We have lots of news this month, including a great many letters from our readers. First of all, we have a News Release regarding the Witte engine serial numbers:
National Oilwell has announced that queries regarding Witte engines should now be directed to:
C. H. Wendel R. R. 1, Box 28-A Atkins, IA 52206
Mr. Thomas G. Johnston, the Plant Manager at National Oilwell's Garland, Texas facility noted that the records have been donated to Midwest Old Threshers Association at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. For the present time however, they are in the custody and care of Mr. Wendel, who has agreed to handle the requests of Witte engine owners in regard to serial numbers, instruction data, and the like.
Mr. Johnston also stated that the transfer was being made in the interest of preserving and maintaining this historic record.
Additional details regarding available data and services on the Witte engines will be in the next issue of Gas Engine Magazine.
As of this date however, please do not send requests for information on Witte engines to National Oilwell, but instead, direct your inquiries to Mr. Wendel, whose address is listed above.
Several years ago the Reflector had talked with Mr. Johnston and others at National Oilwell in regard to the preservation of the Witte records, so it came as a big surprise when Mr. Johnston called us recently, informing us that the records would have a new home. As this column is being prepared in early February, we do not yet have sufficient details at hand to include a schedule of items available. Over the past years however, Mr. Johnston has maintained a file of Witte engines for which information has been requested. These permanent files constitute a registry of Witte engine still in existence, and usually include 'before and after' photographs of the engines.
Ye olde Reflector has been busy putting the finishing touches on a little book tentatively titled as The Circular Sawmill. It will include all sorts of information about setting up and operating sawmills, some articles on the hammering of saws, and will illustrate the mills of well over fifty different manufacturers. It will be published by Stemgas, and there will be an announcement when it is ready.
On another front, the Reflector made comment several issues back about a Junkers diesel engine in our possession. We are still getting mail on this one, as will be noted in the Readers Write section, some of our subscribers in Europe look on it as a rarity, even in the areas close to where they were originally built. Our thanks to all who have written, but we're still looking for the elusive information on the single cylinder, 12? horsepower model which we have. So far nothing at all has surfaced.
Now to this month's questions. We begin with:
24/4/1 IHC Red Q. Can you tell me when IHC started painting their tractors red? Herman Westphal, HCR81, Box 54, Morristown, SD 57645.
A. Officially at least, they began using red instead of gray in October of 1936. However, there is an occasional tractor that shows up in a red coat prior to that' time. These were probably painted to order, or were perhaps part of some test runs prior to the 1936 changeover.
24/4/2 Briggs & Stratton 'F' Q. American Gas Engines you note that the Briggs & Stratton 'F' series of engines began in 1925, and several other writers seem to agree with this year. However, some of the engine dating sheets issued through B & S dealers seem to indicate that the 'F' series actually began in 1921. Can these two versions be reconciled? Barwise M. Manwaring Jr., 1674 Broadway, Ann Arbor, MI 48105.
A. A little folder entitled The History of Briggs & Stratton Corporation that was issued by the company several years ago states, 'Sold on its brightening future in engine manufacturing, the company began production of the overhead valve Model F series in 1925. The most popular engine in this series, the Model FH, was the biggest seller from 1926 to 1930.' It is quite possible however, that even this original information from the company might be in error, at least as regard their own data sheets.
24/4/3 Controlled Combustion engines Q. An interesting article appears in the April, 1986 issue of Compressed Air Magazine. In this article it is proposed that millions of tiny flames should replace the single large flame provided by standard spark plug ignition. Research scientists have found some promise in a combination of combustion jet igniters and the recirculation of exhaust gas as a viable alternative to ordinary spark plug ignition. Could this concept be somewhat like the hot tube ignition of the 1890's? If you wanted to recirculate the exhaust gases, could a third poppet valve be added to the common rail (exhaust manifold) and properly timed to the ignition point? Would some kind of two-cycle open 'crankcase configuration be used? Paul D. Branstad, RR 1, Box 240, Thompson, IA 50478.
A. Your letter poses some interesting questions. Regarding the comparison of the controlled combustion process to the hot tube, we believe we are correct in stating that the hot tube was in essence the same as the conventional spark plug, in that the flame begins and is propagated as a single sheet of fire against the piston head. Our concept of the system proposed above would be to have a virtual shower of sparks throughout the combustion chamber so that flame propagation would begin at thousands of points all at the same instant. The matter of recirculating the exhaust gases is at the least very complicated, at least at this point in time. Modifying the design to include a third valve for exhaust gas recirculation might be an effective way to raise the temperature of the fresh charge appreciably, but it seems to us that this would also have to be combined with a combustion chamber designed to provide the turbulence required for the process. If one was to use an open crankcase, two-cycle design, this would eliminate the built-in charging pump so that a separate, power-consuming charging pump would be required.
24/4/4 Gibson garden tractors Q. I have a Model D and a Model E Gibson garden tractor but do not know where to look for the serial number. What is the proper color for these, and are decals available from anyone? Also, is there a Gibson Cub that you know of? W. C. Putzer, 2425 S. Porter Road, Breckenridge, Ml 48615.
A. We can't answer a thing on Gibson garden tractors.
24/4/5 W-12 McCormick-Deering Q. I would like to know the value of a W-12 McCormick-Deering on full steel. The tractor is in perfect shape, and the serial number is WS-3594. Louis Couture, 811 Lageux, PO Box 682, Bernieres, Gosico, Quebec, Canada.
A. Since we've always felt that values are pretty much dependent on what the buyer will give and what the seller will take, we've never gotten into appraising the value of anything in this column. We can tell you however, that your tractor was built in 1937. (Mr. Couture sent along a color photo of his W-12, but it was too dark for us to reproduce. Our apologies.)
24/4/6 Johnson Ironhorse Q. I have a Johnson Ironhorse A-300 series engine without the proper carburetor. I also have a manual and parts list, and was wondering whether one might locate the parts this way. Martin L. Roland, 3205 Circle Drive NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402.
A. Aside from our readers seeing your query here, we would suggest that you run an ad in the Classified Section, enumerating the specific part numbers that are needed.
24/4/7 Maynard engines Q. What is the correct color for the Maynard engines? Also, what is the year built for a McCormick-Deering 1? HP engine with s/n WB47000. Gordon Braislin, Jericho Road, Sherman, CT 06784.
A. Our files have no color information on the Maynard. It was sold by the Charles Williams Stores, and certain models are illustrated on page 554 of American Gas Engines. Your 'M' engine was built in 1927.
24/4/8 Chandler & Price printing press Q. Does anyone out there have information on a Chandler & Price printing press? Robbie Riches, 13166 Riches Road NE, Silverton, OR 97381.
A. Having had a love for old-time presses and the art of hand-set type for many years, ye olde Reflector does indeed have a C & P press that was built in 1907. Ours gets used for printing everything from merchandise sacks to business cards. Believe it or not, the prowling about for old type and related printshop items might even be a worse disease than getting the gas engine bug! We suggest you contact: The Printer, 337 Wilson St., Findlay, OH 45840. A couple of years ago they published serial number listing on C & P presses.
24/4/9 Maytag water-cooled Q. I recently acquired the ? HP water-cooled Maytag engine shown in the three adjacent photos. It is s/n 51384. A good friend, David Appel, found it for me in the local scrap yard. It was half buried in the snow, and since there was no spark plug in it, at first glance, I thought it was an air compressor. After cleaning it up, I reassembled it using the old rings, and it runs good.
In looking through the GEM I found some color references on page 8 of the Sept-Oct, 1983 issue. However, this engine has a lot of red on it, and on close inspection, there are traces of blue on the flywheel as shown in 24/4/9B . Hopefully these photos will be of help to others, especially since it does not appear that there were many of the water-cooled models built. Did these engines have a cooling tank, or did they use the wash water for cooling? Earl Sprague, 9252-5th St. West, Redfield, SD 57469.
A. Congrats on acquiring a rather rare engine! To our knowledge, no one has come up with information regarding the connection between Elgin and Maytag, if indeed such a connection ever existed. There are definite signs pointing in that direction, but our research is inconclusive on this point. For the benefit of our readers, see 24/4/9-D and E which show the two patents we have discovered that relate to the Maytag vertical engines. Perhaps this information will help someone else who is trying to establish the relationship between Maytag and Elgin. Further information is included on American Gas Engines.
24/4/10 Magnet engines Q. See the photo of a Wico magneto as used on a Magnet engine made in Hamilton, Ontario between 1912 and 1916. I need one coil for the magneto and would appreciate any information from other owners of Magnet engines. Max Wiese, RR 1, Westlock, Alberta T0G 2L0, Canada.
A. Yours looks like a Type R Wico magneto. We're not absolutely sure, but we believe that the Wico EK coils might be a possible interchange for your magneto. However, if you replace one, we would recommend that you replace them both. WICO was originally formed as Witherbee Igniter Co.
24/4/11 Midget engine Q. Two photos are enclosed of a small engine we recently acquired. It is complete except for the original mixer, but runs good on a homemade version. The engine is about 14 HP, and on the flywheels is cast: The Midget Machine Works, 1257 Atlantic Avenue, Camden, NJ. Any information on this engine will be greatly appreciated. Owen Copenhaver, 104 Oak Street, Richland, PA 17087.
A. Now here's a rare little engine, and one that we never heard of before. Can anyone help?