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A RARE find of a lifetime Schleicher Schumm inverted Otto

Mike O

Sponsor
Last Subscription Date
08/12/2019
Hey all, So here is a true story or is it a dream ??
While at the Portland In. engine show this August I got a call out of the blue from Scott Leathe a friend and an engine collector back home. Asking me if I was near a computer? Well NO, I was out to dinner. He said as soon as you get back to your hotel call me it is very important! Ok Ok I said, I finished dinner, went back to the hotel and sat at the public computer and called Scott back. He said go to YouTube and type in what I say. I did as he asked and there was a video posted from someone that goes into abandoned old properties and makes videos of “what was left behind” He said fast forward to 14:35 and I did and very curiously watched the screen and THEN BAM !! There it is, and OTTO and not just and Otto but an inverted Otto, Wow. So he asks what should we do? What can we do?
1ST How do we figure out where it is? The guy makes the videos secretly as to not let anyone know where he is we know by his screen name that he is in NJ. That a start. We keep looking and find that he been there and has made 4 different videos of the particular property. Scott spent hours watching the videos and then the camera man panned across a couple of letters and a desk. He want very fast but Scott was able to pause the video and get a name and address of the envelopes It was a business name so he googled the company and got a phone #, called the company and was informed that they were new owners of the business but did NOT buy the real estate. He asked if he could gat a name and # for the owners of the real estate and was told NO but if he left HIS name and # they would pass it along. OK so that he did and thought this may be a dead end.
Within 30 minutes he got a call from a guy that said the property belonged to his father. We told the guy about the break in and the video and told him the link to look at for himself. He did and said YES that is our place! He was very appreciative for letting him know, that is when Scott said well the other thing is that we are collectors of old machinery, mostly engines and pumps and we saw in the basement there was an old engine and out in the barn there were 2 multi cylinder engines and pumps (6 cylinder Continental and 6 cylinder Waukesha) both from the 40’s or 50’s. We said we would be interested in buying and the guy said he didn’t see why we couldn’t buy them. BUT after a couple of weeks of back and forth calls and emails the guy disappeared and we never heard from him again? Another dead end?
What now…. Well lets google the father and see if we can find him. We did that and low and behold we were able to call and get ahold of him, he know who we were and said SURE I will sell that stuff to you!
We made plans to go that Saturday all good to go and Friday afternoon he calls. He had plans that he forgot about he can’t make it! BUT he says the following Saturday will work. We wait another LONG week and at 4AM Saturday morning off we go, Scott from New Hampshire and me from Massachusetts to New Jersey. We had a couple of stops to make along the way and were about 2 hours late getting to him but he was there and glad to see us, showed us around and wanted to 1st get the big multi cylinder pumps cleared out and loaded but we hadn’t yet even seen the engine we really wanted. Finally we went down in the basement of the house that was built in the early 1800’s and there it was. A Schleicher Schumm inverted Otto SER # 3255 Money was exchanged, a bill of sale written and the engine was removed from the dungeon of a basement and brought home to New England.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WiiZDGyFC4
 

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Wayne Grenning

Sponsor
Age
55
Last Subscription Date
06/10/2018
Mike, Truly an extraordinary find!! Congrats!!!
.
Looking through my research, it appears this engine is the earliest existing non-slide valve American built "Otto" Schleicher Schumm that remains today.

Great Video. Do you know what it powered?

- Wayne.
 
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Mike O

Sponsor
Last Subscription Date
08/12/2019
OK, so now that you have the story of the find, Let me share a bit of information on what we have found out about the engine. This is believed to be a 1/3 HP engine. There is only 1 other one known to exists and that one also has a shared ownership if Keith Billet and Dave Deardorff and that one is currently on display in the Susong building at the Coolspring power museum.
I have shared all of my pictures and information with Wayne Grenning and he has given me quite a bit of information on Ottos in general. 1st point is that he believes this engine Serial # 3255 to be the oldest non slide valve Schleicher Schumm currently know. He also put a date of manufacturing of 1889 ! That is based on my serial # and The serial # on Brian and Jonathon Triebner’s Slide valve Schleicher Schumm #3211 that was delivered to University of Toronto in 1889.
We have had the engine home for a week now and spent much time cleaning it up, freeing it up Etc. Here are some more pictures now.
 

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Mike O

Sponsor
Last Subscription Date
08/12/2019
Mike, Truly an extraordinary find!! Congrats!!!
.
Looking through my research, it appears this engine is the earliest existing non-slide valve American built "Otto" Schleicher Schumm in existence.

Great Video. Do you know what it powered?

- Wayne.
Thanks Wayne and thanks for sharing with me what you new ! I don't know what it did. The man we bought it from was 79 years old and the house was his grandparents. He was thinking it was used to pump water to irrigate his grandparents very large garden but did not know for sure. even know that the engine was still in the original installation it was NOT in it's original location. It was tucked away in a little cubby but the owner did show us where it had been previously bolted down in a different room in a corner, He could not remember when or what it had been moved but I am glad that they saved it and didn't scrap it when they moved it
 

Wayne Grenning

Sponsor
Age
55
Last Subscription Date
06/10/2018
Mike,

If I understand the story correctly, Engine SN 3211 was installed very early 1890 which would lead one to believe it was built late 1889. Schleicher Schumm at this point in their evolution built engines in groups of similar sizes, assigning consecutive SNs to each of them. So in December of that year, they make have made for example, (10) 8 HP Slide valve engines with SN's ranging from 3210 - 3220 which Triebners engine was one of. Also they most likely were in process of building a few other batches of ten. It is very plausible your engine was under construction at the same time as slide valves were being built. Around 1890 it appears production was 275 units a year - give or take a few. - Wayne

Mike - Here is an embedded view of your video.

It looks like there is writing on the top rail of the engine sub base. Is this legible?


.

.
 

Mike O

Sponsor
Last Subscription Date
08/12/2019
Thanks Wayne. and thanks for putting that video on the page, Could you do that same for the 1st quick clip of the original you tube video ?

Also what do you make of this ? This is on the base I can't quite make it out but probably the ship to name ?
 

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Sunnybrook

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
04/15/2019
What an incredible story, I am really blown away by this recent find. Congratulations!!
 

Kevin O. Pulver

Email NOT Working
Age
54
Last Subscription Date
02/14/2020
Wow... a great Engine with an even greater story! Congratulations, I'm happy for you.
It reminds me that if you guys like nostalgic mechanical mystery stories, here is a website that collected the old serial columns from Popular Mechanics about a fictional mechanic "Gus Wilson" solving odd automobile problems from the 20s to 60s.
Www.gus-stories.org
 

Junkologist

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
12/28/2019
Awesome find! Looks like it says "Little Syd" on the base. Maybe a nickname someone had for the engine.
 

Ryan McClenahan

Sponsor
Last Subscription Date
02/02/2020
I have to say that is probably the find of the year!! Mike you better start playing the lottery cause that was unbelievable luck to see the video on YouTube and then find it from nothing to go on. Furthermore the people were willing to let it go without any real sentiment. Awesome find. New England still has to be king for the good stuff still in hiding.
 

LCJudge

Subscriber
Age
60
Last Subscription Date
12/14/2019
Wonderful story and congrats to both of you on a great find! I bet there are several old hunks of iron still living out there in basements and cellars of houses and industrial buildings. Keep looking!

When we talked the other day you didn't tell me what would be the best day to come and pick it up.....:O.......:D
 

Keven Withers

Subscriber
Age
55
Last Subscription Date
02/14/2020
Congratulations on such a wonderful find. I to agree with Tommy that there are still lots of engines out there waiting to found. What you found is a once in a lifetime find.
 

21avery

Registered
Age
60
Hi Scott Leathe here just wanted tell a little bit what I found and learned when getting this engine running Its in amazing shape no cracks or breaks the cyl wall is perfect no pits looks like glass .original green paint about 80% bearings still have many shims flywheel runs very true the gears are nice to . ,I ground and lap the valves freed the rings perfect shape 3 at 1/2 wide it was converted to spark plug and it was done very nicely so the things that are missing or not org are the hot tube , caps on the crank shaft the cover for the mechanical oiler and the two greasers not bad at all for a engine thats 126 years old .looks like the basement got water every few years but only came up about 4" on the base . pretty sure it says little syd on the base mite find more when I clean more most of the parts have the ser. number stamped on them . you cant use a wrench or socket on the nuts because they are just a little different in size. I just used a adjustable wrench for everything .I plumbed it . and after a little fuel adjustment me and Mike had it running. it starts very easy .
 

Chris Epping

Subscriber
Age
36
Last Subscription Date
07/09/2019
Awesome story guys, thanks for sharing. I'm very glad that there are people out there searching hard enough to find and save something like this. No doubt there are a number of engines out there still in the original unfound locations, but sadly many will probably be buried or scrapped. Glad you were able to save this engine and I'm thankful the owners were willing to let you have it to preserve it rather than letting it sit and deteriorate. It sounds like an exciting hunt with a happy ending.

Thanks again for sharing.
 
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