Is it a Blakeslee or a Bates and Edmonds gas engine?

3-1/2 HP circa

Ray E

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As I prefer period photos of engines at work, I found these two quite interesting.

I found these in a collection of photos at the Dublin, N.H., public library, but as there were no notes accompanying them we don't know the owner, the make of the engine or year the photos were taken.

A search through C.H. Wendel's American Gasoline Engines Since 1872 did not help identify the engine. That's some pile of firewood!

From the Editor - Bob's great photos have us contemplating the Blakeslee/Bates & Edmonds puzzle once again (Gas Engine Magazine, March 2003).

We're certain the engine shown is a product of either Blakeslee Manufacturing Co. (later White-Blakeslee), Birmingham, Ala., or Bates & Edmonds Motor Co., Lansing, Mich. The vertical engines manufactured by the two companies are so similar we wonder if one company or the other was building their version under license or If both companies purchased the design from the same source.

We think the pictured engine is a Bates & Edmonds, mostly because of the muffler and the raised boss running around the lower edge of the cylinder head. The cooling tank gives us pause, however, as every Bates & Edmonds we've seen was piped on the exhaust side. But that could be a red herring, as a photo In our archives shows a Bates & Edmonds with fittings on both sides of the cylinder.

Throwing our Identification into doubt, however, is the engine's mixer, which looks closer to mixers seen in photos of Blakeslee engines. There are differences In the Igniter and the igniter trip used by Blakeslee and Bates & Edmonds, but the differences are slight. That said, their similarities make positive Identification difficult, at best.

Bates & Edmonds engines, while not exactly common, are certainly better represented than surviving Blakeslees, which are almost unheard of. We also know that many Bates & Edmonds engines were sold under the Fairbanks name by the Fairbanks Co., New York, N.Y. - Editor

Special thanks to Bob Weis, Cricket Hill Farm, P.O. Box 1032, Dublin, NH 03444-1032, for submitting these fine photos, and to the Dublin, N.H., public library for permission to reprint them in GEM.