because it was gray when it first came out of the cement block plant.

Another eye-catcher in Paul's collection is a restored 'Ford blue,' two-cylinder, 1 1/2- to 6-hp Edwards engine, made by the Edwards Engine Motor Co., Springfield, Ohio.

'That's kind of an oddball, he says. 'When it's running on one cylinder, it develops from 1 1/2 to 3 hp; if you need more power, use two cylinders.' The engine has a 3-inch bore and a 5-inch stroke, and is Serial No. 18258.

'I bought it at Portland, Ind., in 1995 at the spring swap meet,' Paul recalls, noting he still regularly attends the Portland shows with Victor Wolfe of Racine. Paul knows nothing of the Edwards' history but was drawn to it 'because it was so unusual, with the flywheel on the inside. I run it and the darn thing will boil water just sitting there - not even running fast. It will develop as much as 1,000 rpm at the 6-hp level, but I won't run it that fast.'

He notes he's seen a couple of other Edwards at Portland events, which he's been attending for 20 years, and has friends who own Edwards too, and they all run hot. He adds he's also seen part of an old ad for the engines, 'and it even says they run hot.'

His was in 'pretty bad shape' when he got it, having been run too hot and allowed to rust. 'It had to come completely apart, and it took a while to figure it out,' he says, noting one push rod operates two valves. 'It's a two-cylinder engine, but there's only two push rods. I bet the guy who thought of it spent a lot of nights figuring it out.' Ford Blue was as close as Paul could come to the original color. With both this engine and the Carlisle & Finch, he's rigged up batteries to better start them at the shows.

Over the years, all three engines have made regular appearances at the Town and Country Expo at the Meigs County Fairgrounds and at the West Virginia Farm Museum, but Paul's collection is not limited to these pieces. Among other engines he owns are a 11/2-hp John Deere, a 1 1/2-hp Hercules and a 2-hp Stover. There's also a selection of vintage tractors and garden tractors, including three John Deeres that he restored and regularly shows: a 1940 L, a 1942 LA and a 1946 H, and a 1951 Ferguson 30 'that still works a little.' Additionally, he has models 110 and 112 John Deere lawn tractors, which were among the first produced by Deere, plus an Allis-Chalmers garden tractor, a 1973 International Cub Cadet and a Monitor lawn mower, probably dating to the late 1930s, with a Maytag engine that sits on its end. FC

- For more on Paul Man's collection, contact him at 40410 Laurel Cliff Road, Pomeroy, OH 45769, (740) 992-6888.