A Brief Word

Unidentified Engine


P. T. Rathbone

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One might ask where the year has gone, but here it is ... the last issue of Volume 31, and the last issue for 1996. For this writer it's been a very busy and a very eventful year. Topping this was our three weeks in England, Scotland, and Wales. Over the year we've come to enjoy England immensely, and this year's journey certainly came up to every expectation and more besides.  There was a wonderful week at the Royce Longland's and with Ron Knight over in Lincolnshire while we leisurely explored the backroads and the tiny villages that barely make it onto a map. During our journey we helped Mr. & Mrs. Art Gaier celebrate their wedding anniversary and along the way there were various other anniversaries and birthdays to be celebrated. One of our most memorable stops was when we went to John Caldwell's place near Kilmamock, Scotland. Along with a sizable display of some very nice engines and tractors, the Ayrshire Vintage Engine Club put on a banquet that will seldom be equalled and never rivaled!

Ye Olde Reflector came out with a new Third Edition of our Wendel's Notebook replete with much added information, including tractor serial numbers. To our great delight, we've sold thousands of these over the past year, and in fact, we have to reprint it again. We were also very fortunate in forging an alliance with Krause Publications at Iola, Wisconsin. Last August our first book with Krause, entitled Unusual Vintage Tractors appeared. We're quite proud of this one, and have just recently signed a contract to do an Encyclopedia of American Farm Machinery with them. With some luck, it will be on the market about a year from now.

Having set up our own offset equipment, in addition to our letterpress shop, we're now planning to do several titles entirely in-house, as we did with our Notebook. It's one way we can keep the costs down, and believe us when we tell you that between paper, ink, plates, negatives, rollers, chemicals, and miscellaneous printing paraphernalia, this printing of books is a downright expensive process. Oh, and then there's the epitome of drudgery, gathering or collating all those sheets that make up the book. Stitching and trimming aren't so boring, but assembly is a mindless task that takes a lot of time.

Living here in Iowa's Amana Colonies is truly a delight. For example, our next door neighbor was talking the other day about how they hauled dirt in the old days on a simple wagon running gear. Before he could tell me how it was done in the Amanas, I jumped the gun and told him they probably did it with some planks laid across the running gear. Loose planks on the sides permitted a bigger load. On arriving at the destination, it was just a matter of a couple guys upsetting the planks laden with dirt. Later, we both commented about this method not being found in the usual textbooks of the day.

We think the above example is typical of many different things around the farm. Some were just handed across from one generation to another or from neighbor to neighbor. How about the various methods to tighten a gas engine into the belt as on a corn sheller or a wood saw, or methods of lagging pulleys? For those unfamiliar with pulley lagging, especially in the days of leather belts, it was considered desirable to lag or cover the pulleys with leather stretched tightly around and riveted into place. How many people know how to lace a belt using rawhide laces?

While in England last summer we saw a fellow demonstrating on a pole lathe, such as you see in a few old history books. He was turning out simple garden tools and the like, but doing so with great speed. In visiting with him we discovered that this man and a few others banded together in recent years to preserve the art.

All this brings us to the punch line for our own hobby. It's always a great delight for us to see engines doing something at the shows. That old corn sheller or feed grinder doesn't necessarily have to be fed constantly or at all, but the sight of pulleys and belts give the onlookers a chance to get a faint idea of how it really was in times gone by. Some of our folks go so far as to set up a complete portable shop or a portable flour mill or whatever... one thing that comes to mind is a friend having a miniature hay press. Everywhere he goes, people stand by in line waiting to get one of those miniature straw bales. So we leave it up to you folks ... does some additional action add to the dynamics of your display? We certainly hope so!

For some reason, there's a dearth of mail this month (probably y'all have been out checking to see that all your engines have been drained and properly stored away for their winter hibernation). Anyway, we'll go with what we have, and that begins with:

31/12/1 Tuff-Built Tractor Q. I just bought a Tuff-Built tractor, ModelK7, Type8,s/nl20391615. It was made by the Tri-Tractor Mfg. Co., dimming, Georgia. Can anyone supply any information on this tractor, its attachments, or the company? Bud Morrell, Rt 4, Box 5026, Williston, FL 32696.

A. We never heard of this one; can anyone help?

31/12/2 Information Needed Q. Can anyone answer the following questions:

1)  What is the correct color for a Model FH Briggs & Stratton?

2)  Does anyone make replacement serial number plates for IH tractors?

3)  Are deeds available for Lawn Boy Model 3050 (gold series) and Lawn Boy Model 5230 (lime green) Gregory M. Lasher, 5 Caledonia Drive, Seaville, NJ 08230

31/12/3 Unidentified Engine Q. See the two photos of an unidentified engine. It has no nameplate, but it is free, and shouldn't take a lot of work to get it running. Any information on this engine would be appreciated. P. T. Rathbone, Route 1, Box 734, Marsing, ID 83639.

A. Can anyone be of help on this one?

31/12/4 Fairbanks-Morse Q. I have a Fairbanks-Morse 10 HP engine with a 7 x 9 inch bore and stroke, but the nameplate is missing. Can you tell me when these engines were built? Larry Balsley, 105 W Washington St., Iowa Park, TX 76367.

A. The Fairbanks-Morse Type Z engines were introduced in July 1914, beginning with the 10 HP model. Between 1914 and 1918 these engines were ordinarily fitted with a rotary low tension magneto, although the Webster magneto was also available at the time. The so-called 1918 pattern used a different fuel mixer (with the fuel pump inside the mixer body) and also changed to the Sumter Plug oscillator magneto system. This was not found to be satisfactory, so the company changed over to spark plug ignition and the American Bosch AB-33 oscillating magneto. Continuing ignition problems led the company to develop its own magneto, and in 1924 their Type R magneto emerged. Subsequently, Fairbanks-Morse engines were fitted with the company's own magneto system. By about 1938 the open frame 10 HP engine was replaced with a totally enclosed style.

31/12/5 Barco Hammer Q. See the photo of a Barco gas-driven jack hammer. Any information on this unit would be appreciated. Dick Miller, 1722 Meridian, Reese, MI 48757.

A. Barco hammers use a two-cycle single-cylinder design with a solid steel piston. It is started by pushing down on the starting rod cap, forcing the piston down; the recoil springs return the piston to the top of the stroke. On explosion, the piston is driven against the anvil, with the blow being transmitted to the tool.

Barco recommended using #70 oil mixed -1 pint per gallon for intermittent use, or up to a quart of oil per gallon for steady usage. Presumably, some of today's highly efficient two-cycle lubricants will obviate some of the problems. Perhaps someone can supply full details on this unique application of gas power to the construction industry.

31/12/6 Bungartz Diesel Tractor Q. I have a 13 HP model of the above tractor; it was built in West Germany about 1965. I am looking for any information, parts sources, etc. on this tractor. It was imported and sold through Burton Supply Co., Youngstown, OH. This unit is a large and very heavy garden tractor which I would like to restore. Also, how about an article on rebuilding magnetos and recharging magnets? Justin Kleinhans, 5500 Erie St., Lacame, OH. 43439.

A. We can't be of help on the Bungartz tractor. However, at the moment, we're working on a magneto and ignition book that we plan to finish this winter. It will have lots of information on the entire subject of magnetos, coils, etc.

31/12/7 Witte Information Q. What is year built of a Witte 6 HP engine, s/n 57516? Larry C. Cayton, Box 597, Thornville, OH 43076.

A. Your engine was built in 1921.

31/12/8 Fairbanks-Morse Type Y Q. What is the correct color for a 15 HP Fairbanks-Morse Type Y engine? H. Skytt, Solvang, CA 93464.

A. We're not sure there is a correct color as it seems the color changed slightly over the years. Some have it as black, others as black with a tiny hint of green, and others as black with a slight hint of dark blue. It's our guess that the color changed slightly from time to time, and probably as the company got a better bid from another paint maker.

A Closing Word

As we told you at the beginning, there just weren't many letters this month. Sometimes this happens due to simple logistics ... with any sort of luck a large packet of material will arrive from GEM a day or two after we finish this month's column.

While visiting England's Tatton Park Engine Rally last summer, we were able to spend some time with Wouter van Gulik of Holland. He has recently completed his second volume, called the 'Stationary Engine Book II.' Anyway, Wouter has sent us a photocopy of the Instruction Manual for our single-cylinder Junkers (Germany) diesel engine. Although it's written in German of course, that's only a minor problem.

We've also heard recently from Dr. Klaus Herrmann at the University of Hohenheim in Germany. For those who were with us a year or so ago on the European Tour, we stopped at their Deutsches Landwirtschafts museum (German Agricultural Museum) and saw all kinds of wonderful machines, from engines to tractors, to reapers, and who knows what else! We could easily have spent a day there, and we still marvel at that 300 HP steam traction engine! German engineers used somewhat higher steam pressures than were customary on American traction engines, but even so, this huge engine was a sight to behold. (They fire it once in awhile too). In case you are going to travel in Germany, add this place to your list; it will be well worth your time. We're still getting more reservations for our tour of Australia and New Zealand. Time is running out though ... you'll be getting this copy in mid-November, and that only leaves us with another 90 days until we head for Australia. We met a number of Australians at the recent Midwest Old Threshers Reunion, and they certainly are looking forward to having us come and see the sights and enjoy their engines and tractors. It's not likely that we'll be doing this trip again soon, so if you're interested, please let us know as soon as possible. See you again next month.