A Brief Word

Mackey Engine Co

F9-37: Mackey Engine Co., Pontiac, Michigan offered this engine in 1900; it is another one that we've never seen, and we're curious whether any of them still survive.

Content Tools

While assembling our newest book, American Farm Implements, to be published this fall (we hope), we came across some unusual engines to share with you. Since we published American Gas Engines some years ago, numerous engines have appeared in the interim, and although we have plans to publish our findings, the new implement book will be taken up with corn shellers, ensilage cutters, windmills, washing machines, and dozens of other items. Thus, it seems to us that sharing some of these things with you through our monthly column is in order.

Another project on the horizon is our Gas Engine Handbook, but we find that there are only 24 hours in a day, and half of that is spent resting, eating, and sleeping. Please be patient, we're working on it.

Continuing also this month is our report on the trip to Australia. Frankly, it was a trip to be experienced; it's virtually impossible to convey our thoughts on this trip. Hopefully though, we'll be going back again, and eventually we'll try to assemble another tour to that far-off country with all its wonderful attributes.

As we may have noted previously, engine rallies there have the engines enclosed in woven wire to keep EVERYONE out except for the exhibitors. The folks in Australia are very safety conscious, and the entire country is very environmentally conscious.

We're also working hard to get everything together for the 1998 tour to Germany and Austria. Since talking to you last month we've made some changes, hopefully for the better. We think you'll like our itinerary. It combines a lot of nice exhibits, museums, local ambiance, and scenery. At this point it looks like a June 17 departure date from Chicago, New York, and other points, and flying into Zurich, with a return two weeks later from Frankfurt. The optional one-week extension we're working on will go to the north of Germany (farming country) up to Bremen, Bremer haven, L beck, and other points before departing from Hamburg.

The trip to Australia was truly the trip of a lifetime! However, on a sad note, one of our party, Mrs. Harold (Doris) Puckett of Buford, Georgia, passed away shortly after returning home. She had gone into the hospital for some routine tests, and while there, died on April 19 of a cerebral hemorrhage. Harold and Doris have been with us on several of our tours, and she was always a delight, sometimes coming out with witticisms when least expected. Her passing is certainly a reminder that this life is only temporary.

As previously noted, our e-mail address is and you are welcome to communicate with us via e-mail. However, most queries regarding the column will then be placed on file and answered in the next available column lest ye old Reflector burn out some of his transistors and other junque trying to keep up with the e-mail. Those who include e-mail addresses with their queries will have them included unless they tell us not to.

Here we go for July:

32/7/1 Simplicity Engine Q. I have a 1 HP Simplicity (s/n U2162) and need to know the original color; also a 1 HP Sandwich (s/n 19269) and need the same information. I have a Waterloo Boy engine (s/n 7388) that was painted gray. The last patent date is August 6, 1907. The tag does not give the horse-power, but it has a 5 x 10 inch bore and stroke. Can anyone provide further information on it? Mike Janke, E7149 Hwy 22, Bear Creek, WI 54922. 

A. We have no s/n information on any of the above engines, nor do we have any paint color match for the Simplicity. The Sandwich is close to DuPont 28968 or 65541 Green.

32/7/2 Thanks! From Alfred G. Brejcha Jr., RR 2, Box 12, Western, NE 68464. He queried earlier regarding the speed control for the IHC LA engines. Several fellows wrote saying that the early LA had the speed control with a set screw behind the flywheels and the later ones were on top like the LB. Does anyone know when they made the change?

32/7/3 Cushman Cub & Faultless Q. I have a Cushman Cub 2 HP, Mode! R-14, s/n 18900 w/ Wico EK magneto. What is correct color scheme? Also have a Faultless vertical, HP, s/n 1453. Need more information on this engine. John Widerman, 2730 Carnation Place, Love-land, CO 80537. 

A. Can anyone advise on the Cushman? A photo of the Faultless would be helpful; we can't think of one that was a HP vertical.

32/7/4 Flat Rubber Belting Lloyd Hallead, 5420 White Creek Rd., Marlette, MI 48453 reports that Tractor Supply Co. (TSC) stores have flat belting (they call it power transmission belting) available, cut to length, and in 4 and 6-inch widths. Check your TSC store or their catalog.

32/7/5 Rumely Grinder Q. I have a small grinder that is a Rumely No. 6 Power Mill Grinder. Could anyone supply any information on this unit? All letters will be answered. Gene Sullivan, 4108 Luverne Dr., Red Wing, MN 55066. 

A. We'd guess that this is one of those additional products which came out about 1913. We hadn't heard of the No. 6, but we know they had everything from butter churns to corn shellers for awhile.

32/7/6 Alamo Engine Q. The Webster magneto on my Alamo engine has the white metal base, and 3 of the 4 mounting studs have stripped. I would like to hear some recommendations for repair. My first thought was to use Helicoils, but perhaps someone has come up with a better idea. Allen C. Gruver, 1450 Beaver Valley Pike, Willow Street, PA 17584. e-mail to 

32/7/7 Unidentified Engine Q. See the three photos of an unidentified engine. It does not resemble anything I've. found in American Gas Engines. The engine is 3 x 5, with a main casting number of 4004, and one flywheel has number 4008. There is no indication that it ever had a nametag. The exhaust arm and connecting rod are missing. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Ed Hollier, 3093 Amity Road, Pearcy, AR 71964. 

32/7/8 American Saw Mill Q. I have had a copy of your book, The Circular Sawmill for several years. Recently I purchased an American #2 as pictured . It less all the wood. On you stated that their 1922 catalog was over 200 pages. Would it be possible to get it copied or any other American literature? Richard Mosher, 109 Highman Avenue, Cambridge, ONT N1R 3U2 Canada. 

A. We borrowed that one from some one, but we don't know who it was. Can anyone help in restoration of this mill?

32/7/9 Root-Heath Sheller Q. See the photos of a small sheller made by Root-Heath Mfg. Co., Plymouth, Ohio. So far as I can find out, it was made sometime before 1926, or at least before Root-Heath became Fate-Root-Heath, the Silver King tractor manufacturers. It also seems that F-R-H was taken over by Mountain State Fabricating Co., Clarksburg, WV. Neither company now exists, so I'm not sure where to find further information. Any help would be appreciated. Elliot Domans, 10 Babbitt Rd., Mendham, NJ 07945. 

A. We recently came across this very sheller for our coming American Farm Implements book, but the material is now in the hands of the publisher, so we can't go back and research it at the moment. The Root-Heath was one of several small box shellers; they were intended for grinding small quantities as for corn meal etc., and were also used to shell seed corn, one ear at a time.

32/7/10 Farmall F-20 & F-30 Q. Is there anyone who makes aluminum pistons for the Farmall F-20 and F-30 tractors, or are there any other pistons that will work from other tractors? Gary Kahle, 8921 NW Marple, Topeka, KS 66617. 

32/7/11 Clipper Lawn Mower Q. See the photo of an old Clipper lawn mower made at Dixon, Illinois. Approximately when were these built? James Sharp, 618 North Market St., Loudonville, OH 44842. 

A. About 1910 the Clipper appeared in many different magazines, including Gas Power, Gas Review, American Thresherman, and others. We're not sure when the company began making them or any further particulars on Clipper's activities.

32/7/12 IHC 8-16 Jr. Tractor Q. I am restoring a 8-16 Junior International chain-drive tractor. When cleaning I found the engine is a dark green while the rest of the tractor is dark gray with red wheels. Can anyone tell me the exact color formation would be appreciated. M. P. C. de Goey, Onderweg 32, Y2Y1XG Arkel, The Netherlands.

A. We have no information whatever on the color scheme for this early tractor. Can anyone be of help?

32/7/13 Linderman Generator? Q. See the photos of a single cylinder power plant. The engine is 4-cycle and uses a Splitdorf rotary magneto. The fuel tank is cast into the base. I think this unit was built by Linderman Steel & Machine Co., as shown on page 284 of American Gas Engines. Can anyone verify this? Any help would be appreciated. Paul Larsen, 130 Wimbledon Crescent SW, Calgary, ALTA.T3C3J3 Canada. 

32/7/14 Hallett Diesel Thanks to Don L. Comstock, 1204 Kennedy Ford Rd., Potlatch, ID 83855 for sending a copy of the instruction manual on the Hallett diesel engine; we asked about this engine awhile back, having acquired one last fall. Don has one of these engines, but it is equipped with an electric starter, and we'll concede that's a good idea for these engines, as they are hard to turn over compression; in fact, almost impossible when one gets a bit older!

32/7/15 Briggs & Stratton Q. See the two photos of a Briggs & Stratton engine, but I don't know the model. Can anyone help? Dieter Heckele 1391 Heather Hill Dr., Hubertus, WI 53033. 

32/7/16 Questions Q. See photos 16 A, B, and C of a Fairbanks-Morse lawn mower I recently purchased. Can anyone supply further information? Photos 16D and E show a Model VAC Case specially modified, and I6F shows a John Deere Model B specially modified. Can anyone tell me their specific use? Ken Wardlow, Drayton Valley, ALTA, T7 A 1S5 Canada. 

32/7/17 IHC Famous Q. Can anyone tell me the color scheme for the IHC Famous Vertical engines.? Max H. Hollis, 245 Boxelder Rt., Glenrock, WY 82637. 

A. See the June 1997 issue, page 18.

32/7/18 Schramm Tractors Joe Williams, 800 East Virginia Ave., West Chester, PA 193 80 writes that the query of 32/4/5 on the Schramm tractor indicates that this was a Pneumatractor built about 1959.

32/7/19 Brown-Cochran Q. I recently had the good fortune to obtain a Brown-Cochran 4 HP engine as shown in the photo. It is in good condition except the linkage from the exhaust valve that disconnects the ignitor and holds open the intake valve is missing. I would like to hear from anyone having one of these engines so I can correspond with them and fabricate the missing parts. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated. Carl Mehr, 12513 Elnora Drive, Penn Valley, CA 95946. 

32/7/20 Economy Tractor Q. I recently acquired a 1948 Economy tractor. I believe it is an early model of the Power King? It seems to have very low production numbers; about 700 were made that year. Are there any clubs, or any individuals having more information? Any information would be appreciated. Ray Roman, 388 W. Park Rd., Portersville, PA 16051. 

32/7/21 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photos of an unidentified engine. The Webster magneto bracket is 303K87, the same as the Stover 2 HP engine, and also used by Willard-Middleton Machy. Co., Middleton, Ohio. Part numbers include: crankshaft, B-8 and W. D. F. Co.; flywheel, B2; rocker arm, B24- Can anyone identify this engine?

Also need information on a Franklin 1 HP engine made by Columbus Pump Supply Co., Columbus, Ohio. Any help would be appreciated. John Bruman, 4207 Slattery Rd., North Branch, MI 48461. 

32/7/22 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photo of an unidentified engine. If anyone recognizes it, please contact Otto Turner, 306 N. Mulberry St., Hartford City, IN 47348. 

32/7/23 Beaver Tractor Co. Q. Regarding the Beaver Tractor made by Baird Machine Co., Stratford, CT, the Baird Co. sold the Beaver tractor division to a company in New Hartford, CT and they sold it to a company in Lewiston, Maine. I would like the dates and names of these companies. Some models were two-speed. If anyone has a two-speed tractor, please write to me. Myron Wininger, 204 Church St., Monroe, CT 06468 

32/7/24 Fairbanks-Morse Q. I recently purchased a Fairbanks-Morse engine, s/n 360971 and need help in restoration. Any help would be appreciated. R. C. Bate, 43 Shakespeare Rd., Wootton Bassett, Swindon, Wilts., SN4 8HD, England. 

A. Your engine was made in 1918. While it is now fitted with a Splitdorf magneto, per your letter, it could also have been fitted with their Model C Plug oscillator magneto. The latter gave F-M a lot of trouble, so it may have been converted by them, or by someone else. If anyone can be of further help, kindly contact Mr. Bate.

32/7/25 Cushman Vertical Q. What is the correct color for the Cushman vertical binder engine? Dean C. Barr, PO Box 186, Hiddenite, NC 28636. 

A. We have DuPont 62713 Green listed as a comparable match.

32/7/26 Vimalert Engine Q. See the photo of an air cooled single cylinder engine from Vimalert Co., Ltd., Jersey City, New Jersey. It is Eng. No. 3 - Type 140-1, 20 HP @ 1200 rpm, right-hand rotation. The enclosed crankcase and base are both cast aluminum, and the date (1942) is cast in the block. The carburetor and other parts are missing. Can anyone tell me more about this engine? Robert O. Donnell, 18ElmDrive, York, ME03909-1136. 

32/7/27 Hallett Diesel Q. See the three photos of a Hallett diesel engine I bought on a farm sale. It has electric starting and two water pumps. Except for the injector linkage being rusted up, it looks like it should run. Can anyone tell me more about this engine? Bud Viles, 132 NE 23 Hwy, Knob Noster, MO 65336-1815. 

A. Our Hallett, and for that matter any others we've heard about, are single cylinder vertical models; we were unaware of any multiple cylinder Hallett diesels. Can anyone supply further information? Our guess is that they were built for military use during World War Two. By the way, we've also learned that the Hallett design called for a compression of 570 psi. Maybe that's why they are so hard to start by hand!

32/7/28 Old Hay Press Q. See the photo of the drive unit of an old hay press. The drive unit has casting numbers like CNF, CE3N, CD2, etc. I'm going to try and restore this old hay press. If anyone has any information, or anything that would help, please contact: Denis schrank, 21097 Hickory Rd., Batesville, IN 47006. 

32/7/29 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photo of an engine with no nameplate or identification. In perusing American Gas Engines, it appears to be a Sun Power from Sun-Power Engine Co., Detroit, Michigan. There is a letter 'N' followed by the number 16750 stamped on one of the flywheels. This engine has a 3 x 5 inch bore and stroke. Any help would be appreciated. George Dierker, B-27 Herman Bros., RR 3, Regina, SK, S4P 3W8 Canada. 

A. It could well be a Sun-Power, and was likely made by Nelson Bros. Company.

32/7/30 Super Power King Engine Q. I need help on a Grey Model N Super Power King engine, 7 HP, s/n N7707. If you can be of help, please contact: Ron Denney, R. M. B. 312, Cranbrook, West Australia 6321. 

A. Given the tremendous enthusiasm of the Australian collectors, if you can offer any assistance, please write Mr. Denney at the above address.

32/7/31 Red Seal Engine Q. See the photos of a Continental Red Seal engine, s/n Y1 12-22704. I would like to know when it was made and the original color scheme. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Orville Skadsem, Rt 6, Box 325, Thief River Falls, MN 56701. 

A. We have virtually no information on the Continental Red Seal line, so we can't offer any help. Does anyone have information on this company?

32/7/32 Waterbury 2 H.P. Q. Charles Shelton, 1108 Emery Ln., Jeffersonville, IN 47130 sent along a pencil rubbing for a Waterbury 2 HP, Model No. 62, made by Waterbury Garden Tractor Co., Columbus, Ohio. Has anyone got information on this one?

32/7/33 Olds Type R Q. I'm inquiring about the Type R Olds 1 HP that the Breisch model is patterned after and quite different than the Type A Olds. My previous inquiry in August 1996 GEM produced few results. Thus far, no one has come forth with any information on this 'competition model. It is not covered in American Gas Engines or in any of the Olds literature I have. Can anyone be of help?

On August 20-23, 1997 the Oldsmobile Division of GMC is hosting a Centennial Celebration marking the formation of Olds Motor Vehicle Company. The contact person is Bob jarboe, Oldsmobile Centennial Manager, Oldsmobile Division, GMC, Mai! Stop #7060, 9020 Townsend St., Lansing, MI 48921. (FAX 517/885-1701). There's also a new book, Setting the Pace: Oldsmobile's First 100 Years, by Helen). Earley and James R. Walkinshaw, tracing the Oldsmobile development, and touching on gas engine development and the Rumely connection. Leonard Spoelman, 3221 Brookshire SE, Grand Rapids, Ml 49508. 

32/7/34 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photos of an unidentified marine engine. It is a 140 cid flat eight marine engine with eight cylinders horizontally opposed in two banks of four. It has a bore and stroke of 2.5 x 3.5 inches. There are 2 valves per cylinder, actuated by roller rocker arms. The valve springs are an unusual leaf design with 10 per set arched over a hardened rod. The engine as shown in the photograph weighs only about 100 pounds. There are no markings on the motor. There are foundry marks on the connecting rods and cam followers, an arrowhead with the letter 'D' and the numbers '21'and '24' respectively. Most of the accessory items date the motor to the mid-1930s. All threads that I have checked are American. Any help at all on identifying this engine would be greatly appreciated. Rick Montague, 231 - 22 Ave SE, St. Petersburg, FL 33705. 

A. We agree that this is a most unusual engine, and we hope that someone will be able to render some assistance.

A Closing Word By the time this copy is in your hands, the 1997 show season will be moving into full bloom. What a rewarding hobby! Isn't it great to be a part of a scene that preserves a part of our mechanical past, then displays it for all to see! Only a few years ago, it wasn't fashionable to tell anyone that you collected old gas engines ... all that got was a close look to see if you'd gone daft. How things have changed! While you're enjoying yourself at the shows, please take heed and be careful, not just for yourself, but for the viewing public. We shudder to think of the consequences if some little kid wanders off toward an unattended engine and gets some fingers ground up by the gears! That's pretty graphic, but it's intended to get your attention . . . PLAY SAFELY!

Recently we acquired an old letterpress, made in 1933, and still running strong. It's one of those old Craftsman presses that letterpress printers talk about, complete with automatic feeder and other niceties. With our natural bent toward things mechanical, we continue to marvel at the ingenuity of our ancestors. Whether it was tractors or gas engines, or even printing presses, there were some real geniuses at work in those days. The beauty of it is that the results of their work are still operable. Nowadays, engineers are forced by economics to make things as light as possible to cut down on weight (and cost), with the result being that some of today's wonders work very well, but don't have the lifespan we expect out of our old-time equipment. Some of our vintage engines are nearing the century mark, with a few that are even older, and they are still running. What'll today's engines be like in a century? At the least, the plastic knobs will have all fallen off, and the solid state ignition will probably have been replaced a dozen times. (We just got into that problem . . . one bad computer chip in the car, and the bill was over $500. But without it, the thing would barely run, so there wasn't much choice).

Just as we were closing up this column another large package arrived from GEM, undoubtedly containing your queries. Unfortunately, they'll have to wait until the next issue; if we hold things up on this end, your next magazine will come late. On the plus-side of our modern age, we simply ship the photos and a computer disk out to GEM. Within a short time they fit it into the neat columns you see every month, and it is ready to print. If we were still using letterpresses and Lino-types, it would be a much heavier task, and besides that, all the photos would have to be screened and sent to an engraver, who would then burn those zinc engravings. By the way, we've acquired a few more copper electros or zincs of old farm equipment, but we're always looking to add to the collection, so drop us a line if you have some.

Now that the July column is completed, we'll get back to the shop and finish some new projects, among them mounting our Hallett diesel on a set of trucks, connecting it to a generator, and maybe even figuring out a way to start it without having to use a crank! In case that doesn't work out, there's always lawn to mow, or weeds to hoe.

We'll see you again next month!