A Brief Word

Alpha 1 HP engine


Content Tools

As we compile this issue in early December '99, the weather here in Iowa is a balmy 61 °F. Presumably, this will change dramatically here in the Midwest by the time you see this copy in mid-January '00. Predictions are that we will return to 'normal' weather (a high of about 40°) in the coming week.

Just as a precaution against the Y2K bugs of New Year's Eve, we have set up two of our diesel engine-generators. We really don't anticipate much of a problem, but should it happen, we will happily fire up the Junkers Diesel and have enough for furnace, refrigerator, TV, and a few lights. Of all our engines, we still believe that the Junkers diesel is one of the most amazing of all diesel engines of the 1930s.

We are now in the planning stages of a tour to Australia in February 2001, or about a year from now. The tour will be limited to one coach or about 40 people, and will probably run for about three weeks. If you have been there before, there's not much use in going to Australia if you don't stay for that long. There may also be an optional extended tour to New Zealand. We have contacted our new tour operator in Denver, as well as some friends in Australia. The National Rally will be in Tasmania, so of course we look forward to an overnight ferry trip from Melbourne to Hobart. For a year or more, we have been hearing from folks who are interested in going on this tour, so we thought it appropriate to tell you that we are indeed planning this tour. For those who have gone with us before, there will be a few places we will visit a second time, but overall the tour will be entirely different than before.

Barry Oehler, a former local resident, is one of the operators at RMA Tours in Denver, and is a most helpful and knowledgeable tour organizer.

We have lots of queries this month, and begin with:

35/2/1 Information NeededQ. I would like to know the year built and the proper paint colors for the following: 2 HP Jaeger, s/n 35472 6 HP Bulldog, s/n B18324 7 HP Gray, s/n 7707 8 HP Thermoil (Davenport) Diesel, s/n U9367

Also, can you provide any information on the Hvid fuel system as used on the Thermoil? Is there any glow plug or heating system? When I purchased this engine it said Thermoil, but on page 119 of American Gas Engines it shows a picture of a Davenport engine. Are these the same? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Kevin McWhorter, 32391 Olympia Rd., Minier, IL 61759.

A. We have no s/n information on any of the above engines. We have DuPont 5183 Blue listed as the color for the Jaeger, DuPont 143 maroon for the Bulldog, DuPont RS903 Red for the Gray, and no listing for the Thermoil. It is red, but we do not have a color match.

The only common denominator for the Thermoil and the Davenport is that both use the Hvid fuel system. All these engines drop fuel into a cup in the combustion chamber; the heat of compression ignites the lighter parts of the fuel within the cup, and total combustion follows. There is no preheating system of any kind. However, compression has to be a virtually perfect seal because any leakage will lower the compression, and ultimately prevent the temperature rising sufficiently for ignition to occur.

35/2/2 Empire EngineQ. Can anyone provide the correct color for an Empire engine from Empire Cream Separator Co., Bloomfield, N.J? It is 1? HP, s/n 53671. I would also like to know the color for a saw from from a Montgomery Ward saw. Ron McWhorter, RR 13, Box 2, Bloomington, IL 61704-8902.

A. Perhaps you can exchange notes with Mr. Gortsema of 35/2/5. Can anyone else help either of these gentlemen?

35/2/3 What Is It? Q. See the photos of an unidentified tool patented in August 1869. What is it? L. M. Davis, 22216 NE 72nd Ave., Battle Ground, WA 98604.

35/2/4 Motor Go EngineQ. See the photos of a Motor Go 4 HP marine engine, s/n 43218. I know it is missing some parts, but since I cannot find the name anywhere, I am hoping someone can help. Chris Markley, 519 E. Locust, Lanark, IL 61046.

A. We don't have anything on this engine either. Can anyone help?

35/2/5 Another Empire Engine Q. I have an engine from Empire Cream Separator Company. It is two-cycle vertical, about 18 inches high, and with a 12? inch flywheel. The nameplate is oval, about 5 inches wide and 2? inches high. There are about 40 patent dates from 1889 to May 2, 1905. I would like to know how the gas tank and water tank appear, and how they were mounted. The engine has a water cooled head and air cooled lower cylinder. Andy Gortsema, PO Box 223, Fairfield, WA 99012.

A. A place to start is Question #35/2/2.

35/2/6 Information NeededQ. See photos 6A and 6B of an unidentified engine. In 6A is shown the flywheel, magneto, and leather wheel for turning the cooling blower. The crank inserts between the flywheel and magneto to crank it. In 6B is shown the cast ring to fit against something else, a large bolt in the center to fasten it, and a gear to drive something. There are no markings, numbers or other identification on this engine. Photo 6C is an unidentified bicycle engine, two cycle, with a cast iron cylinder and oil-type clutch. No markings can be found. Photo 6D is a Fichtel & Sachs engine made at Schweinfurt, Germany. It has a displacement of 98 cubic centimeters and uses a 48 x 54 mm bore and stroke, for about 2 horsepower. 1 can find no information on this engine. If anyone can be of help, contact: Clyde Nafzinger, 24 Main Ave., Wilmington, DE 19804-1829, or email at

35/2/7 Information Needed Q. Please give the mfg. dates for the following engines: Fairbanks-Morse 1? HP, s/n 286544 Stover 2 HP, s/n TB268027 Witte 2HP, s/n 96851J

Any help will be appreciated. Bill Kapranos, 2026 NW Sierra Lane, Camas, WA 98607-2534.

A. The F-M was built in 1917 and the Stover in 1940. The Witte was built in 1936. Also, the color of the late Stover engines appears to have been Ditzler 44616 Green.

35/2/8 Information NeededQ. See photo 8A of a Utilimotor from Johnson Motor Company, Waukegan, Illinois. Any information on this engine would be appreciated. Photo 8B is of an Alpha 1? HP engine, Type F. It originally used a make-and-break ignition system but now I use a coil and battery with a spark plug. Any help as to age and color would be appreciated. See also 8C showing several different engines advertised in a 1915 issue of Popular Mechanics Magazine. Jimmie Fisher, 2048 Webb St., Stockton, CA 95205.

35/2/9 Richardson EngineQ. I am looking for information on a Simplicity engine from Richardson Mfg. Company, Worcester, Mass. It is 6 HP, s/n AE4193. Any help would be appreciated. Jim Lamb. Email at

Note: Lots of readers don't have e-mail, so give your query a better chance of response by also including your regular mailing address. Ed.)

35/2/10 Feed Grinders Q. I have a number of old feed grinders and corn shellers, but no one seems to know anything about them, as far as manufacturer, color, and other information. Do you know of anyone who can help find this information? Curt Porter. Email at

A. Much of this information might be found in the Reflector's book, American Farm Implements, available from Krause Publications, Iola, Wisconsin, or also from GEM and various GEM advertisers.

35/2/11 Ideal EnginesQ. Recently I have acquired a pair of Ideal air-cooled lawn mower engines. They are hit-and-miss with a belt-driven fan for cooling the cylinder. One engine has a sheet steel stamped crankcase cover. It appears to have sealed the crankcase. There is a plug and test cock on the side of the crankcase to measure the oil level. Is anyone familiar with this system? Any information on the Ideal engines would be greatly appreciated, and I will answer all correspondence. Also, the engine in 34/12/13 appears to be a Standard Gas Engine made in San Francisco, California. Lester Bowman, 2440 Thomas St., Ceres, CA 95307.

35/2/12 Ice Chipping Machine?Q. See the photos of what I believe to be an ice chipping machine. I am hoping to run this machine with a 4 HP engine, but don t know if it would be big enough. Any information that anyone can give me about this machine would be greatly appreciated. Donald Lay ton, Box 16, Riverton, WY 82501.

35/2/13 Miniature Crawlers

David Smucker, 137 Hollow Road, Quarryville, PA 17566 would like to find more information about small crawler tractors. If you can be of help, please contact him. (Especially after World War Two, a number of companies attempted to build small crawler tractors, but very few remained on the market for more than a couple of years.)

35/2/14 Miami EngineQ. I am restoring a Miami engine made by Middletown Machine Co., Middletown, Ohio. It has a 4 x 6 inch bore and stroke, with a s/n of 102. The mixer is on top of the head, and the spark plug is on the backside of the cylinder next to the exhaust outlet. Can anyone provide further information such as the year, the horsepower, and the correct color scheme? Gene Phillips, 294 S 150 E, Valparaiso, IN 46383-7866.

35/2/15 Power Products (34/12/8)

T. J. Shipman, RR 2, Box 371-12, Buckhannon, WV 26201 writes that the engine in question was an all-aluminum engine made by Power Products. The latter is now merged into the Lauson-Tecumseh-Clinton group. The AH-4 7 had a horizontal crank and a displacement of 4-7 ci, while the AV-47 used a vertical crank, as on lawnmowers.

35/2/16 Information NeededQ. Did Fairbanks-Morse build a set of trucks for the 1?  HP dishpan flywheel model? Also when was a Waterloo Boy 2 HP engine, s/n 129595 engine built? What does the ]\ suffix mean on a Cushman Cub engine, s/n 3355 and Model No. 1?-2? JI? Any help would be appreciated. Les Bergquist, 141 Skyline Drive, Granite Falls, MN 56241.

A. The F-M 1 ? dishpan model was indeed available with trucks. No s/n lists have been found for the Waterloo Boy, and we don't know the meaning of the JI suffix on the Cushman.

35/2/17 Edwards Engine Q. See the photos of my Edwards engine, s/n 6013. It has a high tension magneto. I had to have a couple of valves made, and some work on the magneto gear, and now it runs quite well. I would like to know when it was made and the correct color scheme. Any information would be appreciated. Maynard R. Brown, 73 Country Club Road, Queensbury, NY 12804.

35/2/18 Economy EngineQ. Can you tell me the year built of an Economy 1? E engine, s/n 236769? Also the correct color, and whether it was sold by Sears? Dan Thompson, 6940 W Rose Creek Rd., 92-01, Winnemucca, NV 89445.

A. We can't tell you the exact year the engine was built, but the color match is DuPont 674 Red. The E suffix means 'Economy' and these engines were sold by Sears, Roebuck &. Co.

35/2/19 Information NeededQ. What is the approximate weight of a Model M Allis-Chalmers crawler? Also the weight of a Minneapolis-Moline Model U tractor? I also note that your book on Oliver Hart-Parr doesn't have much information on the tractors Oliver built for Cockshutt. Do you have more information on these models? Robert Hauswirth, 6307 Dalsby Rd NW, Calgary, AB T3A 1M6 Canada.

A. The Model M crawler will weigh about 7,000 pounds, and the M-M U will weigh about 6,000 pounds. Aside from what we illustrated in our book, we have little else on the Cockshutt 60, 70, 80, and 99 tractors built by Oliver.

35/2/20 Muncie OutboardQ. See the photo of an outboard built by Muncie Gearworks, Muncie, Indiana. It is Model 1B39A, and s/n 12008E1. I would like to know when it was built and the horsepower. Any information would be appreciated. Clarence Hoffman, 1401 N. Peebly Rd., Choctaw, OK 73020-7957.

A. The best we can do is to recommend a book available from GEM, called The Old Outboard Book. According to the book, Muncie began manufacturing Neptune outboard motors in about 1930.

35/2/21 Schmidt's Chilled CylinderQ. Les Wallace, 15270 SE Linden Ln, Milwaukie, OR 97267 would like to know when a Schmidt's Chilled Cylinder Engine, s/n 4120 was built.

A. We believe these engines were built only in the 1910-1913 period.

35/2/22 Nelson Bros. Engine?Q. I have a 1? HP engine that appears to be of the Nelson Bros, family. It has a Webster Type K magneto with bracket number A303K37. This number is not listed in Wendel's Notebook listing of Webster brackets. The s/n has a 'B' prefix and is stamped on a boss on top of the cylinder behind the hopper. Any information on this engine would be appreciated. Mike Tyler, 320 Locust St., Ridgecrest, CA 93555.

35/2/23 Ottawa EngineQ. Can you tell me the year built of an Ottawa 5 HP engine, s/n TE28908? E. Charles McDuffee, 752 N. Georgetown Dr., Montgomery, AL 36109.

A. In a word, no. The serial lists of Ottawa have apparently not survived.

35/2/24 IHC Type MQ. What is the year built for a 1? HP McCormick-Deering engine, s/n A9499? Also, what is the proper paint color? Carl G. Guretse, 304 Perkiomen Ave., Lansdale, PA 19446.

A. The color is DuPont Adirondack Green, #84155. Your engine was built in 1918.

35/2/25 Hercules EngineQ. I have a Hercules 1? F HP engine, s/n 216979. Can you tell me when it was built and the proper color? Robert R. Young, RD 1, Box 96, Kimball, SD 57355-9637.

A. We have DuPont 1317 or 7666 Green listed as a color match, but do not have the s/n information.

35/2/26 Bean Sprayer EngineQ. Jim Caylor, 1214 Del Rey, Modesto, CA 95350 has a 2 HP sprayer engine, s/n 8007 from Bean Spray Pump Co., San Jose, California. He would like to know the age, and also whether or not the crankcase was vented on this engine.

35/2/27 Kohler EngineQ. I have a two-cylinder air-cooled Kohler engine, 800 watts, 34-40 VDC, 900 rpm. Someone tried to convert the generator to an AC machine by rewinding the armature. Does someone have a set of plans for making this conversion? Also, is there a source of operating and/or repair books for this unit? Harley Collins, 2540 Fox Road, Bath, PA 18014.

35/2/28  Kewanee Private Utility EngineQ. See the photos of a Kewanee Private Utility Company engine. The pump is different from the one shown on page 262 of American Gas Engines and the large gear has been moved in-board. Any information on this unit would be greatly appreciated, and will be helpful in restoring this engine to working condition. L. T. Odland, 225 Oak St., Hillsboro, OH 45133.

35/2/29 Unidentified EngineQ. See the photos of an unidentified two-cylinder engine. It has lots of needle bearings , and uses a Tillotson carburetor and Fairbanks-Morse ignition. I have two of these engines, one is painted red, and the other is olive drab, indicating it was probably sold for military use. James N. Connor, RD 1, Box 266, Mill Hall, PA 17751.

35/2/30 Novo EngineQ. I have a Novo 4 HP engine, s/n 45618, and would like to know when it was built, also the correct scheme. Norm Stobert,5374 E. St.Joseph hwy, grand Ledge,MI 48837

A.your engine was built in April 1919.the matching color is DuPont 4190 Green.

Modelmakers Corner

During the winter months we hope to hear from more of our modelmakers, and this month we present two photos of Domestic model castings in the process of being painted. This is in the shop of Richard E. Shelly & Sons, Manheim, Pennsylvania.

A Closing Word

The query regarding Ideal engines prompted us to dig out an illustration of the Ideal in action. This advertisement is from the May 1925 issue of National Geographic.

This winter we will be working on an entirely new book covering antique tools and machinery. Much of the preliminary work is already done, and it already looks like we will have a sizable book.

Hopefully too, we'll be able to do some model work this winter. We have several sets of castings, we have the machine tools, and the main deterrent always seems to be the lack of time. Sound familiar? Years ago, in the pre-computer age, we were led to believe that with mechanization, automation, robotic devices, electronic gadgetry, and who knows what else, we would be able to have more free time . . . now we ask, who has noticed any of that? Instead, it seems that we all work harder and play less than ever before!

Speaking of electronics, we will allow that electronic fuel injection sure helped put an end to hard winter starting and associated problems. On the other hand, it is virtually impossible for the average person to work on a car anymore. It still has pistons and valves, but beyond that, we are pre-empted by electronics and precluded from analyzing a problem without a computer. Y2K worries would not be a worry except for computers . . . we'll bet that when Y1K rolled around, there was one helluva party with nobody at all worrying about whether the world would fall apart at the stroke of midnight! That's why we've got our old Junkers diesel at the ready for Y2K, just in case and I suppose for a backup we could fire up the old 1917 Fairbanks-Morse 10 HP 'Z' if necessary.

All Best Wishes for the new Millennium!