A Brief Word

4 HP Acme engine


Mark Wigmore

Content Tools

Equipment and methods are discussed within this column that date back far before the days of safety considerations. While we urge all of our readers to work in a safe manner, be advised you're on your own. This column is a clearinghouse for information, and some of the equipment, methods, and processes can be dangerous. Neither GEM nor the Reflector endorse the methods offered in this column, nor can we vouch for their accuracy or safety. Be very careful and use good judgment!

When your letters to the Reflections column come into GEM, they log them, and when a few accumulate, they pack them up and send them over to us. For our part, we file the envelopes until it's time to assemble the monthly column. We learned that if we do it this way, not even opening the envelopes, there's less risk of losing something.

To our great surprise, this month's materials included a big envelope from Ron Haskell, 6070 Mitchell Avenue, Riverside, CA 92505. Ron noted that he has a Witte sideshaft mine hoist engine, s/n 2461. While displaying it at Knott's Berry Farm, he met Edward H. Witte, a son of Ed Witte, the moving force of Witte Engine Works. Subsequently, Mr. Witte sent Ron some historical materials on the company. Ron, hearing of our efforts to compile a history of Witte engines, kindly has sent the material over to us. So, as we assemble this month's column in early December, it's an early Christmas for us, since we greatly enjoy this material. In fact, on reading through it, we learned some interesting new things about the company. Although we're certain that Ron never intended to get top billing in the column for his efforts, we were so impressed that we felt it was the least we could do.

While we're at it, Ron notes that he has a Webster magneto bracket, 303K28 and asks the engine that used this one. We've looked through all our data, and can't find this one either.

Our Third Edition of Wendel's Notebook is now in its Third Printing. As we write this column in early December, we're sharing our time between the printing press and the computer. It takes several days of press time, and although our old, old press does pretty well, it's sort of like an old gas engine sometimes it can get cantankerous. Actually though, a printing press looks terribly complicated, and it is, but after spending some time with the machine and getting thoroughly acquainted with it, the occasional mechanical problems can usually be traced down, much like with an old engine. We find it very satisfying to remachine worn parts even though we know that new replacement parts are available.

Among our projects is one that is getting major attention at the moment the Encyclopedia of American Farm Implement sat least that's the tentative title. At this point we don't know how big it will be, but early indications are that it will be a large volume. We're amazed at some of the early material, such as the 1880s corn planter where a farmer marked out the rows with a sled, then drove the planter while a boy sat astride the planter and moved the drop lever each time he came to a runner mark in the soil. We've also come across some additional engines, several of which we've never seen before. For those who like windmills, there'll be plenty to look at too, along with everything from green bone cutters to threshing machines by the dozens. Along with all the black-and-white images, this book will also have a nice color section, using material from some of those glorious catalog lithographs of a century ago.

We've got some interesting stuff this month, and true to form, our mail is picking up again, now that many of you folks are confined to the house during the cold weather. For myself, it's never surprised me much that my great-grandfather moved away from upstate New York and those lake-effect snowstorms, but I've never quite figured out why he ended up in the cold winter weather of Iowa. Why not further south and west?

Being a creature of habit, I'll stay in Iowa...besides, it's too much work to move all those engines, books, lathes, and other paraphernalia just to stay warm!

Our first query is:

32/2/1 Acme Engines Q. See the photo of a 4 HP Acme engine, s/n 6055. I would like to correspond with anyone having one of these engines, or information on same. All letters will be answered. Mark Wigmore, 18913 Boston St. NW, Elk River, MN 55330

32/2/2 Associated Engine Q. See the photo of an Associated 2 HP engine, s/n 347312. I've only seen one other engine like this one. Notice that the fuel tank is in the base, while most of it mounted out in front of the fuel mixer. There is no other tag on this engine other than the one on the top of the hopper. I have seen the models called Johnny Boy, Chore Boy, Hired Hand, and Hired Man, but my engine appears different. Did this engine have a model name also? The engine was painted red, including the head. Is there any way to determine the age of this engine, even approximately? Any information will be appreciated. Raymond Scott, 851 - 3rd St NW, Valley City, ND 58072.

A. You're right. . . this is an unusual model. The overstrike design of the ignitor trip puts this one in the category of the Iowa Oversize engines of about 1917. Their 1, HP Chore Boy used a 3 x 5 bore and stroke, and 17 inch flywheels. The 2 HP Hired Man used 20 inch flywheels and a 4 x 5 inch bore and stroke. Advertising of the time noted that the 'IOWA magneto is a part of every IOWA Oversize Engine and not an attachment bought from some other manufacturer.' Does anyone have the answer?  

32/2/3 Fordson Question Q. See the photos of a Fordson tractor. I need to know any information on this Hamilton rear end on this Fordson. If anyone can help, contact Andy Anderson, 32501 Mill Creek Drive, Fort Bragg, CA 95437-8428.

32/2/4 New Ignition System Q. I am restoring a 1 HP Model E Economy engine. It was missing many parts which I made or bought. In this connection , I found an article on a new ignition system devised by R. W. Powers. This article was in the November 1990 GEM on page 32. I wrote Mr. Powers, but unfortunately, he passed away in 1995. Does anyone have or know where 1 can find this information? Any help would be appreciated. William V. Ferer, 54 Orchard Rd., New Wilmington, PA 16142.

32/2/5 Perkins Engine Q. See two photos of a Perkins 1 HP vertical sideshaft I just purchased; it is sin 1977. In California 1 saw a similar engine but discovered the firing mechanism was different. The big difference was the exhaust lever which had a roller installed to eliminate metal-to-metal friction as the side shaft rotates over the rise. The two exhaust lever support brackets were broken and repaired with sheet metal. As usual the piston was stuck and the crank wouldn't turn. This was resolved with much care and patience. The piston was removed without any damage. The gear on the shaft had four teeth missing which may have occurred at the same time the exhaust support was broken. The engine had only superficial rust, and appears to have been run very little before being stored away in a barn. I would appreciate hearing from anyone having information on the 1905 model engine. Don Green, PO Box 618, Allyn, WA 98524-0618.

A. The broken gear teeth remind me of several times in my career with gas engines that I've had to braze in the missing teeth and then re-cut them by hand. However, we prefer to smooth out the root of the tooth, then drill and tap several holes for small studs. Brazing this all together then gives a nice strong tooth again, once you finish it out. After getting the teeth roughly shaped out, it just requires lots of filing or grinding, plus about three gallons of patience to get the teeth nicely fitted to the mating gear.

32/2/6 WARNING! PLEASE READ! The Fall 1996 issue of Chevron's News & Views includes the following article, which we're taking the liberty of printing verbatim in the public interest:

Danger: Gas Cans and Truck Liners: A potentially serious safety hazard has been found in filling gas cans in pickup trucks with plastic bed liners.

A fire or explosion, possibly resulting in injury, can happen while pumping gas into a plastic or metal gasoline can that is sitting on a plastic truck bed liner, according to Chevron USA.

Apparently, the insulating effect of the bed liner allows static electricity generated by the gas flowing into the can to build up. As the charge builds, it can create a dangerous spark between the can and the gas pump nozzle.

Chevron advises placing gas cans on the ground, filling them, and placing them in the truck bed.

Thanks to John G. Boyd, 1921 LaSalle St., Martinez, CA 94553' for sending this information along!

32/2/7 Bessemer Engine Q. I have a 2 HP Bessemer vertical engine. It appears to be fairly complete, but there appears to have been some type of dipper arrangement for oiling the rod bearing, but it is now missing. Also, what type of ignition did this engine use, and how should it be wired? Also, I read somewhere that oil was mixed with the fuel. If so, why does the oiler inject oil into the cylinder? What is the correct color? This is my first engine, so any help would be greatly appreciated. Steve Pangborn, 4625 James Rd., Cocoa, FL 32926.

A. Could any of the Bessemer owners be of help to this new collector?

32/2/8 Kohler Plant Q. I have a Kohler 4-cylinder electric plant, 1.5 kva, Model 1M21U, sin 96480. The Kohler folks think it was made about 1944 Does anyone know the original color, or know of an owners manual, or photocopy of same? Any information would be greatly appreciated, and all replies will be acknowledged with thanks. Bill Kapranos, 2026 NW Sierra lane, Camas, WA 98607-2534.

32/2/9 Steering Brake Bands Bill Wojciechowski, 13729 - 1st Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98177 writes that he recently relined the steering brake bands on his Cletrac AG. He found the needed materials at Brake & Clutch Supply, 2930 - 6th South, Seattle, WA 98134. PH (206) 622-5655.

32/2/10 McCormick LAA & LBA Question Q. I have a question about the McCor-mick-Deering LAA 1 HP and the LBA 1 HP, concerning the magnetos and the direction that the wire comes out of the top of the magneto. My neighbor has an engine with s/n LAA61186 (Wico mag AH 1924) and the wire to the plug comes out of the cover towards the belt pulley, then over to the flywheel side and on down to the plug. Is this correct for the Wico magneto? If not, how can it be fixed?

I have a 1-2 with s/nLBA94153 with International mag HI. The wire to the plug comes out of the cover towards the flywheel. This makes more sense to me than the other way. My neighbor had his magneto rebuilt last month and I was wondering if it could have been assembled incorrectly. John M. Edgerton, 603 Loon Lake Rd., Bigfork, MT 59911.

32/2/11 Witte Engine Q. What is the year built of a Witte 2 HP engine, s/n 32169? Also what is the correct color, and does anyone know what the original muffler looked like? A final question regards the two-day Paffel auction at Rice Lake, Wisconsin. The sale bill called it an Atlas Witte engine, but on the tag the engine it just said Witte, and I was wondering if there was a difference or are they the same? Any information would be appreciated. Tim Waterman, 274 Howard Ave., Amery, WI 54001.

A. Your engine was made in 1917. We have DuPont 5204 Forest Green listed as a comparable color match. We never heard of an Atlas Witte.

32/2/12 Schmidt's Chilled Cylinder Ted H. Stein, 3228 - 180th St., Ft. Madison, IA 52627-9767 kindly sends along a copy of an ad for the Schmidt's Chilled Cylinder engine that was made at Davenport, Iowa. The 'chilled cylinder' meant that the cylinder was cast with a chill so that the inner surface was chilled and hardened for a longer working life.

32/2/13 Unidentified Engine Q. I have a small engine, about HP, with a Wico flywheel magneto, FW1645R. Also 1 have an Associated Chore Boy, s/n 324444 and would like to know the year and the color. David Krueger, Rt 1, Box 135, Blackduck, MN 56630.

A. The Associated uses DuPont 2622 Red, with the head and cylinder in silver (or aluminum). Send us a photo or two of your engine, as it's not likely we can identify it just from the magneto number.

32/2/14 Associated Chore Boy Q. What year was an Associated Chore Boy, s/n 332734 made, and what is the color combination? D. A. Kaetler, RR 1, Site 8, Comp 28, Tappen, BC V0E 2X0 Canada.

A. The color scheme is in the preceding question; like that query, as with yours, there are no s/n listings for Associated.  

32/2/15 Myers Bulldozer Pump Q. See the photo of a Myers Bulldozer pump I obtained from a mining area in Colorado. The pump is nearly complete, but missing some parts, and I have no idea of where to look. Any suggestions? Mark Bailey, 391.5 South Corona, Denver, CO 80209.

A. GEM 'Wanted' ads seem to get good results, and it's also possible to find almost anything at the shows, and especially some of the swap meets. Happy Hunting!

32/2/16 Nelson Bros. Co. Q. See the photo of a Nelson Brothers Co. employee badge, #62, with the name 'NELSON' and a logo of NBCO stamped in brass with silver plating as a coating. Can anyone supply further information? Michael E. Schultz, 1650 Schust Rd., Saginaw, MI 48604.

32/2/17 McCormick-Deering 10-20 Q. I recently obtained a pile of rusty parts from which to make a McCormick-Deering 10-20. In fact, by the time this is published, 1 should be ready to paint, which brings me to the question of appropriate color. Most of the parts are from an industrial model with a casting date of 8-21-25. The oldest layer of paint is a burnt orange. What is the proper color? Dave Brown, 6548 Lipscomb St SE, Salem, OR 97301.

A. We don't know for sure, especially with the industrial models. It's possible that this industrial model was built and painted to the customer's specifications, and that could account for the burnt orange color. It could also be a red lead primer, which sometimes was a burnt orange color. We've heard of some industrials being painted red, even of 1925 vintage, apparently for safety reasons. Then of course, there's always the regular tractor color of the time... gray!

32/2/18 Termaat & Monahan Q. See the photos of a recently acquired 1 HP T & M engine. The biggest obstacle is the missing head, which I need to find or make. Thus, I would like to correspond with other owners of the 1 HP T & M, as I desperately need information. Any help will be appreciated. Mark Ilg, RR 1, Box 234, Montgomery, MN 56069.

32/2/19 Witte Engine Q. See the photo of a Witte 3 HP engine, s/n B37302. When was it built, what is the color scheme, and were decals used? Also, I'm looking for copies of the instructions. Any information would be appreciated. Roger D. Brown, 11105 W. Fawn Lane, Avondale, AZ 85323.

A. Your engine was made in 1926, used no decals, and the correct color is noted in 32/2/11 above.

32/2/20 F-M Model 45 Engine Q. See the photos of a Model 45-B Fairbanks-Morse diesel. It is direct-connected to a generator and also has electric starting. The engine is s/n863735. The alternator is a 3.75 kva 1 -phase unit. I believe this is a scarce engine, and hope you could give me a ballpark idea of its value. Robert R. Young, RR J, Box 96, Kimball, SD 57355-9637.

A. F-M introduced these engines in 1939, and they were similar to the Model 36. We have found very little information on them, and virtually none on the Model 36. Thus it is believed that production was quite limited, except perhaps for marine purposes during World War Two. Subsequently, the vast majority of these were scrapped. We're not sure of its value, although the value of diesel engines as a collectible engine has risen dramatically in recent years.

32/2/21 Ottawa Engine Q. I have a 6 HP air-cooled Ottawa engine, s/n 10240. Did Wisconsin Motor Co. make this engine, and when? Mark Bacon, 81 State Street, Groveton, NH 03582.

A. We're assuming that your engine came from one of the Ottawa tree saws of the 1940s, and if so, it was a Wisconsin engine. Ottawa built these into the early 1950s, but by then the chain saw had come into its own.  

Stamped emblem on each valve cover. 4cyl. air cooled

32/2/22 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photos of an unidentified engine which I've had for several years. No one I've talked to has come up with an identification. It is four-cylinders, air cooled and the only markings are the sketch shown in 32/2/22C. Any information will be appreciated. Roy D. Holler, 3838 - 80th St., Franksville, Wl 53126.

32/2/23 Fairbanks-Morse Q. See the photos of a 3 HP F-M engine. All parts are the same as the old style 3 HP Z engines except the block and the flywheels. I have never seen another one like it, so any information would be appreciated. I am going to put the wide flywheel back on the engine. Larry Hughes, 12403 - 34th Ave. E., Tacoma, WA 98446-3123.

A. See the photo at top of page 75 in our book, Fairbanks-Morse: 1893-1993. That might provide some additional clues.

32/2/24 IHC LA Engine Q. I have two IHC LA engines. The one with s/n A26680 has no speed control on the governor, and the one with s/n A59579 has the speed adjustment. I was under the impression that only the LB had the speed control, or was this an option? Alfred Brejcha Jr., RR 2, Box 12, Western, NE 68464.

A. We're not sure. Does anyone have the answer?

32/2/25 Ideal Engine Q. What is the year built and the proper color for an Ideal Type C, 1 HP engine, s/n 6025. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Dan Steen, 585 Bur-bank St., Unit D, Broomfield, CO 80020.

A. We don't know of any serial number data on the Ideal engines. The only one we've seen restored was a dark green, similar to DuPont Forest Green. However, we have never seen one un-restored, and with some of the original paint, so we don't know how accurate that might be. Can anyone provide the answer?

32/2/26 Witte Engine Q. What is the year built for a Witte 7 HP engine, s/n B35419? Gary C. Brown, 2676 Carpenter Rd., Lapeer, MI 48446-9008.

A. 1926.

32/2/27 Taylor Vacuum Engine Q. I have a Taylor Vacuum engine, Type C, s/n 13260. Would like to know the year, and what the vacuum was used for. Would also like to hear from someone with a picture or rough drawing of the governor, as part of it is missing. Albert J. Derie, 3 Wood Lane, Maynard, MA01754-2415.

A. There is no serial no. data for the Taylor. These were primarily intended for use with milking machines, as part of a complete dairy unit.

32/2/28 Alamo Engines Q.  I have a 1 HP Alamo, s/n 1040892. It looks like the Lindsay-Alamo on page 19 of American Gas Engines. Since I've only seen one similar engine in going to shows the past nine years, I would appreciate hearing from others with information on these engines. Allen C. Gruver, 1450 Beaver Valley Pike, Willow Street, PA 17584-7900.

32/2/29 Planet Junior Q.  I am looking for information on the Planet Jr. two-wheel garden tractors, specifically a 1949 model with s/n 171292 and a 1950 model with s/n 304665. What was the correct color scheme for these tractors? Bud Morrell, Rt. 4, Box 5026, Williston, FL 32696.

32/2/30 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photos of an engine I recently acquired. I believe it to be a Gilson 8 HP hit-and-miss engine. The tag is missing and there are no identifying numbers. However, various parts have a 'Y' prefix on the casting numbers. The engine has a 6 x 10 inch bore and stroke. Any information, such as year built, and the like, would be greatly appreciated. Myron K. Carlson, 743 E. 875 No., American Fork, UT 84003.

A. We tend to agree with you that this is a Gilson; see page 209 of American Gas Engines.

32/2/31 Majestic Engines Thanks to James W. Priestley, 117 Lind St., McMinnville, TN 37110! Recently he sent along a registry of Majestic engines from Hartman Company, Chicago, Illinois. Among other things, Mr. Priestley notes that from 1912-16 the engines were shipped directly to the customer from a foundry in Waterloo, Iowa (probably the Hedford Foundry that also made Galloway, Associated, and others. Ed.)

Mr. Priestley has spent several years compiling a Majestic engine registry, and would like to hear from other owners so they can be on the list, and share in the historical data gathered from a lot of hard work. Thanks especially to Mr. Priestley for sending ye olde Reflector a bright red cap with the Majestic trademark emblazoned thereon! We'll wear it to some of the 1997 shows!

A Closing Word

This month we're sharing some more photos from our collection, with the first one being a Fairbanks-Morse wooden windmill of about 100 years ago. Those wooden windmills are indeed fascinating, and today, there are very few left. Note however, that this sample model was mounted on a steel tower. That was one of the first major changes in windmill design, the elimination of the wood tower.

Another photo, this one with 1531G at the lower right corner, is of 1908 vintage, and shows a Fairbanks-Morse engine with a single flywheel. However, to the back of the engine is part of a hoist, and indeed, F-M built and sold a lot of hoisting engines.

The vertical engine with 1269G on the right is especially unique because of the cooling system. In all our travels and all our research on F-M engines, we've never come across one with this type of cooling tank. Are there any left out there?

The Type G feed mill was quite popular, although many farmers couldn't afford to pay the extra money for the sacking auger attachment. Some farmers bought a simple elevator, but a great many shoveled the grain into the mill and then shoveled it into a wagon. Like many of the early implements, feed mills aren't nearly so easy to find as they were even a decade ago.

Recently we commented on our acquisition of a Hallett diesel engine. Since that time we've learned that the water cooled models are indeed quite scarce, with the later air cooled variety being easier to find, although it too, can be considered a scarce engine. Apparently the Hallett disappeared for a time and was reincarnated as the American Marc engine; it too disappeared after a short time. Our earlier comments brought us a letter from a former owner of our Hallett, Tom Salmons, PO Box 9249, Masaryktown, FL 34609. We were happy to hear from him, and have learned that our engine has been run very little in its life. Apparently it was in an abandoned warehouse and found by a fellow hired to remove the dunnage from the old building.

Recently we ran across an electronic calculator that includes all kinds of conversions. Sometimes we're forced into metric measurements, and if you're like ye olde Reflector, we have a hard time figuring these things out. However, these little electronic marvels have all the necessary info poked into microchips, so if you have a need to make these conversions from time to time, check out some of the department stores, and you'll find they have calculators that will figure almost anything some of them will even convert fractions to decimals, and the like. But then, maybe you got one of these marvels for Christmas? No? Well, there's a place for your Christmas money! We'll see you next month.