Prize possessions:


| October 2002



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1 /4-hp machine

Paul Marr of Pomeroy, Ohio, wanted his 'little, red engine' - a rare 1/4-hp Carlisle & Finch - so much so that five years ago he traded his restored early-1920s 2-hp Ottawa for it.

The Carlisle & Finch came from Bill and Doris Grueser of Meigs County, in southeastern Ohio, and had belonged to Doris' dad, who lived in Hartford, W.Va., just six miles across the Ohio River from Pomeroy. 'It was in an outbuilding there,' Paul recalls, 'and when he died about six years ago, Doris and her brother cleaned the building out and found it. They were going to throw it out, but Bill rescued it.' Doris didn't even know her dad had it, and her brother didn't know any history on it either.

The Carlisle & Finch engine came out of a shed in West Virginia in rough shape, left; the restored engine, far left, sits up on a table at shows so passersby can get a good look at it. Paul says for its size, it makes a fair amount of noise when running.

Paul and Bill both belong to the Big Bend Farm Antiques Club in the Pomeroy area. Bill knew the little engine needed a lot of work and thought Paul, who had the right equipment, could handle it, so a deal was struck -and Bill ended up with the Ottawa.

When Paul got the Carlisle & Finch home, he first had to get it unstuck. 'It took a couple of months,' he recalls, noting he tried 'a little bit of everything,' including diesel fuel. Once he got the engine free, he started on a complete restoration; rust had taken a heavy toll. He machined a new crankshaft; ordered new rings from Starbolt Engine Supplies; pulled the badly pitted 8-inch flywheels off, put them in his lathe and took off 30/1000ths of an inch of cast iron to smooth them up; sandblasted all the rest of the engine and then put it all back together again.

In that process, he was aided by a little instruction manual called How to Make a 1/4-horse Gas Engine, which was shared with him by another collector. The booklet identifies all the engine's parts and tells how they go together.