Motsinger Auto Sparker


Content Tools

We're writing this bit of copy in early May, and by the time it's in your hands, we'll be into the month of June. A few days ago we decided that cold weather was gone for a few months, and spring fever hit us in a big way. So we fired up a couple of engines, just to listen to that same old stack music we've listened to for years. Isn't it interesting that getting some of those exhaust fumes into your system seems to brighten everything up, despite the pollutants, carbon monoxide, soot, and what not that we absorb at the same time?

This month we have a rather short column . . . apparently our readers are feeling much like ye olde Reflector . . . everyone has the spring itch to get out and play with old iron instead of writing about it! Play safely though.

We sincerely doubt that anyone actually in the engine building business ever dreamed that any of this old iron would be preserved, much less cherished and pampered. It wasn't intended that way . . . our old iron was intended to make life easier, and in the past few years, it's finally getting the recognition it deserves. How many things can you think of that have more profoundly changed our society than the internal combustion engine? Except for the printing press and movable type, we can think of few other things. While steam power remains as the major prime mover in very large applications, steam was king for only a relatively short time in agriculture and commerce. Either steam or gas power was needed for most electrical applications, particularly on the midwestern plains. Hydroelectric power by itself would, we suggest, never have brought about the socioeconomic changes that have been wrought because of, or as a consequence of, the internal combustion engine. Do we look at our hobby as a cause celebre? Yes, we do!

Our questions and comments this month begin with:

28/7/1 Patent Copies

Regarding recent comments about U. S. Patents, we thank Bruce Hall, Rt. 90, King Ferry, NY 13081 for the following information:

Photcopies of original patent drawings and descriptions are available by writing: Commissioner of Patents & Trademarks, Box 9, Washington, DC 20231. Include a $3.00 check for each patent, written to the Commissioner of Patents. Write the desired patent number on the check.

28/7/2 Associated Engines

Q. I have seen it stated in GEM that there is no dating information available on Associated gas engines. My Associated 2 HP Hired Man has the date of Jan . 3, 1911 stamped on the top edge of the ignitor push rod. Has anyone found this to be true? Roger Gerber, Rt 2, Box 135, Adams, MN 55909.

A. We think the above date refers to a patent for the igniter design of this engine. A similar instance occurs with the IHC Famous vertical engines. They have a 1905 date cast either on the cover plate or on the water pump arm. This refers to a patent date, and not to the production date. The same holds true for many of the Wico magneto trip arms which have a date cast into the top of the trip bar. You may be onto something here, but we suspect that a great many Associated engines might have this January 1911 date stamped on the push rod.

28/7/3 Herbrand Tools

Q. I have been acquiring hand tools since the early 1950s and have a box full of Craftsman, Proto, SK, and other wrenches and sockets. My favorites by far are three Herbrand combination wrenches I found at a swap meet. They are slim, stylish, and elegant, plus the rise and offset make them easy to pick up and use. The problem is that I do not know where they are made or sold, or if they are even manufactured anymore. One other very nice wrench is a Gordon Tools short box end that also is unheard of in these remote mountains. Any information on Herbrand or Gordon tools would be greatly appreciated, and I will reply to all correspondents. George Valentine, 12782 Wilson, Leavenworth, WA 98826.

28/7/4 Tractor Questions

Q. See Photo 4-A of what I think is a Clark Air made for the U.S. Navy. Can anyone supply further information on this tractor? Photos 4-B and 4-C are of what we believe is a 'Roebuck' but we have no information on it at all. Any information on it would be greatly appreciated.

A. We can't tell you much about the Clark Air, hut the tractor in 4-B and 4-C looks like an Allis-Chahners.

28/7/5 Shotgun Starter

Q. I would appreciate any kind of information on the shotgun shell activated Kauffman type engine starter. I also would like to know if there would be any such starting device on the market today. Robert Mayeux, 2204 Comanche St., Sulphur, LA 70663.

28/7/6 What Is It?

Q. See photos 6-A and 6-B of an unidentified engine. It is probably 1 horsepower, and has no nameplate. The engine has a 35/8 x 4 inch bore and stroke. All the castings have numbers with a 'W' prefix-Any information will be appreciated. Scott P. Wilson, 1401 Wikiup Dr., Santa Rosa, CA 95403-1348.

A. We believe this is an Alpha-De-Laval, built by Lauson. See page 122 of American Gas Engines.

28/7/7 Hart-Parr Question

Q. See the photos of an 18-36 Hart-Parr, s/n 89937. We are intrigued by the brackets on the side of this Hart-Parr, see especially Photo 7-B. Also see Photo 7-C which shows another large bolt with a number of steel sections, one of which is folded, and bolted together. These fixtures were probably used for some special implements. If anyone can advise, we would be most grateful. Wilfred E. Mole, PO Box 408, Halfway House, 1685, South Africa.

A. If anyone can be of help, kindly contact Mr. Mole at the above address.

28/7/8 Lazy Boy

Q. See the photo of the Lazy Boy lawn mower, powered by a Clinton engine. The following lettering appears on the cast aluminum deck in raised letters: Lazy Boy, Farm & Ranch Inc., Kansas City, Mo., USA. Can anyone tell me the original paint color of this mower, or supply additional information? Brad E. Smith, 7574 So. 74 Street, Franklin, WI 53132.

28/7/9 Associated Chore Boy

Q. After spending the usual many hours poring over the most recent GEM, and seeing the typical many requests for engine data, it finally dawned on me that I should try to better pinpoint the date of my recently restored 1 horsepower Associated Chore Boy.

As you can probably see by the photos, I tried to hold as close to the original setup as possible. The one exception which I feel added that 'final touch' was the restoration and installation of a Motsinger Auto Sparker.

The engine itself was basically complete when I bought it, save for the usual items; the ignitor, trip rod, crank guard, and muffler. It was, however, in need of a very complete restoration. After pouring and boring the mains and rod, machining new valve guides into the head and fabricating new valves, push rod and many small parts, it started to show its potential. After about five months of evenings and weekend work, machining, painting, trial & error pinstriping and a few weeks on the wood, it finally resulted in something worth showing. It's still a little feeble yet as the rings are not quite seated, but it definitely is something to watch and hear. This is my sixth restoration in the last year and a half, and is my earliest restored engine to date.

Back to my date request, I understand due to the style of igniter trip rod this engine uses, it appears to predate the Associated Iowa Oversize engines and possibly places it around early to mid-teens. The serial number is 3 J 9677. If you or any of your readers have any serial number data, it would be greatly appreciated. Steven Gray, 2855 San Fernando Rd., Atascadero, CA 93422-7706.

28/7/10 Thank You!

I knew I would get results but ... I want to thank all the people who were kind enough to send me information regarding the No. 90 plow color scheme and tool box identification. Three days before I got my own May issue of GEM I got a letter that contained all the information I inquired about. Several other letters have arrived confirming the first reply. Thanks again to all who took the time and 29 cents out of their pocket. Thomas Jay Hoffman, 325 Alicia Dr., Cary, IL 60013.

28/7/11 Foos Jr. Engine

Q. I am 15 and have a 2 HP Foos Jr. engine, no. 34047. Is there a way to date these engines? Would like to correspond with other owners of 2 HP Foos Jr. engines, Zoch Nagel, RR 4, Box 199A, Rensselaer, IN 47978.

29/7/12 Correction!

In the May issue of GEM you printed my inquiry on a possible connection between Frost & Wood and Walter A. Wood companies. Unfortunately, my address contained a typographical error. The correct address is: Howard F. Dow, 10415 West Caton Road, Corning, NY 14830.