Harrison Machine Works Jumbo Engines

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R.R. 13, Box 209 Brazil, Indiana 47834

Since acquiring my ‘Jumbo’ steam engine a few years ago,
I have been doing research on Harrison Machine Company. A lot of
research.

I started with material that was readily available, namely Floyd
Clymer’s Album of Traction Engines, and Jack Norbeck’s
Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines. Clymer’s book
contained only one illustration of a Jumbo engine, while
Norbeck’s book contained several.

Number of Harrison Machine Co. ‘Jumbo’ Steam
Engines Sold From 189801937

Year

#Sold

Year

#Sold

1898

65

1918

15

1899

30

1919

2

1900

58

1920

0

1901

58

1921

1

1902

64

1922

4

1903

43

1923

11

1904

45

1924

4

1905

54

1925

10

1906

37

1926

4

1907

49

1927

15

1908

33

1928

4

1909

25

1929

5

1910

25

1930

2

1911

24

1931

3

1912

26

1932

0

1913

32

1933

0

1914

37

1934

2

1915

31

1935

0

1916

2

1936

0

1917

21

1937

1

Total Engines Sold From 1898-1937: 842

The above information was documented in a letter from
Lee Harrison Jr. to Hans J. Andersen dated December 15, 1947. Note
the decline of engines sold from 1916 to 1937. Harrison Machine Co.
lived and died with their steam engines; they never attempted to
convert their production to gasoline tractors.

Old style Harrison 16 HP ‘Jumbo’ serial #1616 owned by
Pete Burno of Wisconsin. This engine was built around 1895. It is
equipped with high wheels characteristic of a ‘Jumbo’ and a
square head tank. Note row of rivets extending around boiler barrel
starting at the front edge of the dome, which show older two piece
boiler barrel construction techniques.

The information in Norbeck’s book is a good example of the
old adage ‘Don’t believe everything you read.’ The
statement that Harrison Machine Works produced 839 engines I found
to be highly unlikely, as the 17 HP Jumbo I own is Serial #2127,
and Louis Kuntz’s ‘Little Princess’ (which was rescued
from an island in the Missouri River), was Serial #714. There is a
difference of 1413 engines.

New model Harrison 20 HP ‘Jumbo’ serial #2341 owned by
Fred Mita of Leroy, Michigan. This engine was built in 1930; later
‘Jumbo’ engines were still equipped with a head tank; round
instead of square and the high ‘Jumbo’ wheels. This engine
is shown every year at the Buckley, Michigan show.

Since then I have been tracking the whereabouts of existing
Harrison Machine Company Jumbo engines in order to set the record
right about the number of engines the company produced. I have seen
a portable Jumbo which is Serial #294, and a 20 HP Jumbo, which is
Serial #2345. (The last engine Harrison produced.) Harrison built
their first engine in 1874, and their last in 1935.

In 1882 alone Harrison built 125 engines during the calendar
year. Even the U.S. Government purchased a Jumbo on June 23,
1909.

I would appreciate any information on Harrison Machine Company
Jumbo engines or equipment. I am in the process of compiling a list
of Jumbo owners along with serial numbers, to help determine what
year an engine was produced if the owner is unsure or does not have
any documentation.

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