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Getting a Bessemer Gas Engine to Original Specs

Bessemer gas engine

Reader Bill Gingerich writes in about a Bessemer he recently bought. He didn’t send a photo, but did supply the following information from the engine’s tag, which reads: The Bessemer Gas Engine Co., Grove City, PA, Gaso Kero Type, No. A626 R.P.M.650 H.P.2. “I bought this engine in pails,” Bill writes, noting the fuel and cooling tank were missing. Specifically, Bill says he’s looking for information to help him get the engine back to original specs; whether that means making parts or buying them. He notes that he has a reprint book, but that it’s not clear. “I don’t have a computer or Internet, but you may leave a message; I will call.”

Bill Gingerich
24491 Cemetery Rd.
Spartansburg, PA 16434
(814) 654-7254

Bill’s Bessemer is a Gaso-Kero, a water-cooled, throttle-governed 2-stroke vertical of the type made by Bessemer Gas Engine Co. between 1913-1925. The image at right is from a Bessemer catalog. Gaso-Kero engines were available in 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 hp sizes, and were known for being significantly lighter than their 4-stroke counterparts, making them, ostensibly, easier to move and set up for various farm chores. Although they appear to have had a fairly long production life, survivors are rare. If any readers have a Gaso-Kero Bessemer, we encourage you to send photos of your engine so we can share them.


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

Search for a Renfrew Engine Manual

Renfrew engine

A Stover Type Y showing Stover green.

I have just inherited a gas engine that has a tag from the Renfrew Machinery Co. It is 2 hp A with a speed of 500 rpm and a serial number of Y114917. This engine was running prior to it going in storage so it is complete. Is there someplace I can obtain a operating manual? I have NO idea how to run it. I would like to restore it to its original colors if possible because it is John Deere green right now. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I have failed to find any info.
Gordon Weller
Gordonb50gmail.com

As near as we know, Renfrew Machinery Co. of Renfrew, Ontario, Canada, never built its own engines, instead contracting engines from various manufacturers in the U.S. Known suppliers include Christensen Engineering Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Sta-Rite Engine Co., La Crosse, Wisconsin; Hercules Gas Engine Co., Evansville, Indiana; and Stover Mfg. & Engine Co., Freeport, Illinois. Based on its horsepower and serial number, your engine is likely a 1919 Stover Type Y. Stover engines were indeed painted green, but a much darker shade than John Deere green. We don’t know what commercially available green is currently closest, perhaps a GEM reader can help Gordon with sourcing the correct color and an engine manual to help him get his engine running.


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

Seeking More Hummer Gas Engine Information

Hummer gas engine

Paul Luckman's Hummer gas engine follows conventional layout, with hit-and-miss governing, a spark plug and buzz coil, atmospheric intake valve and a single cast cylinder and water hopper. Photos by Paul Luckman.

I am hoping someone can come up with some information on Hummer engines. My engine is cast in one piece except for the wet head. The bottom of the main casting is open, similar to an Alamo. The engine appears well built. The engine is silver. “Hummer” appears in green stencils on both sides of the hopper. The serial number, 8283, is stamped in the head. It has a 3-7/8-inch bore and a 4-inch stroke. The crankshaft is 1-1/2 inches in diameter. I would guess it to be 1 hp. It has splash oiling for the crank end of the connecting rod with cast grease boxes for the crank lube. I would like to know who built it and when, as well as what its original color was.

Hummer gas engine

Hummer gas engine

Hummer gas engine

Contact Paul Luckman at 4006 Hall Center Rd., Walworth, NY 14568 or by phone at (315) 926-4455.

Hummer engines are something of a mystery. Hummer Manufacturing Co., Springfield, Illinois, was connected to Montgomery, Ward & Co. In 1916, Montgomery Ward purchased Racine-Sattley, which shortly thereafter was renamed the Hummer Plow Works, the Hummer being a popular plow made by Racine-Sattley. The company changed its name to Hummer Manufacturing Co. about 1931. Available information suggests Hummer didn’t start making engines until the mid-1930s, but those engines appear to have been air-cooled, not water-cooled. Wards marketed a 1-1/2 hp Sattley engine, and apparently sporadically marketed engines under the Hummer name. Yours is not the first to surface, although they appear to be quite rare. If you know more, please contact Paul and GEM.


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

Seeking Information on Winch Engine

Winch Engine

Winch Engine

Winch Engine

Winch Engine

Ron Cairns, author of Power Pioneers: The Art of the Engine, a collection of interesting engine patents he’s found over the years and reviewed in the December/January 2016 issue of GEM, sends in photos of a winch engine he found at the North Pacific Cannery Historic Fishing Village in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada. The staff at the village did not have any information on the engine so Ron wrote in asking if anyone might be able to help with identification.

The engine Ron found is a throttle-governed Fairbanks, Morse & Co. Type Z, likely a 3 hp manufactured in the mid-1920s. Close examination shows a host of issues, including welding to the cylinder head and, more curious, a catastrophically bent connecting rod. What caused that? The gears for the winching mechanism look to be in very good shape, begging the question, how much use did this winching setup see before it was retired or quit? The engine wears a thick coat of paint, which has likely helped it survive the ravages of time and exposure to the salty sea air, although we’d expect the cylinder has filled with water thanks to the upturned exhaust pipe elbow. It appears to be surprisingly complete, right down to the spark plug and magneto. Fairbanks did a brisk trade in winching engines on the West Coast, selling them to many boating and mining companies. Large units featured flywheels that could be broken down to be packed into desolate mining areas by mule.


Contact Ron Cairns via email at sales@artoftheengine.ca

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

Square-Cylinder Engine is a Mystery

square-head quijada

 Square-cylinder Quijada looks purpose built, but for what?

square-head quijada

square-head quijada

square-head quijada 

Al Matheson sends in photos of an engine he bought that features a square-shaped cylinder. The headless engine is clearly a 2-stroke design, the exhaust ported from the base of the cylinder and the mixer feeding the fuel/air through the crankcase. The gas tank is canted at about 20 degrees, offset to the right, and the mixer features a variable sleeve. It may have had a shroud over the flywheel and has a large metal mounting strap bolted to the crankshaft end of the engine. “Quijada” and “Los Angeles, California” are cast into the rim of the magneto flywheel. Al has examined several California business registries looking for information on the manufacturer, but has come up empty. The engine’s location when found – near the railroad town of Modena, Utah – could be a clue. If anyone knows anything about the engine or the company, Al and GEM would like to hear from you.


Contact Al Matheson via email at citabriair@yahoo.com

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

An Original Lauson Engine?

Is this a Lauson

Is this a Lauson

Is this a Lauson

Is this a Lauson 

Reader Ron Stephens sends in photos of a little Lauson Model 55S engine that he’s had for some 30 years. Ron believes that, outside of a test run, the little Lauson has never been run, noting the original green paint on the rope starter and the muffler, the latter never having burned off. He says the inside of the cylinder is clean and notes the sparkplug has some soot, but no suggestion it ever ran long enough to burn off, again suggesting only a test run. He can’t explain the residue around the gas tank filler. Ron would be happy to hear from anyone who might help shed some light on the Lauson.


Contact Ron Stephens via email at rondaguy@msn.com

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

INGECO/Worthington, Venn-Severin and Drag Saw/Log Saw Info Wanted

drag saw

I am a historian for INGECO/Worthington and Venn-Severin engines, and all drag saw/log saws brands. I have had a couple of articles in GEM about INGECOs and drag saw/log saws, and as I learn more, I will submit more. I’d like to write an article or two about Venn-Severin engines, as well as write more about drag saws as I learn more to help preserve the history. Reed Benton was previously the acting historian for INGECO engines, but due to age and health he passed along his information for me to work on at the beginning of this year.

engine

There are currently 190 engines on the INGECO/Worthington registry, 20 engines on the Venn-Severin registry and 132 saws on the drag saws/log saws registry. There’s no website currently, but I am compiling information and organizing it, and I will post the information on a devoted website  and smokstak.com, eventually. Collector names and contact information will be held strictly confidentially and will not be publicized. Here is the information I am looking for:

Serial Number: The number of the engine; if not legible, please state so
Year: Provide original sales records or confirmation if available
Model/type: If known
HP: If not known, please provide bore and stroke, plus flywheel diameter
Ignition: If magneto what brand and model, plus governing style
Engine type: Vertical or horizontal
Cooling: Hopper or tank
Sold by: If tagged by somebody other than the manufacturer
Notes: Anything else you would like to add
Pictures: Pictures are helpful for looking at differences over the years. Original paint, pinstriping, decals, etc., are all good things to see. If possible, name pictures being sent using the serial number of the engine.
Owner: Current owner's name
Location: City, state and country or province
Contact info: Phone, email and physical address

Please send to:
Chris Jerue
P.O. Box 1474
Bremerton, WA 98337
cjerue@hotmail.com


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