Farm Collector

Canadian-Built Engine Ahead of Its Time

Nothing in his collection of 10 antique engines prepared Sam Curry for a 6 hp tank-cooled Goold, Shapley & Muir engine dating to 1898.

“It’s a different deal than any engine I ever fooled with,” Sam said. “But I got a lot of advice – and a lot of comments -when I took it to shows. In a way, it uses a pump to pump gas in; that controls the speed.

“In a sense, that’s a kind of fuel injection,” he said. “It’s really hard to believe that they knew about such a thing 100 years ago.”

The engine has a flyball governor that regulates the pump action.

“A lot of engines control the speed by ignition,” Sam said. “They don’t spark every time. But this engine sparks every stroke.”

The engine is tank cooled. The water tank is arranged so that the exhaust pulls air through the water to cool it. “It’s kind of unusual,” he said, “kind of like a Rumely.”

Another collector started restoration of the engine eight years ago, but when the project derailed, Sam got his shot at it – after hauling away the parts, in boxes.

Goold engines are not exactly a dime a dozen.

“They made two or three different concepts of engines,” he said. “But there’s not too many left out there. I know of maybe three.

“I’ve taken this engine to seven major shows, and I’ve never been to a show where somebody didn’t say it was the first one like it they’d seen. I’ve even had some guys look at the brass tag… they were kind of doubting my word.”

The Goold, Shapley & Muir is a Canadian-built engine. Sam’s done extensive research on the company.

“Goold, Shapley & Muir started out in the bicycle business,” he said. “Then they expanded. At one time, they were the biggest employer in Canada. But they went out with the rest of the engine manufacturers in the twenties. Once they got those tractors with the belt pulleys on them, they were much easier to use.”

A retired rancher, Sam splits his time between homes in Kansas and Arizona. He’s been collecting engines for about 10 years, but he doesn’t limit himself. His varied collection includes tractors and a hot air engine.

“That engine’s a little different, too,” he said.

Sam also has a pair of restored tractors: an Allis Chalmers G (‘It’s a little tractor that was made for vegetable gardeners from 1946-50’) and a 1937 John Deere B, a small two-plow. Both have been restored and painted. “We take them to shows once in a while,” Sam said.

And then there’s his ’32 Chevy. That project is typical of his leisurely approach to restoration.

“It took me 20 years to do that!” he said with a chuckle. FC

  • Published on Sep 1, 1998
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