A 1928 Studebaker engine was adapted as a power plant for the sawmill after the water-powered turbine was disabled in the aftermath of the 1936 flood. This engine powered the saw through the 1960s when operations ceased. After forty years of disuse and exposure to the elements, the engine was badly deteriorated. Months of rebuilding brought the engine back to working condition. A shed was built for the engine, and it was reconnected to the reconstructed Lane # 1 saw with a new PTO (power take-off) shaft and clutch, making the saw operational again.
1939. Engine shed under construction.
1940s view of engine in place.
Studebaker Engine, as found, in 2009.
Bringing the Engine Back to Life
Through great good fortune, Mystic Seaport engine restoration volunteers offered to attempt restoration of Chamberlin Mill's rusty straight-eight engine, and in September, 2014 it was loaded on Nate Rosebrooks' truck for the trip from Woodstock to Mystic, CT. Secured on a sled constructed by Andy Quigley (with lumber cut on his 1867 Lane #1 saw), the engine arrived safely in Mystic, in time for display at the September 21 Mystic Seaport Antique Vehicle Show.
Following the Antique Vehicle Show, work began in the Mystic Seaport engine restoration workshop. Jim Creem, Nate Rosebrooks, and other patient and expert volunteers began to disassemble the engine, saving all that could be saved, and making an inventory of parts needed for reassembly. With the support of a generous Studebaker collector, and donations from Mystic and Chamberlin volunteers, new pistons and valves were secured, and the engine was given a final cleaning to ready it for reassembly.
Sept. 23, 2014.
Engine ready for work..
Work in progress.
Dismantled and cleaned.
Primed and ready for the machine shop.
February 2015. Restoration nears completion.
First start up at Mystic.
Engine mounted on frame.
Engine returns to northeast Connecticut.
Nate Rosebrooks fires up engine at celebration for Chamberlin Mill supporters.
October 2015. Walktober visitors get to see the engine in operation at Chamberlin Mill.
Radiator and cowling repaired and braced.
Engine returns to the
Mill for the next phase.
As Mill reconstruction was being completed the Studebaker power plant was put back in its place on the new deck.
Upon completion of the engine shed, the Studebaker power plant was connected to the rebuilt saw with a new PTO shaft and clutch.
Completed saw with new belts and drive system ready for operation.
Now in working order, the Studebaker engine that returned to northeast Connecticut during the Summer of 2015 was fired up for supporters of the Chamberlin Mill and visitors to events such as Walktober. Until it was installed in the newly constructed engine shed, the engine served as a traveling ambassador for the ongoing restoration project at Chamberlin Mill and was taken to regional events, including the Mystic Seaport Antique Vehicle Show, Yankee Steam Up, and Celebrating Agriculture.
With saw and engine reconnected, the sawmill is back in operation.