Industrial engines appeal to Canadian collector


| November 2002



FC_V5_I4_Nov_2002_11-1.jpg

Walter Dedman's 132-hp Ruston & Hornsby, above, serial no.345539, is a size 9X, class HRC

Walter Dedman of Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, thinks nothing of hauling one of his trio of rare English oil engines to antique equipment shows around the province - despite their heft. The two biggest ones even have their own specially made, deluxe flatbed trailers, on which they're permanently mounted for travel and display.

Walter's biggest engine is a 500-hp, made in 1927 by Ruston & Hornsby Ltd. in Lincoln, England. Its companions are a 1949, 132-hp Ruston & Hornsby, and a 7-hp Blackstone, also made in England.

Neither brand was ever sold inside the United States, Walter says, and only one agent for each was in Canada: Laurie & Lamb in Montreal sold Ruston & Homsbys, and the Canada Foundry Co., Ltd., in Toronto sold Blackstones.

Both of Walter's Ruston & Hornsbys are cold-start engines that use airless atomizers. He says many U.S. engines had to be heated to start and that was not always a practical situation as far north as Canada. Also, these engines ran on oil, the most economical of fuels for the time.

500-hp Ruston & Hornsby

The 500 dates to 1927 and was installed in the winter of 1927-28 in a pumping station operated by the city of Kitchener, Ontario. 'It was not used a lot,' Walter explains. 'Its purpose was to supply water to the city of Kitchener when normal power was down.'

Walter has had the engine since 1968, having saved it from being turned into scrap - but he's known of it since he was a child. 'I was born in 1931,' he says, 'and when I was a kid, my uncle lived not far from Kitchener. He took pigs to Schneiders, a packing plant there, and sometimes I would go with him. Along the way, we'd come to this building, with the lawn mowed and the bushes all trimmed, and I used to look at it and wonder what was in it.