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Steve DeCosta’s Bessemer Gaso-Kero

Bessemer Gaso-Kero

Bessemer Gaso-Kero

In response to Bill Gingerich’s letter about the 2 hp Bessemer Gaso-Kero he bought (February/March 2017), reader Steve DeCosta sent in photos of his 4 hp Bessemer Gaso-Kero. “I bought it from a guy awhile back, about two years ago,” Steve says, adding, “It runs real good and it’s all original. I did a little work to it. I had to clean it and get it to spark, but I straightened it out and it runs real good now. I like to collect and go to shows. I’m a retired mechanic and welder; I’ve been collecting 10 years. The Bessemer was a pretty complete engine. Its serial number is 12833, but I’m not sure of the year. It’s rated 4 hp at 650rpm and the flywheels are 18 inches with a 2-inch face. The muffler is from an International, a Famous. It just had a straight pipe on it. It starts in a heartbeat, and you can reverse it while it’s running; you pull the lever and it all but stops, and then goes the other way. I did have to do some work on the governor, but I didn’t touch anything but fuel and sparks, just a couple little things to get it running, and it runs good. The drip oiler has two lines; one feeds the rod bearings and the other the cylinder, and there are grease cups on the crank. It drips to lubricate, it doesn’t atomize the oil with the gas. It runs straight gas and has a fuel pump that pumps with vacuum.”

Steve DeCosta, Auburn, Pennsylvania

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Square-Cylinder Quijada Engine Update

engine decal
A drawing by Tyler Daniels showing the general design of the Quijada engine decal. The decal was green, yellow and white.

The December/January 2017 issue of GEM included a letter and photos from Al Matheson about a single-cylinder, air-cooled engine featuring a square cylinder. The only identifiers, “Quijada” and “Los Angeles, California,” were cast into the rim of the magneto flywheel. Al has since received several notes from GEM readers, including from reader Tyler Daniels, whose great-uncle worked at the Quijada company. Tyler writes:

“The Quijada engines (pronounced we-sha-da) were built starting in 1936. Only 180 engines were made for the Westmoreland Glass Co. in Grapeville, Pennsylvania. What the engines were for is unknown. The engines were bought from Quijada Motor Mfg. Co., Inc. The engine in question is Type 125. I’ve seen photos of this engine, but I never thought I’d see it in a magazine. Each engine was slightly different. This engine looks to be missing the blower housing and decal. The engine runs on a 32:1 oil/fuel mixture. The decal is 2-3/4 inches long and 1-1/2 inches wide. It is a circle with a triangle at top and bottom; one pointing up, the other down. The symbol stands for some spirit of Native American origin. This particular engine was built in 1939.

“In 1932, John Peetles and Robert Dalston founded the JP & RD Motor Mfg. Co. In 1933 the company was failing. With the death of Mr. Peetles’ grandfather, they renamed the company after Quijada, the goddess of life. Mr. Peetles’ grandfather left him a considerable sum of money, today’s equivalent of $800,000, which they used to open a new shop. In 1935 they came out with their first engine design, an upright 2-stroke, which they sold the design of to Maytag Co. In 1936, 120 engines were made, the first ones with the Quijada name on them. In 1940 the company was once again in trouble. They tried many different engine designs. Each design only had about 20 made before disappearing forever. Nothing worked, so in 1946 the company was sold to Jacobson. It was secretly sold so the original owners were not embarrassed. For some reason history forgot, there is no proof that this engine, its makers or the two friends ever existed. Mr. Peetles died in 1951, and Mr. Dalston in 1959. This was the end of the Quijada!

“My great-grandfather worked at the Westmoreland Glass factory. His was the office assistant manager, and it is from him that I learned about these engines. The engine’s original color is slate blue/gray, the decal was green, yellow and white. The parts it is connected to (spring/yoke) are not original to this engine. It was designed to bolt onto something like a shock-absorbing leather pad on a platform. The square cooling fins were designed so there was more ‘fin’ for cooling. Not a great design. Do not bother looking for the type number, as none of the engines built by Quijada had them on them. However, if you remove the flywheel, on either the inside top or side you should find this engine’s old model number. I believe that the serial number is on the flywheel, as well. My great-uncle Thomas worked at the Quijada Motor Mfg. Co. He was a machinist there. I enjoy talking about the Quijada, the last to remember! By the way, that doesn't look to be the right fuel tank. The original was made of stainless steel, painted white. This tank is the same shape, though. The gas cap should have three vent hoods on it, as well. The exhaust outlet should be round, not rectangle.”

Tyler Daniels

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Beetle Tractor Materials

beetle tractor
A factory photo of a Beetle tractor. Twenty-five were built for the U.S. Forest Service in 1946, with another 90 production tractors built in 1947-1948.

We received a call recently from Robert Janyk, whose work involves dispersing unclaimed estate property. While working on the estate of a gentleman in Oregon, Robert came across an old inter-office envelope containing correspondence about a Beetle tractor, a miniature tracked tractor built in Seattle, Washington, in the late 1940s. Apparently, the deceased once worked for Western Gear Works of Seattle, builder of the Beetle tractor. A quick Internet search by Robert turned up several old GEM articles on the Beetle, prompting him to contact us. Among the items in the envelope were original factory photographs of the Beetle, along with a complete mimeographed copy of a Beetle tractor owner’s manual and parts list, and a Waukesha engine manual. Originally designed for the U.S. Forest Service in 1946, Beetle tractors were small enough to be transported in the back of a full-size pickup. Weighing around 2,000 pounds, they were powered by a 61-cubic-inch, 15 hp 4-cylinder Waukesha ICK engine. Briefly marketed to the public in 1947-1948, it’s estimated only 90 production Beetle tractors were made. Robert kindly sent us the materials he found in hopes we might find a good home for them. If you have a Beetle tractor and would like to have these materials, please contact GEM.

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Fuller & Johnson Double Efficiency Correction

Fuller and Johnson Double Efficiency 

The Fuller & Johnson Double Efficiency shown on Page 5 of the February/March 2017 issue is a 5 hp engine, not a 3 hp as stated, as the smallest size did not have a sight glass on the hopper, used a different style muffler and, based on the flywheel size, does not scale properly when compared to the gentleman standing next to the engine. Feel free to add my email and website to your GEM Experts list.

Nick Lozzi

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Challenge and Associated Engines

challenge engine 

Enclosed are two pictures of me coupling two gas engines together to seat in the rings on the green engine. The engine is a circa-1917 Challenge 2 hp made in Batavia, Illinois, just outside Chicago. I was never happy with the compression. I re-cut the 1/4-inch piston ring grooves to 5/16-inch. This squared up the piston ring lands, which were well worn. The new rings needed some run time before trying to start it up. I had this 2-1/4 hp Associated air-cooled engine that I planned to sell, and which had sat for over 20 years. I got it running and put it to work spinning the 2 hp Challenge for a couple of hours. I live in an urban setting and don’t want a lot of noise escaping from my yard and offending my neighbors. The car muffler helped with noise reduction.

The Challenge always ran OK, but had some blow-by; that is now gone. I have owned it about 45-47 years. The 2-1/4 hp Associated got a good workout that day and was later sold, as I have another one on a wagon with a magneto. I bought this Associated in the mid-1970s. The shop foreman standing on the Challenge is giving us the High Five for a job well done.

Dave Irey
6348 Mildred Ave.
Edina, MN 55439

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Drag Saw Engine Identified

Beaver engine

Drag saw/log saw collector Chris Jerue contacted us in reference to an unidentified engine query submitted by Ron Sindorf in the April/May 2016 issue (51/3/8: “A surprise phone call”). “The drag saw engine that was in question by Ron Sindorf was built by The Beaver Motor Car Co. in Gresham, Oregon,” Chris writes. “It was commonly sold as a Cascade or a Climax when distributed by Sears and Montgomery Ward, respectively. Note the button-up crankcase style. This differentiates it from Wade, Vaughan, Timber Wolf, etc.; none of the other makes look anything like a Beaver engine.”

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Bridge Engine Identified as a Double Efficiency

Bridge under construction

Longtime reader and vintage car and engine enthusiast David Kolzow sent in this very interesting period photograph of a bridge under construction near La Moille, Illinois, likely sometime in the 1905-1915 era. A belt can just be seen running from the rear of the engine, perhaps driving a mud pump.

David didn’t identify the make or year of the engine, but it’s a Double Efficiency made by Fuller & Johnson Mfg. Co., Madison, Wisconsin. Available from 1905 to 1913, there were two different types of DE engines; a line of 3-9 hp pushrod engines (of which this is one; probably a 3 hp) and a line of 8-20 hp sideshaft engines. Of headless design, the cylinder and water hopper were a single large casting.

David Kolzow
615 E. Union St.
Earlville, IL 60518

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email