A Devilishly Divine Find

Red devil water motor turns up in ashes of burned-out building.

Two views of the pulley side of the Red Devil.

While poking around in a burned-out building, I found an unusual-shaped piece of cast iron covered in soot and melted plastic. I asked the owner about it, and he did not know what it was, but for $15, it could be mine. The shape indicated that it might be a water motor, but I could not tell for sure, and certainly could not see any writing on it due to melted plastic covering one side.

As soon as I got this specimen home, I pressure-washed it and then ran it through the bead blaster. Hooray! It was a Red Devil water motor. There was no damage to the exterior, and when I removed the side cover, I could see the water wheel was not damaged. After bead-blasting the inside, I discovered a cast-brass Pelton water wheel.

Side plate removed, showing the cast water wheel.

A 1908 advertisement placed by Divine Water Motor Co., Utica, New York, manufacturerer of the Red Devil, described the unit this way: “Six-inch motor would run a washing machine, and a 4-inch would run an emery wheel for grinding, polishing, buffing and also will run a sewing machine. Furnished complete with pulley, belt and different outfits. The most convenient and economical power for small tools, fans, blowers, etc. Used extensively by mechanics, dentists, druggists, grocers, butchers, plumbers etc.”

A 1908 ad placed by Divine Water Motor Co. makes a lofty claim: “Let the Red Devil water motor Do Your Work.”


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