13' Flywheels, 25/8' piston'


Howard Schantz

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24/12/27 Ajax Engine Here are two photos of an Ajax engine from Ajax Iron Works, Carry, Pennsylvania. It has 13 inch flywheels, a 25/8 inch piston, #7 cast on the connecting rod, and weighs 132 pounds. Any information on this engine will be appreciated. Gene Townsend, 1308 Franklin Ave., Clarksburg, West Virginia 26301.

24/12/28 A Question Q. Richard Mosher, 109 Highman Ave., Cambridge, Ontario N1R 3M2 Canada asks the Reflector:

How long did it take to put together the book, American Gas Engines? Have you ever thought of doing a Canadian edition? How many years have you collected engines, and how many do you have?

A. The 'Yellow Engine Book,' as it is often called, took nearly three years to complete. Had we not arbitrarily decided that enough was enough, we'd be researching it yet! As it was, the book came to 584 pages, the full capacity of the bindery where the books are assembled. We tried to include as many Canadian engines as we could-in fact, the term 'American gas engines' was intended as the generic sense of the word so as to encompass Canadian developments. Ye olde Reflector bought the first engine, a 6 HP John Deere, in 1957 or 1958 for $5.00. The numbers have varied somewhat, and right now the stable is at about 40 engines.

24/12/29 Engine Trucks Q. Here are two photos of an engine trolley I recently acquired from a man who thought it to be a Fairbanks-Morse. The rear wheels are 38 inches high and 5 inch rims; the front wheels are 31 inches high. The rear axle is 2? inch square steel, and the front axle is 2? inch square steel. Can anyone advise me the maker of this trolley (trucks)? H.B. Ford, RMB 117 Dookie 3647 Australia.

A. We have no answer for Mr. Ford's query, but we hope that someone might be able to identify the trucks, or as the lexicon over in Australia reads, trolley.

24/12/30 Reid Engines Thanks to Byron Cann, 103 W. 7th, Oil City, Pennsylvania 16301 for sending along a color sample of the finish used on the Joseph Reid engines. It is a very, very dark maroon, and the closest color we have is DuPont 93-32678-H. It is even a bit lighter than Mr. Cann's sample. (This gentleman is now 86 years old, and spent many years working as a machinist. He reports that he bored and sleeved a good many of these engines in his 20-inch lathe. Perhaps Mr. Cann will favor us with more about his experiences in the near future!)


Ron Weiner, 4928 Oak Leaf Avenue, Carmichael, California 95608 offers the following information on Friend engines as built at Gas-port, New York:

To Mike Johnson's inquiry in the August 1989 GEM-The Friend Mfg. Co. describes the ignition system in their 1910 brochure as a jump spark system with vibrator coil, spark plug and dry cells. The coil and dry cells are assembled in a box. In what I believe is their 1912 brochure, it has this system and also the 'Celebrated Bosch' high tension magneto as an option. The Model T coil works very well with the 1911 model, especially at the very slowest idle.

To Richard Taylor's inquiry in the April 1989 GEM-The Friend Mfg. Company illustrates the Friend Model CX Motor Pump, 5 gallons per minute with a 2? HP engine, in their 25th Anniversary Year (1920), and it looks identical to Richard's photograph. It is not mentioned in the 1910 nor 1912 brochures, so it may have been introduced sometime between then and 1920. It was given the price code name 'Pony' and is referred to as a Pony Sprayer or Pony Outfit in some of the testimonial letters included in the brochure.

Another interesting tidbit is that Friend Mfg. Co. states it has the distinction of having built the first gasoline power sprayer ever manufactured. They were experimenting with it in 1900, produced one in 1901, two in 1902, six in 1903, 14 in 1904, and so on. Mine has a serial no. 1028 which the company has dated as 1911.

Engines featured in the 1910 and 1912 brochures were rated at 2? and 3? HP. Air cooled and water cooled engines were specified in 1910, whereas only the water cooled model was offered in 1912. The first models were painted mainly red with black lettering and green wheels. Black or grey was used on the pumps.

24/1/61A Alaskan Engine Back in January 1989 GEM, Mr. Najarian asked about the engine at Jake's Corners, Yukon Territory. I was there recently, and can tell you that the vertical sideshaft operates two valve lifters (horizontal) in the head from cams on the shaft. One valve lifter is missing. Someone sawed off the crankshaft on one end, losing one flywheel. Otherwise the engine is identical to that built by Standard Gas Engine Company of San Francisco, and as illustrated on page 477 of American Gas Engines. L.B. Dennison, Box 873, Delta Jet., Alaska 99737.

A Briggs & Stratton I saw the article on page 20 of the October GEM. I'm sure that motor is a Briggs & Stratton. I've got one I'm using that is just like it. It was on an Ideal Lawn Mower It was used to cut putting greens on golf courses in the 1920's and 1930's. I took the mower off and put on a water pump. Works real good. Andrew Szurek, 2809 Silver Lane NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55421.

Thanks also to Mr. Szurek for sending along some file data on the above engine.

24/9/3 Unknown Engine Mr. Sins' instruction book fairly clearly identifies a Nelson Bros. throttling governor engine, from the relative size of the Webster ignitor, as a 5 HP. Beyond that, it's hard to say what name the engine was sold under, as Nelson engines were marketed under a myriad of names. Perhaps another reader can identify the hopper style, which varied with the brand name. I own a 3 HP version of this engine, marketed by the Gray Engine Company, Lansing, Michigan. It has a different hopper style, but is otherwise identical. Clark Colby, RD 1, Box 199A, Greensburg, PA 15601 (on behalf of the Coolspring Power Museum, Coolspring, PA 15730).

24/10/18 Last 2-Cylinder Deere The last domestic-built two-cylinder John Deere was the 840 scraper offered till 1964; this was a modified version of the 830 industrial tractor. First fitted with a Hancock elevating scraper; the latter units had John Deere scrapers. I also have the head of a 730 Diesel built in 1967, but it wasn't built in the United States. There could be two-cylinders built even after 1967, but they would be foreign-built. Maybe some other readers know something about this. Craig Rey, 1513 Beach, Salina, Kansas 67401.

24/10/4 Bessemer Engine The Bessemer is built like a double-acting steam engine, with a crosshead, piston rod, and piston rod packing. It is a two-cycle engine and the underside of the piston is the scavenging pump.

Regarding leaded gasoline, the lead will coat the contacts of a make-and-break igniter and cause the engine to stop.

You may also be interested to know that I am collecting the names of manufacturers of inboard marine engines. The list is now at 685 different ones and is still growing. Max F. Homfeld, RR 2, Box 697, St. Michaels, Maryland 21663.


Photo MM-1 illustrates a model of the Joseph Dain all-wheel-drive tractor, the first tractor to carry the John Deere name. It is 14 inches long, 6 inches high, and 8 inches wide. Submitted by Mr. Harold V. Green, RR 1, Box 63, Avoca, Iowa 51521.

William Cloutier sends photos MM-2 and MM-3 illustrating a pair of hot air engines he has built. These are made entirely from scrap materials, such as old cabinet doors, tin cans, coffee cans, and the like. The smaller one has 8 inch flywheels, and the larger one has 16 inch. He also has about 10 gas engines in his collection. Mr. Cloutier's address is: 404 South Huron Ave., Harbor Beach, Michigan 48441.

Arnold Teague, 195 Bridge St., San Luis Obispo, California 93401 forwards some excellent photos illustrating a 1/5 scale model of the 6-cycle 'Mery' engine. See MM-4 and MM-5. Mr. Teague writes:

Some collectors have expressed an interest in the progress of the 'Mery' engine, so here's my folklore version.

The original engine was cast in a foundry at Chico, California about 1890 and served its days powering the pattern shop machinery. It has been saved from the scrap dealers, and now is the show piece of Chuck and Peggy Schopp, Los Gatos, California. After scaling the engine at the Schopp's, I cut the first chips on May 5, 1989. Several videotape sessions followed the progress of the engine. After all the parts were completed, I was optimistic about the first startup, so I decided to paint before the final assembly with gaskets etc.

When the day came, all I got was promises and cross-firing and detonation. The attempt to use one coil failed because the distributor arrangement arced over. Detonation occurred because of too high a compression, and the carburetor metering was short of perfection. Still, the paint looked good! After making all the necessary corrections and modifications, the engine began to act 'normal.' This is a six-cycle engine with a combustion chamber on both sides of a single piston. The timing gears are 3:1, therefore, six strokes complete the cycle, either side of the piston. The exhaust valve remains open the two extra strokes. This results in a power stroke every third stroke; one pushes the crank, and the other one pulls. Finally, on September 18, 1989 the day of the first official start-up came, and after a few short runs we took a much-needed coffee break. After finishing the cooling system and some other refinements, it can be presentable at a meet soon.

Our compliments to Mr. league, not only on the engine, but also on the time frame! The Reflector has been attempting to build a model for the last four years, and we're nowhere near done yet- Mr. Teague finished 'Mery' in four months!


A little book entitled Famous First Facts notes that the first gasoline engines built in the United States were those of Stuart Perry in New York. Between 1844 and 1846 he built both air and water cooled types, using turpentine gases as fuel. Has anyone ever heard of turpentine as an engine fuel?

During the first thirty years of engine and tractor development, kerosene fuel was very popular, mainly because it was much less expensive than gasoline. However, gasoline-air mixtures can be changed to a gas, but because kerosene and gasoline have little in common, except for the base from which they are derived, kerosene presents some entirely different problems. About the best that can be done with an air-kerosene mixture is to break it into fine particles, and the most popular method was by preheating the intake air. This lessened the total volume going into the cylinder and reduced the amount of oxygen for the charge. As a result, less power was derived. Looking at the fuel problem of 1920, designers of stationary engines looked at the Hvid engine as typified in the Thermoil, Evinrude, and several other compression ignition engines. The Hvid design enabled the successful use of low grade fuels at a time when no American-made diesel engines were available in sizes under about 100 HP per cylinder. About the time the Hvid design started coming into its own, Bosch and others began developing fuel injection pumps that began bringing the diesel engine into its own. Before very long, the Hvid design had disappeared, the price differential between gasoline and kerosene became much less than before, and farmers left off using kerosene and began using gasoline. Within the past twenty years, the gasoline engine has virtually disappeared from tractor engines, with the diesel reigning supreme. What will the future bring?

The purpose of the Reflections column is to provide a forum for the exchange of all useful information among subscribers to GEM. Inquiries or responses should be addressed to: REFLECTIONS, Gas Engine Magazine, P.O. Box 328, Lancaster, PA 17603.