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Salesman’s Model T Ford Carries a Cushman Demo Engine

1912 Model T Ford Torpedo and a Cushman Engine

This image was taken in Junction City, Kansas, in 1912 by photographer Joseph Judd Pennell. G.C. Hodges was a Sales Representative for the Cushman Motor Works based in Lincoln, Nebraska and covered his territory with this rig. On the back of his 1912 Model “T” Ford “Torpedo” runabout is a four h.p. gasoline engine (advertisement below) suitable for use on a corn or grain binder and for other uses.

Cushman boat engine

  •    An earlier two-stroke boat engine that won a boating competition and put the Cushman in the news.

Binders were was used to cut, gather and tie together plant stalks during harvest time and could be powered by one for these engines. The motors were also used on a number of other agricultural devices. Note the radiator and water tank (below) in front of the engine. The water pumped through the power plant entered it at the top and then was cooled as it directed down the inside of the angled screen work. The gasoline tank is on top of the device.

Cushman stationary engine

  •                       Enlargement of the four h.p. gasoline engine courtesy of the University of Kansas.

The image (below) courtesy of the Nebraska State Historical Society shows Cushman’s line of engines available at the time. Learn the rest of the Cushman story at the Historical Society that continues on to 1998 when the Company became a part of Textron.

Cushman Engine Advertisement 1915

10 responses to “Salesman’s Model T Ford Carries a Cushman Demo Engine

  1. The “Torpedo” had a large exposed round or sometimes oblong gas tank in back of the cab. This has been removed (if this is a Torpedo). Maybe they put a new one under the seat or maybe this is a commercial runabout and not a Torpedo.

    • The commercial runabout did not have doors or rounded rear fenders like this car. With the limited time I had to research this car it appears that a regular roadster was not made that year? Hopefully a Model T expert can tell us more. I was also wondering where the gas tank was located on this car.

  2. ….A travelling binder engine salesman stopped at a farmers house one night and asked if there was a place to stay…
    (sorry, couldn’t resist)

    What stories this fellow probably had!!

    • Most of them did but the Torpedo had a round speedster style tank mounted on the back. If this was Cushman’s car and they ordered enough of them by special, maybe the tank was under the seat?

  3. Some young man saw this and figured with a clutch and a reduction and a winch drum loaded with cable you’d have something pretty useful. Add a boom and it would be like a derrick you could drive down the road. Lots of uses for something like that!

    His father told him to quit the daydreaming and get back to his chores. There were cows to milk and pigs to slop and it wasn’t getting done with all this engine and car nonsense .

  4. I was intrigued by this and read “The Cushman Story” to confirm my suspicion that there was a connection with the Cushman motor scooters. The article mentions an “airborne model” manufactured in WWII to be dropped by parachute onto the battlefields. I actually owned one of these c. 1955. It was a 1944 model, had the parachute rings and was equipped with motorcycle-type seats. The previous owner had ridden it all the way from Lincoln NE to Boston where we were schoolmates at MIT. There was no sheet metal cover, frame was exposed and heavy as H-ll. Centrifugal clutch and two-speed transmission. Balloon tires 6:00X6. I think it would do about 40 flat-out. I would ride it from the frat house on Beacon Street to my girl friend’s house out in Belmont without trepidation . And in Boston traffic too before it got really crazy.

  5. I see that this demo Cushman motor has a ROOF type Cooling tower! As to the gas tank on the “T” (which could be a cobbled up collection of many years — Under the seat for all early models. I will quote the SONG sung at Boy Scout Campfires: “MATCH IN THE GAS TANK, —NO FORD! ”

    The twin Cushman motors were very popular with amusement ride owners, and travelling shows, for all manner of driven rides.

    I remember full throttle on a 2-speed Cushman Scooter at night, — going 55, with 2 aboard, just to cool off on a HOT Summer night! Crazy? OHhhh, YES! 1955. (Still riding, but NOT a Cushman!)

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