An Early Miami Engine

Whether it's a Howe or Miami engine, this sideshaft is a keeper


| December 1998



What began as a hobby has grown to an obsession, says Ronald Knight. His collection includes this 10 hp sideshaft engine.

What began as a hobby has grown to an obsession, says Ronald Knight. His collection includes this 10 hp sideshaft engine.

Photo by G. Wayne Walker Jr.

Ronald Knight calls himself a "Johnny come lately" when it comes to engine collecting. But for one who started collecting in 1980, he's made up for lost time.

His collection, now "refined to 40 or so engines," is nearing his personal goal. "I want to improve the quality, but cut down on the numbers," he says.

One of his prizes - a 10 hp sideshaft Miami once used in a grain elevator in Kansas or Nebraska - is representative of his collection.

Manufactured by the Middletown (Ohio) Machine Company in the early teens, the engine was typical of those sold to grain elevators across the midwest to power the elevator's leg (a device used to get grain to the top of the elevator). But by today's standards, it's a rarity.

"There's only a few known of today," Ronald says, "and this engine has a unique design. The sideshaft rides up high on top of the engine, where most sideshafts are down underneath. It's just a good quality engine, well made, with unique features."

The engine was manufactured as a Miami. But because early engine manufacturers didn't always have nationwide marketing networks, they often sold their products through larger firms. In this case, the Miami was sold by Howe, a company specializing in grain elevator scales. "It's really a Miami wearing a Howe nametag," Ronald says. Although the engine is shown here on four-wheel trucks, that is not authentic, he adds.