A Brief Word

Fairbanks-Morse 'Z' engine


Don Green

Content Tools


24/1/69 Stover engines

In Mr. Wendel's answer he has apparently set aside the historic usage of foundry casting dates with the notion that the 9-10-23 in the casting represents the date the casting pattern was made. In the 53 years I have been collecting and restoring antique machinery and engines I have never heard anyone or read any document which implies or states that such markings represent the date a pattern was made. Mr. Wendel apparently has an insight into these matters that transcends us mere mortals.

My limited insight in these matters suggests the 9-10-23 is the casting date used by foundries to insure castings don't get mixed up in the curing process used to relieve stresses in green castings. In the engine in question it appears some six months elapsed between casting and machining. Depending on the nature of the casting, the curing process typically extended from 90 days to several years storage outside hence the seeming piles of rusting junk outside manufacturer's plants. Richard A. Day, Rt. 2, Box 44, Leonardtown, MD 20650.

A. The Reflector at one time had five different Stover 'K' engine models, all with the same 9-10-23 date in the main frame casting. Curiously, however, the serial numbers indicated that these engines were built over a period ranging from 1924 to 1935. Ye olde Reflector doesn't have any 'greater insight into these things' than anyone else, but to suggest that an engine built in 1935 was cast already in 1923 doesn't make sense. This is especially true with Stover we would think, because the company had its share of financial troubles, and it doesn't seem likely that they left anything in the curing yard any longer than necessary.

We're not attempting to peddle misinformation in wholesale lots- and in the case of the above mentioned engine, we're going with the facts as we have them. Beyond this, we maintain that using the date in the casting is inaccurate since it does not necessarily reflect the manufacturing date. To settle on a single point of criteria would be like saying that all IHC Famous vertical engines were built in 1905 because that year is cast on the engine. Both assumptions would be erroneous.

24/1/11 United States engine

The United States engine was manufactured by Brownwall Engine & Pulley Company of Holland, Michigan. The years that Brownwall, under various names, made engines was 1911 through the late 1920's. This unit was probably made in Brownwall's heyday of about 1920-1923. You will note it is the characteristic headless design, but in a kerosene version.

I have a number of United States-/Brownwall engines and am working on an article for GEM regarding all the information I have collected on them. So far I have logged over 40 units made by Brownwall. The unit pictured probably used a Webster Tri-Polar magneto. The odd routing of the exhaust goes through an intake pre-heater arrangement. The unit should also have a crank cover that is very thorough in covering the crankshaft area. The color was literally a battleship gray.

I have only seen one or two other kerosene models and feel Mr. Hoffman is very lucky to own one!

The Bellows Falls, Vermont area, which is where the unit was sold from, is my hometown area. Bart Cushing, P.O. Box 44, Gilsum, NH 03448.

24/1/5 Engine

This engine was built by Notre Dame students in 1930. They made the wood patterns, the castings, and did the machining. I have engine No. 5 and know of engine No. 2 in Florida. Engine numbers are stamped on most parts and were the student's tool check number.

Tom Goepfrich, 1191 E. 900 N., Ossian, IN 46777.

24/1/36 Engine

In reference to this engine, see a photo of my disassembled engine. It is a Sattley from Montgomery Ward. The crankcase is casting number AK 219, and all other parts use the AK prefix. I understand this engine is not very common and is very collectible.

 The engine in the photo is owned by Dale Fye of Shelton, Washington. Don Green, P.O. Box 294, Grape-view, WA 98546.

23/12/20 Jacobson Sturdy Jack

Some years ago I acquired a 1 Vi HP Jacobson Sturdy Jack with battery ignition. The engine was in very bad shape, but I am now getting it restored. This engine was painted red. I believe they are rather scarce. James B. Romans, 9111 Louis Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

23/10/26 National Transit engine

The engine in the photograph was built by National Transit Company at Oil City, Pennsylvania. This interesting engine is believed to have been made only in one size, and was almost invariably used to belt-drive a pump jack, also built by National Transit. These outfits were employed to pump either a single oil well or to periodically pump production-choking brackish water out of a single gas well.

This one very common, but now relatively rare engine was apparently the second in a series of three vertical two-cycle engines produced by National Transit over a 30 year period. The first series bore an uncanny resemblance to a vertical steam engine and was introduced during the mid 1890's. The second series, of which Mr. Schwartz's engine is an example, used a governor very similar to that of the first series, but was otherwise quite different. This design is quite reminiscent of other designs common around 1910 when this model was probably introduced.

The third series was similar in design to the 4-cycle 'Little Hummer' engine shown on page 331 of American Gas Engines. Observed serial numbers all seem to fall in the 200-300 range, indicating that they were probably numbered in a series separate from other National Transit products.

For further information on this and other delightful National Transit engines, I invite Mr. Schwartz and anyone else interested to visit the Cool spring Power Museum in Cool spring, Pennsylvania. This museum has twelve National Transit engines on display, including seven which run on a regular basis. Clark Colby, Cool spring Power Museum, R.D. 1, Box 199A, Greensburg, PA 15601.

Webster Magneto Brackets

Kindly add 303 J 90 to the list in the December, 1986 GEM. This is for the 30 HP Turner Simplicity engine.

Paint Colors

I had color chips from a 1 HP Springfield engine analyzed and Dulux 93-143-H Maroon is a perfect match.

Also I had the color for a Lauson-Lawton engine analyzed and Rustoleum Forest Green matches. However, they have replaced it with Hunter Green which is just slightly darker. The same color matches the Taylor Vacuum engines.

The correct color for the Bicknell engines made at Janesville, Wisconsin is a dark blue comparable to Dulux 93-81501.

23/11/11 Simplicity engines

This is a very late Simplicity, probably of the early 1920's. The correct color for these engines is O.D. Green or Army green.

The above items were all submitted by D. Kedinger, 2277 Highway 103, Oakfield, WI 53065-9730.

23/12/17 Carburetor floats

I have used the resin that comes in a fiberglass patching kit. Mix it up like you would to patch, except you do not need the cloth. It really works good. I used it on a float for a 15-30 IHC three years ago and it is still okay. The screws in the lever that hold it to the cork were not good, but this stuff held it together. W.E. Neal, 613 8th Ave., Charles City, IA 50616.

On Welcoming Newcomers

I especially appreciated your 'Closing Word' in the December issue of GEM. We must be sensitive to the newcomers in this hobby. The real young are very scarce in our area, probably because of the escalating cost of our hobby, but if it is to continue, we must pass information and encouragement along, no matter how trivial it seems to us. The bottom line is to be patient with the young people.

We have a question as to the Standard Twin garden tractors. Does anyone know the years of manufacture for these units? The serial number we have is 37C2171. It has rubber tires on spoked rims. Most units I have seen prior to this one were all on solid iron rims. I assume this one is probably a later one built. Would like to hear from anyone about this garden tractor.

John K. Kreider, 327A East Main, New Holland, PA 17557.

Canadian Fairbanks-Morse

In response to a question from Philip Van Wyk (Nov 88 GEM) about the Canadian Fairbanks-Morse 'Z' engine:

See photos FBM-1 and FBM-2 of my 3 HP Canadian FBM 'Z' engine, s/n C26540. It has the separate cast hopper, spark plug on top of head, exhaust out the side opposite the governor, starting reservoir carburetor, throttling governor operation, all indicative of the 1919-25 USA production 'ZA' models. However, the brass plate states 'Toronto, Ont.' as the factory, with patent dates of Feb. 5, 1918; Dec. 25, 1917; and April 2, 1918. The crankshaft has the serial number stamped on one end.

I would like to hear from other owners of Canadian Fairbanks-Morse engines in hopes of establishing a registry, and perhaps being able to correlate a serial number/date for these engines.

Morrie Robinson, 1087 Potts Rd-Day Creek, Sedro Woolley, WA 98284.

24/1/28 Stone buhr mills

Several letters came in on stone mills, including one fom Barry Snider, P.O. Box 338, Fairfield, TX 75840 and Joseph Lisaius, 116 Orton Road, West Caldwell, NJ.

Mr. Snider sent along some photocopy material on the Meadows mills, noting that these are still being built by Meadows Mills Company, North Wilkesboro, NC.

Mr. Lisaius comments that Eric Sloane did a very complete article on the dressing of mill stones by traveling journeymen in one of his books. One comment was of particular interest:

Examine the forearms of the journeyman dresser. Due to the chipping of the dressing chisel, particles of steel would be driven into the skin and would be quite visible if this professional had been at it for some length of time. Sloane also noted that during the shift from millstones to steel cutters, particles of millstones would enter the flour and eventually accelerate the wearing down of the teeth.

(We hope Mr. Lisaius can supply the title of the above mentioned book, and its publisher-Ed.)

24/1/17 Krahling's engine

Several letters came in on this one, and Earl reports that he got quite a number of letters, all of which were appreciated. The engine of this query is now established to be a ? HP DeLaval Junior engine. It was designed to run a cream separator, and could pull a vacuum pump or a small generator. They were sold around 1934.

Junkers diesel engines

The Reflector asked for information regarding a Junkers opposed piston diesel engine, and we got several letters and phone calls in this regard. However, most of the replies had to do with the Junkers aircraft engines rather than this specific single cylinder, 12.5 HP model. All of the information we received was greatly appreciated, as it is a lot more than we had prior to our query.

This particular opposed piston design starts incredibly easy, and we have started it with one pull of the crank with the air temperature at 45 degrees! I'll grant it ran pretty rough for a couple of minutes, but by then it had warmed sufficiently to . settle down.

Thanks to everyone who responded!

24/1/64 Letz mills

Cobey Company, Div. of Harsco, took over Letz in 1968 and became Cobey-Letz Company. Their address was Gallon, OH 44833. Their plant at 800 East North St., Crown Point, IN 46307.

24/1/23 F-30 cane tractors

There are many references in an  F-30 parts catalog to tractors s/n 30176 and up. I don't think you could call any narrow front wheels (row-crop) tractor a cane tractor. Didn't all cane tractors have a wide-front?

The above two comments from: Gordon Rice Equipment Inc., P.O. Box 687, Clarion, PA 16214.

You're correct-cane tractors used a wide-front axle. We do not have an F-30 parts book showing the expanded view of the F-30 cane tractor.

Regarding the remaining comments of this section, we thank Dick Hamp, 1772 Conrad Avenue, San Jose, CA 95124 for sending a letter and information:

23/12/11 General engine

Regarding the General Model D engines, I have a data sheet on them, but have never seen one of these high quality engines. I would say they are quite rare.

24/1/9 Wiscona Pep

These engines were built at least until 1921. It appears that there were no flyweights in the flywheel for the governor, so they must have been in the timing gear or related parts. I have seen several Pep motors and I have the remains of one, and they all have water hoppers shaped like the one in the photo of 24/1/9. These engines had two fuel tanks-one for gasoline and the other for kerosene. If you have seen one with a different shaped hopper, I would like to see a photo of it.

24/1/30 Hercules

The letters after the horsepower rating define the type of engine. For instance, a 1929 price list shows the 1? XK to be a kerosene model with half base and wood skids. The XI is gasoline, half base, and wood skids, and so on.

24/1/53 Magneto

The low tension magneto pictured in 24/1/53 is a Wizard Type A-l built by Hercules Electrical Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.

24/1/61 Standard gas engine

This engine was built by Standard Gas Engine Company. Their main office and works was located at 23rd Avenue Station in Oakland, California, and the sales room was at 436 Market Street in San Francisco. Most of these engines were for marine use.

24/1/61B Engine

This is a Witte diesel engine of about 1950's or 1960's vintage.

24/1/69 Stover engines

The 9-10-23 date cast into the block on the Stover engine is the date the block was cast. After the blocks were cast, they were set outside to age for 6 to 12 months. I got this information from the late Lester Roos.

Mr. Hamp supplies information for GEM readers on a regular basis. His painstaking research is a great help to us all. Thanks Dick!


In searching through old magazines, we found several interesting illustrations in the American Thresherman. Photo 24/3/A illustrates the 'New Polo' engine by General Mfg. Co. at Elk-hart, Indiana. Inverted vertical engines are unusual in themselves, but note that this one is air-cooled as well. Are any of these engines still in existence?

Photo 24/3/B shows a nice looking side shaft model from Hydraulic Press Mfg. Company of Mt. Gilead, Ohio. While this one certainly resembles the Ohio built at Sandusky, we are wondering whether any such engines are around that bear the nameplate of Hydraulic Press Company? This advertisement appeared in the March, 1904 issue of American Thresherman.

Finally, 24/3/C from the June, 1904 American Thresherman shows a Waterbus Improved Gasoline Traction Engine. Although Waterbus is well remembered for steam fire engines, little is known about their activities as tractor builders. This particular venture appears to have been short-lived, and very possibly never got past a few prototype models, of which this might be an example. So far as we know, there are no Waterbus tractors in existence, but if there are, we'll be happy to know about it!