Gilson Engine


Paul Korell

Content Tools

As we assemble this issue, we here in eastern Iowa are in the throes of our first winter storm. After a beautiful autumn with warm temperatures, it was bound to happen that a day of reckoning would occur...this time we got about a foot of snow and a strong and powerful northerly wind. Reflecting on our past, it is well within this writer's memory that a big storm such as this meant that transportation, and virtually everything else, was stalled for several days. For those who can recall those days, if one side of the bobsled broke through, it simply upset. After righting the sled and getting the box back in place came the job of reloading the wood. On this particular occasion the wood was reloaded three times before getting home. Perhaps we don't have things so bad nowadays. After a storm subsides we use the tractor and snow blower to clean things out, get into the car, and resume life as normal the next day!

We're hoping to hear from more of our readers regarding serial numbers, magneto and carburetor information, and similar data for our vest pocket book. How many times don't we go to a show or a swap meet and see something we think will fit, but we don't know for sure. How many times don't we look at an old tractor and wonder what year it was built? We already have serial lists for several engine lines and numerous tractor models, but in this case, more is better. Several years ago we published the Webster magneto list in GEM. However, we have yet to see anything of comparable nature regarding the Wizard and Sumter magnetos. Neither have we found any service information on these two makes, particularly those of the oscillating variety. If you can help, drop us a line in care of Gas Engine Magazine.

Our inquiries this month begin with:

26/2/1 United Engines Q. Can anyone tell me the year built of a United engine, Type A, 1? HP, s/n 80208? William B. Simmons III, P.O. Box 1, Courtland, VA 23537.

A. If the fuel tank is within the base, it was built after August 1915. Without, it was built earlier, but there are no serial number records in existence.

26/2/2 Gilson Engine Q. I recently acquired a Gilson 1? HP 'Goes-Like-Sixty' engine, s/n 2933. Approximately when was this engine built? Paul Korell, P. O. Box 252, Winter Harbor, ME 04693.

A. The 'Johnny-on-the-Spot' tradename mentioned in your letter appears to have been adopted about 1917. Gilson was out of the engine business by the early 1920's.

26/2/3 John Deere Engine Q. What is the year built of a John Deere engine, s/n 261142? When did Deere quit building engines? Richard Mosher, 109 Highman Ave., Cambridge, Ontario N1R 3M2 Canada.

A. The engine was built in 1925. Deere ended production in 1946.

26/2/4 Galloway Engines Q. I am trying to find out how Galloway ran their engine serial numbers. Were they progressive with each horsepower size, or were they progressive regardless of the size? William F. Hartz, Valley Creek Farm, 265 County Line Drive, Lehighton, PA 18235.

A. Several years ago we spent a day with Ross Galloway, the eldest son of the late William Galloway. Bill Galloway's children started work in the plant, just like anyone else...there were no special favors just because they were related to the owner! We touched on the matter of production, serial numbers, and the like. Ross Galloway told me that so far as he knew, the engines were consecutively numbered. However, Galloway, like most of the other companies, would assign a block of numbers periodically. These might not all be used; in other words, of a series beginning with 1001 and ending with 1999, there may have been a few engines, or there may have been all 999. This method was used to deceive the competition. Whether the numbers were assigned in numerical order is one factor, but whether they were all used within a certain block is quite another. We really do not believe there is an accurate method of making the determination without the records, and we are told that these were destroyed back in the 1930's.

26/2/5 Dowden Potato Harvester Q. See the two photos of a recent acquisition. The nameplate states this machine was built by Dowden Mfg. Company, Prairie City, Iowa, and has a patent date of May 31,1904. The shovel depth control lever has broken off and I would like to hear from someone who might have the proper dimensions to fabricate same. Also, the proper color scheme, years made, and other information relating to this machine. Jerry Bechtel, 25127 N. Virginia Ave., Lake Zurich, IL 60047.

A. Yours is indeed a potato digger built by Dowden. During the early part of the century this firm was well known for this product, but beyond that, perhaps some of our readers can give you specifics regarding this machine.

26/2/6 FBM 'Z' Engine Q. What is the year of a FBM 'Z', s/n 526452? Also, what magneto is used? My engine has the slanted gear teeth. Maurice Anderson, 645 SE 7, Valley City, ND 58072.

A. Your engine was built in 1922. We would guess this engine to use the Type R FBM high tension magneto.

26/2/7 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photo below of an unidentified engine. It has a 4? x 9 inch bore and stroke with 26 inch flywheels. Clayton D. Myers, 11720 Morse Rd., Pataskala, OH 43062.

A. Your engine is of the Sandow variety built at Waterloo, Iowa. Actual manufacturing was probably by Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company. A virtually identical engine is illustrated on page 299 of American Gas Engines. Numerous mailorder houses sold these engines, including John M. Smythe and others. The most notable difference is in the cover atop the water hopper.

26/2/8 Bean Special Cub Engine Q. I have one of these engines, Model R-30B, s/n A7916. What is its proper color? It appears to have been a shade of red, but the water hopper appears to have been blue-green, or perhaps gray. Also, what is the proper decal?

Regarding stuck pistons, I have found Trizol Penetrant to work the best. If not locally available, it is made by Castoleum Corp., Box 41, Centuck Station, Yonkers, NY 10710.

After soaking both ends of the cylinder with Trizol, I cut a slug of aluminum plate to loosely fit the cylinder bore. Using an air-driven hammer with about a one-inch face, I rattled the piston. This seemed to work the penetrant in all the way through. After about three evenings of this the piston moved. (Rattle only a few minutes at a time, as the neighbors get owly.)

As for finding valves, rings, and some other parts, go to the auto parts stores and try to con them out of a progressive size listing. All manufacturers provide them, and you can find valves by head size and stem diameter. Items such as valve guides have to be made. Tom Hartman, 1950 Prince Way, Reno, NV 89503.

A. Some of our readers have done a lot of research on the Bean engines, and perhaps one of them will be able to supply an exact color match for the Bean Cub.

26/2/9 Mead Mighty Mouse Q. I have a 'Mighty Mouse' crawler made by Mead Specialties Company, Chicago, Illinois. Can anyone supply information on this unit, when built, etc.? Morris Titus, 2025 Hillcrest Ave., Anderson, IN 46012.

A. Mr. Titus sent a Polaroid of this little crawler, but it was a bit dark and would not reproduce. Mead appears in the Product Directories as late as 1960, but we have no information on its origins or its products.

26/2/10 Lindsay Compressor Q. I have a portable air compressor powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine. The nameplate gives it as: Type W12, Pat. No's. 1,744,775 and 1,476,406. P.K. Lindsay Co., Everett, Mass. Any information on this company or the above unit would be greatly appreciated. Melville Hands, RR 3, Caledon East, Ontario L0N 1E0 Canada.

26/2/11 Reo Engines Q. Our grandson is interested in old engines and has found two small Reo engines. Would anyone have any information that would be helpful in rebuilding them? Emerson Kennedy , 4652 Van Dyke, Cass City, MI 48726.

A. Although we have nothing that would help on these engines specifically, we're sure that some of our readers might have some literature and can be of help. We hope you will be hearing from one or more of them.

26/2/12 Some Questions Q. Illustrations in the Sales & Service literature for the Standard Twin garden tractor indicate that over its production life, the tractor was equipped with three different magnetos. What makes and models were used?

What is the convention used to specify the direction of rotation of a magneto?

Regarding the Cletrac Model F in the November 1990 GEM (page 12), the text refers to the use of slides rather than idlers in the tracklaying mechanism. I suggest that guide would be a better word than slide. Note the catenary curve described by a chain of small rollers between the overhead drive sprocket and the point where the track meets the top of the front slide/guide. These rollers must run in a wide groove formed in the front slide/guide, across the bottom bar where the rollers support the tractor and up and over the rear slide/guide to the overhead drive sprocket. So, while there is some sliding/guiding, much of the load is carried by the rollers in rolling mode. Gerald B. Lombard, 5120 Belcrest Ave., Bakersfield, CA 93309-4705.

A. We do not have a listing which shows the various magnetos used on the Standard.

The rotation of a magneto is indicated by the direction in which the rotor turns when viewing the unit from the drive end, that is, from the end which is mechanically coupled to the engine. Magnetos are built for either clockwise (righthand) or counter-clockwise (lefthand) rotation. Magnetos with an impulse coupling can usually be checked with ease if equipped with an impulse coupling. That direction in which the impulse pawls engage is the direction of the magneto. Some magnetos can be changed over, but some cannot be changed.

26/2/13 Ottawa Drag Saw Q. I was given the late generation drag saw in the two photos. It is equipped with a Wisconsin AEH engine, 3 x 3?. Can anyone supply any information on this model? Also, when did Ottawa quit business? D.A. Rader, 10703 Allen-dale Rd., Woodstock, IL 60098.

A. We believe that the conventional Ottawa drag saw with its hopper cooled engine left the scene in the early 1940's. Ottawa continued to build some of the air-cooled models into the early 1950's. However, we have no precise information regarding this company.

26/2/14 FBM 3 HP 'Z' R.C. Warnstaff, RR 2, Box 718, Oroville, WA 98844 is looking for operating information on a 3 HP FBM 'Z' engine, s/n 291521. It uses the Sumter combination magneto-igniter.

26/2/15 Unknown Tractor Q. See the photo of an unidentified tractor. The previous owner of 19 years didn't know the name, and the next previous owner didn't either. Stamped in the welded angle steel frame is [Mod. 12 No. 1054]. There are traces of a yellow factory color. The engine is a two-cylinder Onan air-cooled with 6 volt electric starting. It is ahead of a Model A Ford 3-speed transmission. The steering is tied in with cam-activated tightening or slacking of v-belts on the sheaves of the differential shafts. It is equipped with single-acting hydraulic cylinders and pump made by Monarch Road Machinery. Any help will be greatly appreciated. C.P. Williams, Route5, Box 244, Rye, CO 81669.

26/2/16 Some Old Iron In my travels I have spotted some interesting old iron. Photo 16-A illustrates a Hercules-powered, Carter-built 1000 gpm with a 6-inch inlet and rated at a 60-foot head.

Photos 16-B and 16-C illustrate a huge trenching machine. It was built by Buckeye Traction Ditcher Company and is powered by a Climax four-cylinder engine. OSHA would have a field day with this outfit! Bruce Hall, Rt 90, Box 95, King Ferry, NY 13091.

26/2/17 Phelps EngineNewton DeYoung, Box 56, 109 Railroad St., Friesland, WI 53935-0056 would like to correspond with anyone having a Phelps engine.

26/2/18 Gould, Shapley & Muir Ray Wickham, 628 Broadway, Dumont, IA 50625 needs some help in the restoration of a Gould, Shapley & Muir engine, 1? HP, s/n B1149. He also needs to know the proper color scheme.

26/2/19 Cletrac '55' Q. Can anyone suggest where to find information on a Model 55 Cletrac? I operated one of these machines with a Gar Wood Dozer blade while a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1936-39. Thus far, my only information has come from the book Endless Tracks in the Woods by Young and Budy. Any information will be appreciated. B.M. Wilder, 11 E. Prescott St., Westford, MA 01886.

26/2/20 McCormick-Deering 10-20 Q. I am restoring a McCormick-Deering 10-20 tractor. On the bottom of the casting is stamped [8 - 28]. Does this mean my tractor is a 1928 model? Also what are the proper colors? Joe Berendes, 4600 Happe Rd., Evansville, IN 47720.

A. The stamping probably indicates the month of manufacture, although if these numbers are cast in then this would approximate the casting date. A revised paint color listing appears in a recent edition of this column.

26/2/21 Mc-D Power Binder Q. About 1948 my father bought a conversion kit to change the Type D McCormick-Deering binder over to pto operation. Would anyone have any information on this changeover kit? James Remschiissel, 7814 South 4000 West, Benjamin, UT 84660.

26/2/22 Alamo Blue Line Q. I am restoring a 1913 Alamo Blue Line Type A, 4 HP engine. What is the correct paint number? It has not appeared in the GEM color charts. Ken Haas, 801 W. Park, Lamar, CO 81052.

A. Several inquiries have been received in this regard. Can someone supply us with the correct color information?

26/2/23 Case Tractors Q. What is the year of a Case Model LA, s/n 5313745? Also what is the proper color scheme for this model? Sometime during the production of the S or SC tractors the cylinder bore was changed from 3? to 35/8 inches. When did this occur, and with what serial number? Charles H. Umback, POB 657, Lemmon, SD 57638.

A. For the 7-digit numbers, take the first two numbers and subtract four for the year built. Thus, 53 - 4 = 1949. So far as we know, this model was finished in the Case Flambeau Red. The Case S tractor used a 3? inch bore, and the SC used a 35/8 inch bore. The 'S' is a standard-tread, the 'SC' is a tricycle- type.

26/2/24 Associated Engine Q.What is the correct color combination for the 1? HP Associated Chore Boy engine? Carl G. Guretse, 304 Perkiomen Ave., Lansdale, PA 19446.

A. Use red per the recent GEM color chart. The cylinder is aluminum, as is the head. The upper section of the hopper is red. There are no serial number lists for Associated.

26/2/25 Information Needed Q.Perchance is there a way to date R & V or Hercules engines from their serial numbers? H.L. Phillips, 1643 Freda, Cardiff, CA 92007.

A. In a word, no. 26/2/26 New Way Engine

Q. Hopefully someone can help me. I have a New-Way Style C engine, 4? HP. It runs very well. There is a problem, however. When the governor takes hold and the engine hooks up (with no load), petrol literally pours out of the carburetor in large droplets. I have tried every way I know to solve the problem, but with no success. Also, a friend of mine has a similar New Way, and has the same difficulty. Any advice will be appreciated. Keith Denner, 17 Everitt St., Hadfield, Victoria 3046, Australia.

A.The problem is obvious...the gasoline is condensing while the engine is hooked up. Try cutting down on the speed differential, thus a shorter time between explosions. To do this, set the governor pick blade with the least possible clearance between it and the catch block. This may take a bit of experimenting, but it may help. Another problem appears to be in present day fuels as compared to those made years ago. If any of our readers have solutions to the problem, be sure to let us know.