E. Leonard & Sons Vintage Canadian Engines

Two readers respond to our article about E. Leonard & Sons and the now vintage Canadian engines they made in the 19th century.

vintage Canadian engines - E. Leonard & Sons portable engine

Although this is an E. Leonard & Sons vintage Canadian engine, it wasn't originally portable; a later owner attached it to a portable boiler.

Photo: Charles Wagler and Leroy Ebersol

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Charles Wagler and Leroy Ebersol's article on E. Leonard & Sons vintage Canadian engines ("Steaming in Canada") in the January/February 2005 issue prompted Bill Lynch of Knox, ME, who is restoring an E. Leonard engine, to write the following:

I've been a subscriber of Steam Traction for several years and enjoy the magazine very much. I am in the process of restoring an E. Leonard steam engine I got a few years ago. I haven't had much success finding information about them. My engine is missing a few parts, including the top slide rails of the crosshead, but is otherwise complete.

My engine is a bit larger than the one shown in the article. The bore is 5 1/2 inches and the stroke 6 inches. I found some dark green paint under a bit of dried grease on the base. Also, some off-white paint on the flywheel spokes. Everything else is rust. The valve cover on the steam chest has "E. Leonard & Sons, Patent Jan. 9, 1877, London, Ontario."

The valve gear is very worn but the eccentric is okay. The piston was stuck tight and showed an old water line. I got that free and the bore honed out reasonably well; the piston is in good condition with Z-rings with step-cut ends. New rings should make it usable. What may have been an original governor is gone, but I have a replacement that will fit nicely after some restoration.

The flywheel has a 5-inch wide face and is 23 inches in diameter. The spokes are flat, not curved as are the ones in the article. Just back of the cylinder on top of the area where the right slide ends are two bolt holes, tapped, which probably were for an oiler or something else.

The photos in the article are not easy to use to pick out details, but from what I can see my engine is very much like the one shown. I didn't see any serial number on my machine when I cleaned it up.

I have found an E. Leonard steam gauge (10-inch, 300 psi) that is in good condition. I may include it somehow in the final restoration. I attempted to obtain a copy of the patent mentioned on the cover but can't seem to get it.

The bearings are usable with some shimming, but the crosshead will need to be rebabbitted.

I'm at a point where I need to get some details of the top slide rails on the crosshead. I can machine out some very convincing replacements if I can get the needed dimensions/design.

I hope this letter helps expand the body of knowledge about E. Leonard steam products and that it may help me get needed information as well.

E. Leonard Engine: Take Two

The article on E. Leonard & Sons also caught the eye of Franz Kingender, agriculture curator at the Canada Agriculture Museum in Ottawa, ONT. Franz writes:

In regards to your question in January's issue about whether E. Leonard & Sons built portable engines. Although we all realize a catalog listing doesn't necessarily equate a product, the Canada Agriculture Museum has a circa-1880s Leonard catalog showing at least one portable engine. So, even if they didn't actually produce portables, they certainly went out of their way to make it appear as if they did. The only extant Leonard engines of which I'm aware are the industrial type.