Field Notes

Fairbanks-Morse Display Cabinet

cabinet 

sign 

Mitch Malcolm at Lightning Magneto sent in some pics of a neat old Fairbanks-Morse service cabinet he picked up and has been displaying at swap meets. According to Mitch, it was a factory-supplied dealer’s repair parts display cabinet. “Judging from the parts in it, it’s for the early Z engines from the Jack Jr. up through the 6 hp,” Mitch says, adding that the cabinet contains “gaskets, valves, springs, some igniter parts, ring sets, cam and crankshaft gears, fuel lines and an AB-33 Bosch magneto long trip arm. After having been at the swap meet I found that there are several others around, so they are not that rare.” Rare enough, we’d say, and a neat addition to any collection, especially Fairbanks-Morse.

Mitch Malcolm mitchmalcolm@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

Alamo Empire Runs and Looks Like New

Here are a few pictures of an engine that I recently restored and thought I would send you a before and after. I purchased the engine in August 2015, got it running, took it to a couple of shows, then tore it down, cleaned all the parts, and removed all the rust and old paint.

It is an Empire built by Alamo Mfg. Co., Hillsdale, Michigan, and sold by Empire Cream Separator Co., Bloomington, New Jersey. I finished the restoration and the new cart in February this year (2016) and I intend to take it to shows this year. The engine runs like new! I’m really proud of it!

Gordon I. Woffenden
Newport, NH

Before:

Alamo

Alamo

After:

Alamo

Alamo<


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

Unknown Engine or Compressor Might be a Bourke Engine

Concerning Flywheel Forum 51/4/6: Engine or Compressor? in the June/July 2016 issue, it’s hard to tell from just two photographs, but it appears that there is a radial engine coupled to what looks like a Bourke engine. Russell Bourke experimented with his engine in the 1920s and 1930s. It would be interesting to learn more of this engine, where it was found, etc. The Bourke engine is famous for its opposing pistons and Scotch yoke inside, which made a smooth running engine.

Magic Bill/via email

unknown 

Thanks for the tip, Magic Bill. While it’s hard to verify from the photos sent in by Webb Marner, you might be on to something. Granted patent number 2,172,670 in 1939, the first Bourke engine was a 2-stroke flat twin. Both pistons traveled in the same direction at the same time, and it was designed to run without spark ignition once warm, effectively transitioning to a dieseling engine, yet burning gasoline. The 2-cylinder unit shown in Webb Marner’s photos has a crankcase-mounted carburetor, which lines up with a 2-stroke design.

The Bourke engine’s Scotch yoke, essentially a slotted link keyed to the connecting rod and the crankshaft to transfer the piston’s linear motion to rotational motion, made it possible to construct multi-cylinder rotary engines, suggesting the possibility that both engines in the photos are Bourke engines. However, it might simply be a flight of fancy, as Don Kuhl of Peebles, Ohio, thinks, who wrote in to say “it appears to me to be a fairly elaborate ‘do nothing’ machine.”

To see a neat animation of a Scotch yoke in action, check out the GIF below. – GEM

animated bourke engine


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

Unknown Engine is an Alamo Engine

alamo 

I am writing in reference to Flywheel Forum 51/4/5: Unknown engine, in the June/July 2016 issue of GEM. These are pictures of our 9 hp Alamo. Sadly, the engine went through a fire hot enough to melt the babbit and oiler glass. The vertical flyball governor is at my brother Bob’s in South Carolina. He is in the process of resurrecting a 7 hp tank-cooled Alamo that also went through the barn fire. You can see the melted glass in the bottom of the big end oiler.

My grandfather Russell started collecting engines in the early 1960s. I was about 6 years old and am now 58. I guess you could say I’ve been around the engine shop a time or two. My dad, Robert, is 87 years old and lives next door, and between us we have over 200 engines, everything from Maytags to a gearless Olds.

The 9 hp has 40-inch flywheels and a 7-inch bore and 10-inch stroke. It is kerosene, throttle-governed, with intake air preheat and water metering from the hopper. It also does have the base. I have no doubt that the unknown engine is an Alamo. I’m not sure what size though, without dimensions. This engine ran beautifully before the fire and will run again in the future.

Jim Meixell
Westport Island, ME
meixells@roadrunner.com

alamo 

alamo 


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

Are There Any Exisiting Monovalve Diesel Engines?

Monvalve page 

Reader Brain Barber in Benoni, South Africa, sent us a letter asking about a monovalve, sidevalve diesel engine he remembers once being made in the U.S. He didn’t have a name, and was curious if any of these engines had survived. The engine Brian is referring to is undoubtedly the American Monovalve Diesel Engine designed by Charles A. Winslow in 1931 and manufactured for several years by the American Diesel Engine Co., Oakland, California. Warwick Bryce wrote about the engine way back in the October/November 1994 issue of GEM, and we’ve recently been in contact with California engine and tractor historian Jack Alexander who, not surprisingly, has not only researched Winslow and his monovalve design, but also has available a reprint service manual for the monovalve engine (go to lulu and enter “monovalve” in the search window). Briefly, the monovalve worked by using the flow of exhaust gas to draw in the fresh air charge. The exhaust valve remained open for both the exhaust and intake stroke, drawing in fresh air as the spent gases were expelled. At least two different engines were made, a 2-cylinder and a 4-cylinder, in versions for stationary, marine and automotive use, with a range of engines up to eight cylinders planned. Look for a further examination of this fascinating engine in the next issue of GEM.

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

Sawing Wood with a Pontiac

Sawing wood

It looks to me like there is a small wheel that is being turned by friction on the car wheel that drives the flat belt to the buzz saw as shown in David Babcock's photo in Flywheel Forum, in the December/January 2016 issue.

My grandfather used his cut-down Pontiac sedan to cut stove wood for grandma. He mounted a flat pulley to the hub instead of a wheel, and with the belt twisted into a figure eight it gave the proper rotation for the saw blade. In the posted photo, you can see that the belt is running in a standard loop. A buzz saw always rotates like one on a table saw, spinning toward the operator.

Jan Breitigam
Placerville, CA


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

Unknown Lawn Mower Engine Identified

Fuller Johnson mower

The engine on Page 6 of the February/March 2016 issue, “Unknown single-cylinder,” is a Fuller & Johnson lawn mower engine. This engine was used by Coldwell in the mid-1920s and Fuller & Johnson on their own mowers from the late teens on. These were NOT the same mower. There should be a housing covering the gears containing a platform for the magneto.

Mike Semanoff
Waterbury, CT

elidas@aol.com


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