Readers' Engine Questions

Magnet Engine

37/8/6C: Head on view of Magnet engine.

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37/8/6: Magnet Gas Engine

Jimmy Alexander, 197 Albright Lane, Gallatin, TN 37066-8745, sends in some photos of a Magnet engine, s/n 1022, horsepower unknown. Jimmy says a Wico mounted on the right-hand side of the water hopper supplied spark. This particular engine was found in a yard in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, where it had been sitting for 32 years. According to Jimmy it had previously been working pulling a shingle mill in South Gallies, Ontario, Canada.

The Magnet engine was built by Petrie Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, but little is known about the company. If any readers know more about the Magnet engine line, we'd like to hear from them.

37/8/7: Aerothrust

Q: I wonder if your readers could help me find a wiring diagram for my Aerothrust. In the picture you can see the lead to the advance/retard lever. Do I use a coil and 6-volt battery to this magneto? My engine has no flywheel, and I'm wondering if some were sold without a flywheel? Andrew Dolan, 7 Lynch St., Miramichi, NB, Canada E1N 5V3.

A: We don't have any information on the Aerothrust engine, but perhaps one of readers can contact Andrew and help him out. Wendel's American Gas Engines shows Aerothrust Engine Co., La Port, Ind., as first marketing their engine in 1916, but disappearing from the market after 1917.

37/8/8: Always-Ready

Q: I'm enclosing a picture of my Always-Ready 5 HP gas engine, s/n 510. I would like information on the engine, and would like to know if anyone else has an Always-Ready engine. I think it was sold by Montgomery Ward, and possibly manufactured by Burtt Manufacturing in Kalamazoo, Mich. Thanks in advance for any information. Roger Scrimsher, 2331 Sunset Drive, Lewiston, ID 83501, (208) 743-0362.

A: You're correct about the manufacturer being Burtt Manufacturing Co., Kalamazoo, Mich., and about the engine being sold by Montgomery Ward. Burtt began manufacture of the Kalamazoo vertical, as they called it, in 1902. Montgomery Ward evidently began selling their Always-Ready version at the same time. Page 316 of American Gas Engines shows an old advertisement photo of an engine marketed by Montgomery Ward and nearly identical to yours.

A Closing Word

While attending the 25th Annual Alabama Jubilee in Decatur, Ala., May 24-25, Perry R. Johnson, P.O. Box 363, Trinity, AL 35673, showed me an old marine engine I'd never seen before.

A single-cylinder two-stoke, its nameplate identified it as a Silent Dis-Pro, 3 HP Model D.1, s/n 2572, made by Disappearing Propeller Boat Co., Toronto and Port Carling, Canada.

A look through various reference books failed to bring up any citations on the company, but a search of the Internet found me at the Web site ( for the current incarnation of The Disappearing Propeller Boat Co.

Although still located in Port Carling, The Disappearing Propeller Boat Co. no longer makes boats, focusing instead on the restoration of original Dis-Pro boats and engines for customers throughout Canada and into the U.S.

Perry Johnson's circa 1920-1921 3 HP, two-stroke Dis-Pro marine engine. Around 1,000 Model D.1 engines were built from 1920 to 1921 when it was replaced by the Model D.2, of which another 1,000 were built.

I had the pleasure of speaking with company owner Paul Dodington, and Paul tells me he has most of the old company records. According to him, Perry's engine was built sometime around 1920-1921. A uniquely small engine, it was built to power a uniquely Canadian boat, the Dis-Pro, or 'Dippy' as they were affectionaly called.

Paul tells me that hundreds of these boats were built between the company's start in 1916 and its eventual collapse (after going through more than a few iterations) in 1956.

Their appeal lay in the use of a unique propeller shaft and propeller that could be manually raised into a small box fitted into the keel of the craft, allowing pilots of these boats to raise the entire propeller assembly out of the water for shallow going or when hauling the boat out of the water.

The earliest Dis-Pro engines, Model A.1, were built by the A.D. Fisher Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Toronto, and according to Paul they were nothing more than a copy of the Waterman engine built by Arrow Motor & Machine, New York, N.Y. Page 33 of C.H. Wendel's American Gasoline Engines Since 1872 shows one of these, and it looks almost identical to the Dis-Pro featured here.

Paul says some 2,000 Model D. 1 and D.2 engines were built in the period between 1920 and 1924.

C.H. Wendel is a noted authority on antique engines and tractors. His books constitute a vital reference resource for collectors and hobbyists. If you have a query for C.H. Wendel, send it along to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265.