This month’s Vintage Iron comes to us from Joe Winter, Richards, Mo. More than six years ago, he found a Kansas City Hay Press with a KC Junior engine on it. It is a 6 hp hopper-cooled style with a bolt on the head. The engine was the original power plant for the hay press until it wore out and no replacement parts were available. The working parts were then discarded and a belt pulley attached to the engine for a power source to come from a tractor to run the hay press. The flywheels worked as a jack shaft for the tractor power, transferred to the hay press through the clutch built into the inside of the engine flywheel (which is geared to the hay press). It was used for many years from this point until the press was outdated and new models became available.
Joe bought the outfit from a scrap dealer near Yates Center, Kan., who had picked it up from a farm he was cleaning up. The dealer knew it was worth more than scrap and saved it. Joe has been looking for parts and/or someone with a complete engine. He’d like to scale patterns off and get castings made to complete his restoration project.
So far, only one other KC Junior 6 hp engine of this style has surfaced. It is owned by a fellow collector, and is missing all the same parts as Joe’s engine. It is a hopper-cooled horizontal engine with a 6-1/2″ bore and an 8″ stroke. The flywheels are 30 inches in diameter with a 3-1/8″ face. The engine uses a four-bolt dry head (the larger model had a wet head.) The jump spark ignition fired with a spark plug and coil, with the battery box mounted just ahead of the governor-side flywheel on the side of the hopper. Great attention was given to this rain-proof battery coil box. The engine has a ported exhaust along with the standard valve in head operated by a long walking beam-style rocker arm.
An automatic intake valve is used, and the carburetor looks to be the same as the styles used on the KC Lightning engines (see the illustration from an original KC Hay Press catalog in the image gallery). They used a forged steel crankshaft, and were a hit-and-miss governed engine. The governor weights were mounted at the flywheel hub.
Joe’s engine is missing the serial number tag. The other KC Junior’s tag reads: H.P. 6 SHOP NO. KC 372 PATENTED. Another very neat feature is the name cast on the side of the water hopper in raised lettering. All Kansas City Hay Press engines have parts numbers with the KC prefix. To complete his engine, Joe needs a connecting rod with cap, piston, cam timing gear, governor weights, governor latch, long walking beam-style rocker arm, muffler, head (complete with valves and carburetor), battery box and a name plate.
The Kansas City Hay Press Company of Kansas City, Mo., began building the KC Junior engines in about 1906. They were built in two sizes only: 3 hp and 5 hp. They were tank-cooled, and used a few of the features found on the Lightning Balanced engine. This model used an ignitor. A 1911 original Hay Press catalog shows the KC Junior hopper-cooled engines in 6, 8 and 10 hp models. This style used jump spark ignition. By 1912, they were available from 1 1/2 to 12 hp, which was the largest Junior built. The last style of Junior engines built especially for the KC combined hay press was made in only two sizes (6 and 8 hp). They were an f-head design headless engine. The long walking beam-style rocker arm was still used. The company continued building hay presses into the early 1940s, but discontinued their line of engines, and used Stover special hay press engines, which were first available in 1918 (in 6 and 8 hp models).
The Winter family collects many different types of farm related antiques. Joe collects IHC gasoline engines, tractors, steam engines (traction-toy), hot air engines, old cars, toy trains, old guns, tools and other ‘trumpery.’ His wife, Shirley, collects hog oilers, toy sewing machines, dolls, grain elevator salt-and-pepper shakers, and many other knickknacks. Joe Lee, one of their sons, collects motorcycles, motor scooters, farm engines and World War II Japanese war souvenirs.
Joe would like to restore his engine. Readers who know of any KC Hay Press Junior engines are asked to contact Joe Winter at Box 92, Richards, Mo., 64778, (417) 927-3254. FC
A collector for 26 years, Wayne Walker Jr. is the marketing director and a columnist for Farm Collector.