Swayer Massey Man


| November/December 1970


1085 Bellbrook Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385

The snap is of a 17 H.P. Sawyer Massey model L 665 portable steam engine mounted on wooden wheels, engine number 3204. This engine and boiler are in excellent condition now and were shown for the first time in the Old Fashioned Days parade in Xenia, Ohio, in 1967.

I obtained this engine in 1958, and my brother Gordon and I fired it up the day after we got it home.

It had run a sawmill near Echo Lake, in the District of Algoma, Northern Ontario, Canada. The engine was owned by Duncan Rydall, of Bar River, Ontario, and he purchased it from a farmer named Duncan Campbell, in the same district, who had purchased it new for threshing grain.

When Mr. Rydall moved his sawmill from the bush location near Echo Lake, he left the 'Massey' sitting where it had been belted up, intending to come back and get it later. However, he had started using a gas tractor to power his sawmill and never did get back to the bush for the steam engine. It sat there for twenty years. I saw it one time and on inquiring about it, found that it belonged to my very good friend, Duncan Rydall.

My brother Gordon and I dug out the engine, which had sunk down to the bottom of the boiler in the red clay. We hauled it 15 miles home that evening and worked for an hour and a half after we got there, taking the caps off all of the bearings and oiling up all of the working parts. The inside of the cylinder wall was just like glass, but was filled with grass seed and a mouse nest. The next day we cleaned out the boiler and checked it all over and decided to fill it and give it a water test. We fired it up and in short order had the whistle blowing and the engine running. The engine ran perfectly except for a slight noise in the valve rod, which we tightened up.