The Almost Century Old Century Motor


Look at this beauty.
It's a Century Electric motor that looks like it's almost a century old.


The cast iron on this is amazing. It's heavy and thick, and almost a work of art.
Just look at the Century name cast in it. They don't make them like this any more.


To give you and idea of it's size, I've taken a picture of it next to a couple of other motors I've collected,
including a relatively newer Marathon 3/4HP motor (which is probably only half as old as the Century motor),
and a new Baldor 2HP motor. All 1725RPM motors.
That's the Honda Odyssey's tire in the background for size comparison.
Look at the difference in size between the motors. They are definitely making motors physically smaller these days.

After I got this home I grabbed a rag with some WD40 and cleaned of the name plate which revealed:
CENTURY
REPULSION START INDUCTION
SINGLE PHASE MOTOR
MANUFACTURED IN U.S.A. BY
CENTURY ELECTRIC CO.
ST.LOUIS, MO

TYPE RS FRAME RS2 HP 3/4
VOLTS 110 OR 220 AMP 10. - 5.
CYCLE 60 RPM 1750
SERIAL NO 763626
CONTINUOUS OPEN RATING TEMP 40°
PATENTED DEC 29, 1914 OCT 19, 1915

By comparison, the "newer" Marathon 3/4HP motor is rated at 11.2 / 5.6 Amps.


I'll try to do some research to find out hold old it really is. I plan to clean it up, restore it and make it look really pretty. I'll make some sort of woodworking tool with it.... maybe a disk sander. Something that will leave the motor visable to show off it's beauty. I've always wanted something like this in my workshop as a conversation piece.



The Story of How We Found the Almost Century Old Century Motor

One afternoon, my son and I were driving home along the old backroad highways (GA-92) and we passed some sort of parking-lot tool sale. From the car it looked like a flea market/pawn shop in a small parking lot. Ohhh, I wanted to stop.... but I knew I couldn't afford to. My wife would kill me if I bought anything.

It was hard, let me tell you, but the wisdom of my 5-yr old was good: "We don't need any more tools Dad, let's just go home to Mom." About a half hour later, and a little closer to home on the same long country highway, my son said he was feeling a little wooozy... a little car-sick... from all the heat and long drive, no doubt.

I looked for a place to pull over and stop for a few minutes. Just then I spied a little sign that said: Yard/Estate Sale. We pulled over and looked around. Lots of clothes and kitchen nik-naks. We had a nice talk with the little old lady and gentleman that were there. The must have been in their late 80's, maybe older. Really nice, friendly folks. My son was feeling better. He found an old gold painted Chritmas tree star and when he asked how much it was the sweet little old lady said he could have it. He was feeling great now!

As we were leaving I saw a couple of old saw horses next to a garbage can in front of a half-century old wooden garage. I walked over and saw this beautiful big-honking old motor just sitting there. It looked like it had a half-century of dust caked on it. I scraped enough off the name plate to see: Century 3/4 110 220. I looked promising. I was getting excited. Working or not, I wanted it.

The shaft turned smoothly and I could feel no side to side play in the shaft. There was a little front to back movement, however. The old gentleman said it still worked. He explained that he had removed it from (some sort of) compressor. The pump failed years ago but he kept the motor when he replaced the compressor. He said he'd sell it to me for $10. I reached into my wallet and found a $5 bill. Tucked in further I found a couple of $1 bills. Upon further inspection, I found another $1 folded up inside an old receipt. Eight. I was two dollars short and I wasn't going to haggle the price with this gentle old man. I went over to my car and found 8 quarters (toll-booth money) in the ashtray. I backed the car over to the garage. My son and I counted the money...."five plus three makes eight dollars, plus four quarters makes nine dollars and plus another four quarters makes ten dollars" . He gave it to the old gentleman while I struggled to lift this monster motor up and into the trunk of my car. My car's back end sagged under the weight.

We drove home. I really struggled to lift this heavy motor from the trunk. Once in the workshop I weighed it and took the photos of it. It weighs 112lbs. It's shaft is ¾" diameter. Not bad for a ¾HP motor.

Man! I love old machines.

© 2008 Mark Goodall