The History of Ingeco Engines, Part 2

Part 2 of 2: A closer look at the various farm engines in the Ingeco line

Ingeco’s horizontal hopper-cooled farm engine

Ingeco’s horizontal hopper-cooled farm engine.

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Read part one of Chris' Ingeco Engines history in the August/Aeptember 2011 issue of GEM.

As many of you out there with Ingeco engines have found out, there doesn’t seem to be a serial number list to date your engines. One can conclude close estimates as to when your engine was built, though.

If the nameplate on your engine says The International Gas Engine Company, it was built in early 1916 at the latest. And if it is an Ingeco-style engine with the Worthington nameplate, you know it was built sometime between 1916 and 1920. We can also narrow some of these numbers down a little further. We know that No. 1645 was shipped to the dealer on 8/16/1912, No. 3009 on 12/9/1912, No. 3027 on 1/31/1913,  No. 7127 on 11/26/1913,  No. 7356 on 7/27/1914, No. 10074 on 10/20/1914 and No. 11531 in 1915. With these numbers you can get a fairly accurate year for when your engine was built. With this information a good estimate for a serial number list for the International Gas Engine Company built Ingeco engines could be something like this: 1912 up to No. 3020, 1913 from numbers 3021 to 7200; 1914 from numbers 7201 to 10500; 1915 from numbers 10501 to 14500; and 1916 from numbers 14501 and up until Worthington took over.

Remember, the serial number guide is by no means 100 percent accurate and should be used only as a guide, but it should get you into the ballpark of when your engine was built.

The International Gas Engine Company had offices all over the United States, their general sales office and factory being in Cudahy, Wis., with trade centers in Minneapolis and Omaha,  Neb., as well as other sales offices in New York, Atlanta, Detroit, Buffalo, N.Y., Cleveland, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis, Boston, Denver, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Mo., San Francisco, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Seattle, St. Paul, Minn., and even offices in Mexico City and London.

Other details

Regarding paint colors, the dominant color for Ingeco engines is a very dark green; some say a close match would be DuPont 7594. But as we all know with these old engines, it is very hard to narrow it down to one color or one shade of paint used.

Regarding the flywheels, I have heard many people say that the flywheels date the engine, but this is not true. The 5-spoke flywheels were used on the 1-1/2 to 4 HP hopper-cooled farm engines as well as the 2 and 4 HP vertical engines. Larger engines, as well as the 1-1/2 HP air-cooled engine, used the 6-spoke design.

Ingeco engine specifics

This next section pertains to information and specifications on the engines Ingeco built, some facts, how they are built, designs, as well as other information people might want to know about their engines:

Horizontal hopper-cooled: The horizontal hopper-cooled farm engines are a 4-cycle pushrod type engine with the valves located horizontally in the head.The intake valve is automatic and the exhaust valve is operated by means of the pushrod.

Governing for this engine is by means of a hit-and-miss system. When the speed reaches its set RPM, the momentum of the weights causes the engagement of a latch on the backside of the pushrod so the exhaust valve is held open until the speed slows back to the rated RPM. Ignition is affected by means of an igniter, where a movable electrode is operated by the igniter trip that is held up in position with the use of a spring. As the pushrod moves to the left (toward the head) the trip comes into contact with the movable electrode and causes it to come into contact with the stationary electrode inside the cylinder. Contact is broken when the trip passes under the catch, thus producing a spark. Timing is fine tuned by adjusting the height of the trip.

On the 6 HP engines and larger kerosene engines, a water spray is provided that takes water from the hopper and adds it to the fuel to help it burn cooler. Also, switching the engine from gas to kerosene is done by turning a three-way valve located on the fuel tank. These engines were offered as stationary models supplied with either wood skids or a cast iron sub base, and also as portable models supplied on a steel cart.

Horizontal hopper-cooled sideshaft: On the horizontal hopper-cooled sideshaft engine, the valves are located in the vertical positions with the intake opening downward and the exhaust opening upward. Both valves are mechanically operated. There is also a fuel valve to the right of the intake valve; when it opens, fuel is admitted to the venturi tube below it where it mixes with air and heads to the intake valve. A rod that is operated by a cam on the sideshaft operates this fuel valve.

The governor is of the centrifugal type, so when the engine’s speed rises above its set speed the governor swings the finger out of line so no fuel is drawn in, while the other valves continue to operate normally. Ignition is affected by means of an igniter, just like on the hopper-cooled pushrod engine.

Vertical hopper-cooled: The vertical hopper-cooled engine’s operation and general construction are very similar to the horizontal types mentioned earlier. Both valves are vertical and are mechanically operated by cams on a sideshaft (half-time shaft) that is driven by a spiral gearing from the crankshaft.

The vertical hopper-cooled model was known as a semi-portable engine with the gas tank in the base as well as everything else needed to run being secured to the engine. The tank-cooled stationary version had separate fuel and water tanks and also used an exhaust pot instead of a normal muffler. Both of these engines are of the throttle-governed type and made to run on kerosene as well as gasoline.

Horizontal air-cooled: The horizontal air-cooled engine is built and operated just like the horizontal hopper-cooled farm engines mentioned earlier with the exception of the cylinder casting. Both the 1-1/2 HP hopper-cooled and air-cooled engines operate on the hit-and-miss principle and are made to run on kerosene as well as gasoline.

Horizontal tank-cooled sideshaft: On the horizontal tank-cooled sideshaft engine, everything is pretty much the same as the horizontal hopper-cooled sideshaft engine with a throttle-governed design and ability to run on kerosene as well as gasoline.

The main frame is cast separate from the cylinder, which is bolted to the main frame. There are cast reservoirs under the main bearing that contain a supply of oil, which is carried onto the shaft by means of chains. The main bearings are set at a 45-degree angle and made from babbitt, and the frame is mounted onto a cast iron sub-base. The head has removable valve cages on the top and bottom, and the water jacket for the head is separate from the cylinder jacket and is controlled by a separate valve. The piston has three to five rings depending on the size of engine, and the piston pin is hollow and secured with two set screws. The crankshaft is forged from solid open-hearth billet with the spiral gear for the sideshaft drive pressed on and keyed with a tapered key. The sideshaft has three bearings, one on the main frame outside the crankshaft, and the other two on the operating end on each side of the cams. The spiral gear that runs the sideshaft also runs in oil.

The cams that run the valves are keyed to the sideshaft by means of a straight key. The exhaust cam operates the exhaust valve through the rocker arm, whereas the intake cam opens the intake valve by means of a vertical pushrod and rocker arm. This pushrod has a right and left hand thread for adjustment. There is also a relief cam that opens the exhaust valve for part of the compression stroke, thus making it possible to turn over by hand. The igniter is operated by a pushrod actuated by a crank on the end of the sideshaft. The crank pin and cylinder get oil from sight feed oil cups located on the top of the cylinder; the others feed the centrifugal oil ring on the crankshaft, which carries oil to the crank pin.

Ingeco also built a special electric version of the horizontal tank-cooled sideshaft engine; almost everything is the same except for the flywheels, which are much larger. It was also said that the governor on the special electric engines was more sensitive, as well.

A natural gas version of the horizontal tank-cooled sideshaft engines was also built; everything was the same as on the regular horizontal tank-cooled sideshaft engine except that it came supplied with valves for the use of natural or manufactured gas.

Two-cycle crude oil: The two-cycle crude oil engine was built for use in heavy-duty work. This engine is of the semi-diesel type designed for the purpose of utilizing crude oil as fuel, but will also operate on lighter grade oils such as kerosene. This Ingeco engine was of a new design that introduced several distinctive and improved ideas to the engine world, including probably the first open crankcase two-stroke design.

Scavenging was accomplished through the use of a scavenging piston and cylinder with an air-receiving base instead of by crankcase compression. An ample supply of air was provided by making the scavenging cylinder larger in volumetric displacement than that of the combustion piston. The atomizer was also of a special design that completely atomized the fuel. Lubrication is taken care of by means of a force- feed lubricator with no grease or oil cups of any kind. The governor is located in the flywheel at the hub and is of the centrifugal type, and is also very sensitive to variations in load conditions. It was said to deliver its full-rated power quietly and without undue heating and stress of parts.

Horizontally opposed: The Ingeco tractor was a lightweight design equipped with a two-cylinder, horizontally-opposed engine with a 5-3/4-inch bore and 7-inch stroke. It delivered 20 HP on the pulley and 10-12 HP on the drawbar at 650 RPM, but was made to run up to about 800 RPM. The engine was magneto equipped and had an automobile-type radiator system. The shipping weight for just the stationary engine unit was 2,500 pounds, and the shipping weight for the tractor was 5,000 pounds.

The tractor has four wheels and a single driver, which runs in the furrow, the single power / traction wheel is 6 feet in diameter and 16 inches wide. Transmission is by means of a single set of spur gears and a chain. It was said to take the place of eight to 10 horses and handle two to four 14-inch plows. Normal speed for the tractor is 1 to 3 MPH forward and 1/2 MPH in reverse.

Pumping engine: Ingeco also had a pumping engine unit, which included Ingeco’s sideshaft engine connected to its water pump. The side of the engine the pump was mounted on had the flywheel removed, and a gear and friction clutch were attached to the crankshaft. Engine sizes varied from 6 to 20 HP with more than 15 different sizes of pumps to ensure one for every need. One could also buy just the engine with the geared base without the water pump.

Ingeco also made smaller pumping outfits for the 2-1/2 and 4 HP farm-type engines as well as trench/mudpumps for the 1-1/2 HP hopper-cooled engines. The small vertical engines of the 2 and 4 HP sizes could also be ordered as water pumping engines; they came directly connected to horizontal Duplex pumps.

One could also buy a pump jack intended to run with the 1-1/2 HP farm-type Ingeco engines. Two types of pump jacks were offered, a single reduction gear-type made to run at 160 RPM at the pulley, or a double reduction gear type made to run at 275 RPM at the pulley.

Sawing outfits: The farm-type Ingeco engines in the sizes from 4 to 10 HP were also offered on sawing outfits. These sawing outfits could be furnished as right-handed or left-handed. The most common type sold was the left-handed type, meaning that when facing the saw blade it would be on your left. Ingeco also sold New Holland feed mills to be used on the engines from 1-1/2 to 15 HP. Also offered were ensilage cutters, silo fillers, concrete mixers ranging from a 3 to 100 cubic foot capacity, and even storage battery plants to be used with Ingeco’s farm-type, throttle-governed engines.

Multi-cylinder vertical engine 

In early 1912, when Ingeco began designing their multi-cylinder vertical internal combustion engines, strong efforts were made by the designers to avoid any bad features and stick with widely used and well-known features. The goal was to create a great engine using the best knowledge of the times, thus combining familiar and practical features that would have been recognized by the buyer as being successful. The designers tried to keep the number of parts down to the essential features necessary to accomplish the desired results. To keep the manufacturing cost down, Ingeco manufacturers stated that they left out the “superfluous finish” and used the plainest possible form of parts, but they did use the best commercial materials available while staying away from special grades. Even with these commercial materials, the wear resistance was very strong.

It was said that these multi-cylinder vertical engines claimed a high mechanical efficiency because of the workmanship and design. All moving parts were said to be well-balanced and built to run at a constant speed – perfect for the use of running a generator. These engines were furnished with an air-start system connected to all cylinders, and the make-and-break ignition system was standard, but they offered an option for a jump-spark system. The make-and-break ignition system consisted of a magneto run off the igniter shaft. Another interesting feature is how the crank and the lower frame were held together by means of a tongue and groove fit as well as long bolts that extended from the cylinder heads to a mount under the main journal supports of the base.

The crankcase was designed so the crankshaft can be removed from either end. The crankshaft was machined from solid hearth steel and polished at all bearing surfaces. It is supported by adjustable babbitt-lined bearings. The cylinders are a cast iron tube pressed into position inside of the water jacket, which is a separate casting. The cylinder water jackets were made with large hand holes on both sides in case of cleaning. The cylinder head was designed with a hemispherical explosion space with a large water jacket around it to ensure ample cooling. The connecting rods are made of open-hearth steel with adjustable bearings, heavy bronze for the piston pin and babbitt for the crank pin.

The valves are run by means of eccentrics using pull rods and rolling cams, which allow for large wearing surfaces, as well as quiet and easy opening and closing of the valves. The valves are located in removable cages that are ground to fit the recess in the head, thus taking advantage of the cooling ability of the heads. In addition to the valve stem guide in the cages, a crosshead guide is also attached to the valve stem by means of two split rings. The governor is of the centrifugal type with four weights enclosed in a spring-driven case that is machined to run true. The case is removable for inspection, and the governing spring outside of the case is adjustable while the engine is running by means of two hand wheels.

Lubrication of the main bearings is controlled by a force feed lubricator run off of the camshaft. Steel or copper tubing was used to pipe the oil to all the lubricating points. There are two oil delivery spots for each cylinder and are located on opposite sides. The piston pin is lubricated through the hollow pin that picks up oil from the cylinder walls by means of a groove in the piston followed by a pipe to the pin. The crank pins are flooded with oil through a centrifugal oil ring to the bearings through a 5/8-inch hole drilled through the crank check to the center of the bearing at a 30-degree angle.

For the list of sources used for this article, contact Chris Jerue at P.O. Box 307, Cheney, WA 99004 •