The Monmouth


| March 2002



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Monmouth Efficiency Farm Engine

The 1921 Monmouth Efficiency A Farm Engine restored by Elam 'Rocky' Rockwell of Charlotte, Mich., represents one of many attempts by its original seller, the Monmouth Plow Co. of Illinois, to stay competitive in the marketplace as farming's horse-drawn era drew to a close.

'Monmouth started out as a plow company,' Rocky explained, 'but it ended up that all they had was dry goods.' And as far as Rocky can determine, Monmouth only sold engines the one year, 1921, and those engines were jobbed out to other manufacturers. His was made by the Nelson Brothers of Flint, Mich., which isn't far from Charlotte.

Rocky bought his Monmouth in November 1979 from a man who trades in engines near Ft. Wayne, Ind. 'He had something I could save,' Rocky recalled, 'so I bought it.'

Born and raised on a farm, Rocky is retired from a career with General Motors. He collects antique tractors, especially Internationals, and has several other engines, including a couple of Maytags (a single and a twin) and a complete Choremaster.

The Monmouth engine is a 1-3/4 hp Model 'N,' serial no. 17111. Several details caught Rocky's attention right off, tipping the balance in favor of its purchase. These included the spoked flywheels and the brass engine tag, the make-and-break igniter and the Webster tri-polar oscillating magneto.

'But it looked like a grease bucket,' he recalled, adding he had no knowledge of its earlier history. 'The magneto was shot, so I sent it with the igniter to Lightning Magneto in Ottertail, Minn., where Mitch Malcolm rebuilt it.'