Lawn Mower


Manor S. Carter

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During the past few weeks we visited Rock Island Works of International Harvester Company. Buildings which cover something like 40 acres and once employed thousands of people are now nearly vacant except for a few tractors yet to be finished. The word is that the Farm all Works will become a thing of the past, probably by the end of 1985.

We have just returned from a visit to LaPorte, Indiana and the large Allis-Chalmers plant there. It is now completely vacant except for a skeleton crew of company personnel. Major portions of the LaPorte plant were originally built by the Rumely people. Walking through these soon-to-be-vacated factories gives a special reason for sadness, especially when it is remembered that both facilities were the site of major farm equipment developments during their history.

In visiting the Allis-Chambers plant at West Allis, Wisconsin, we watched the news release of the impending sale to Deutz come off the ticker tape on March 28th. While it seemed to be widely discussed in the farm implement business that some sort of deal was imminent, the final verdict as coming over the wire gave this writer an eerie feeling to say the least.

This past month has brought in a large number of letters, but so far we haven't had any comments regarding a possible listing of proper paint colors. Let us hear from you in this regard. Possibly we can compile a listing that might be of some help in engine and tractor restoration.

20/3/1 Q. In a letter from Massey-Ferguson Ltd., we are told that the engine shown here was built by Briggs & Stratton. These were supplied to Massey-Harris as required, but records indicate the Model 'S' was first sold by M-H in 1946. However, the nameplate on this engine says 'Made in Canada.' Can anyone tell us who actually made this engine? Also please see enclosed photograph of our Type X OilPull tractor. We need to know the original steel blue color. Also would like to know why three different serial numbers appear on the engine, and why this one uses a late style air cleaner? Ray Hudson, Box I, Site 2, RR 3, Coronation, Alberta, ToC ICo Canada.

A. We have heard some discussion of the steel blue color for the late-model OilPull recently. One of Rumely's old employees told us that the company was able to buy a large amount of this color at a bargain price, thus the change from green to gray. Regarding the various serial numbers and discrepancies of various features, we are told that after Allis-Chalmers bought out Rumely in 1931, they did in fact build up as many tractors as possible from the remaining parts originally designated for several different variations of the ordinary production-line models.

20/3/2 Q. We need help on paint color, age, and other information on a Coldwell Model H mower complete with one-cylinder water-cooled engine. The casting is stamped with the following patent dates: Sept. 4, 1012; Dec. 31, 1912; May 11, 1915; Truman D. Jingst, RR I, Box 67, Ewing. MO 63440.

A. We do not have sufficient information to give an accurate color scheme, but have determined the following patent information: The following patents were all issued to William H. Coldwell, Newburgh, New York: 1,039,499, Lawn Mower, 9/24/1912; 1,048,498 and 1,048,499 covering Motor Lawn Mowers issued 12/31/1912. 1,138,730, Motor Lawn Mower, 5/11/1915.

20/3/3 Q. We have discovered an old single-cylinder upright engine of two-cycle design. There are no markings on the engine, but the top of the water pump is inscribed: M. L. Oberdorfer, Syracuse, New York. Morris Stehman, 517-12th St., Greeley, CO 80631.

A. Without a photograph, we are assuming this to be a marine engine design... the name on the pump indicates the name of the pump builder, and probably has nothing to do with the firm that actually built the engine. A photograph would be helpful.

20/3/4 Q. Need a pen pal to help me on a 5 HP Ottawa Log Saw Engine. Need help on making new wood pieces, along with color scheme etc. Call me collect after 9 PM at (904) 385-6676. Bob Burke, 775 Lakeshore Dr., Tallahassee, FL 32312.

20/3/5 Q. I have a 2 Flying Dutchman engine, no serial no. visible. It appears to be nearly identical to the Alamo 3 HP engine on page 18 of American Gas Engine. We need information on the trip mechanism, governor linkage, and magneto used for this engine. Rich Howard, Hysham, MT 59038.

A. The Webster Master Manual lists Alamo as the actual builder of Flying Dutchman engines, with the latter title being one derived by Moline Plow Company, and used on their entire implement line for a number of years. Webster also lists their AK magneto with an A303K18-A base for the 2, 3, and 4 HP Alamo engines. Our guess is that this base will fit the Flying Dutchman as well.

20/3/6 Q. We just purchased a Model BI-7 and A BI-6 Graham-Paige rototiller. Although we understand that parts are available, we need to locate the company handling parts for the above machines. Joseph W. Gorski, 502 Lake Street, Waukesha, WI 53186.

20/3/7 Q. We are concerned about heavy rust inside the water hopper on one of our engines. Any suggestions? John Heasley, 190 Paragon, Troy, Michigan 48098.

A. First it is necessary to determine whether the problem is rust or lime. The latter can be removed several ways. A rather dangerous method is by the use of a dilute solution of sequestered muriatic acid. Sequestered acid is often used to de-lime boilers and condensers. Engines that were cooled with alkali water or worse yet, with an anti-freeze solution of water and calcium chloride are often found to be deeply pitted and rusted. We have found the best method is to take the cylinder to an automotive shop and let them dip it in their hot tank overnight to thoroughly de-lime and de-rust the interior. After thorough drying, a high-grade metal primer should minimize the problem.

20/3/8 Q. In the Jul/Aug 1983 issue of GEM, page 14 you ran a picture of an engine later identified to be from a 1908-1911 Schacht High-Wheeler automobile. We now have located a carburetor, but have yet to figure out the lubrication system and to make an intake manifold. Bill Stone, 383 S. Main St., Cohasset, MA 02025.

20/3/9 Q. We need to paint a 1948 Minneapolis-Moline 'R' tractor and have problems obtaining the proper shade of 'prairie gold'. There seems to be some question that the older tractors used a darker shade of yellow than was used on later versions. DuPont has a M-M prairie Gold No. 006 and an M-M orange No. 020. We are told the 020 color is the darker of the two. Which of these colors is correct, and when did M-M change to a lighter color? Also can someone suggest where to purchase the exact colors? Lloyd A. Merchant, 4310 Smith Road, Dimondale, MI 48821

20/3/10 Q. What year was a Rumely wood thresher built, Serial Number 18925? Marvin Johansen, Wakonda, SD 57O73.

A. Rumely Parts Book No. 24 lists this thresher as being built in 1919.

20/3/11 Q. Here's a 1938 working photograph of an old lawn mower we recently acquired. We are now restoring it, so need any information you can give us. Manor S. Carter, 30 Rte. 340, Sparbill, NY 10976.

A. This one looks like an Ideal. Several questions were posed on the Ideal in recent issues of GEM, so hopefully, new data will be coming across our desk.

20/3/12 Q. Where can we obtain cork to make new floats for the Schebler carburetors? Are there other materials that we might use? Tom Crozier, RRI, Ailsa Craig, Ontario NoM IAO Canada.

A. Here's one we would like answers to!!! Although we have a precious little block cork on hand for the purpose, it is slowly dwindling away, with almost no hope of acquiring a new supply. Surely there are some space age materials that can be substituted for the original cork float!

20/3/13 Q. We need information on the following: Fairbanks-Morse engine, Patents 472,I06, 1892; 477, 295, 1802; 542, 043, 1895; 582, 620, 1897; 582, 652, 1897; 630, 624, 1898; 684, 663, 1901. Our engine has the hot tube AND igniter and is fueled by natural gas. It is of vertical design. Also need information on a Bean Spray Pump engine #582, 2 HP, resembles a Witte. Earl Jones, RR 1, Box 144, Farmington, WV 26571.

A. Detailed information regarding the development of Fairbanks-Morse engines may be found in the Reflector's Power in the Past, Volume 2 covering Fairbanks, Morse & Co. Several reprint catalogs and instruction manuals are also available in this regard. New information keeps coming in on the Bean Spray Pump engines, but as yet we have been unable to organize this material into a progressive history of the company's product line.

20/3/14 Q. We have a Leader 4 HP engine built by Field Force Pump Co., Elmira, NY. According to American Gas Engines, the Leader name was used only by companies at Dayton, Ohio and Decatur, Illinois. Can you please clarify this? We also need information on the original color of the above engine, plus we would like to hear from someone with one of these engines. R. H. Williamson, Route 5, Box 175, Quakertown, PA 18951.

A. At the time American Gas Engines was published we were unaware of the 'Leader' designation for the above engine. Since our book had to be built 'from the ground up' it is entirely possible that there were in fact, other companies using this trade name. Most of our data was gleaned from endless perusal of trade magazines, early books, and product literature, so it is likely that a substantial number of companies were missed entirely by our research.

20/3/15 Q. We have a small tractor about the size of a John Deere 'L' but ours is called a Harvey Power-Flex, Model 10. This is the only name on it, and there is no manufacturer's plate. It is assembled partially from Ford parts, especially the steering, transmission, differential, and rear brakes from the late 1930's or early 1940's. It uses a Clinton one-cylinder 10 HP engine which appears to be original. It is painted orange. Any information? Marvin L Proctor, 1326 E. Third, Pratt, KS 67124.

A. A check of Millard's Implement Directory and Farm Implement News' Buyer's Guide during the late '30's and early '40's gives not a single clue as to the origins of this machine. Perhaps our readers can give us a hand on this one.

20/3/16 Q. We have a Witte headless engine, 2 HP, S/N 55224. We need the proper paint color, year built, and other information or literature on this model. Russ Craig, Box 27354, Concord, CA 94527.

A. Discussion of the proper shade of green for Witte engines still continues. We believe it closely approximates DuPont Dulux 93-77161 or 93-72001-H green. Both of these are very dark green with a bluish cast. To go slightly more to a bluish cast, the next logical step would be 93-94125-H green. Perhaps some of our readers can help out further on giving a more or less definite color scheme.

20/3/17 Q. First of all, what are the proper paint colors for the Cushman Cub, Cushman Type X, Model 21, and the Cushman Model C engines? Referring to the George Massinger engines on the back cover of the Jan-Feb 1985 issue of GEM, we question the rarity of the Cushman engines illustrated there, especially since we have seen several of these at auctions and in private collections during recent months. The model 21, Type X uses an oiler and places the spark plug above the carburetor. Also the flywheel hub on this engine uses two reinforcing ribs between the hub and the flywheel disc, while the Cushman Cub uses an ordinary concentric hub. Also, the Cub has a Wico magneto, while the Type X uses a battery and coil for ignition. Donald M. Kilmer, Route 1, Brady, NE 69123.

20/3/18 Q. I have a Dunn four-cycle, single-cylinder engine as illustrated on page 142 of American Gas Engines. Need to know the color scheme, and the style of carburetor used on this engine. May we hear from anyone with information on these engines? Richard P. Glass, 5812 E. 300 S., Hartford City, IN 47348.

20/3/19 Q. From F. L. Roof, Jr., 13188 STRT68 South, Kenton, OH 43326 comes this photograph and question: We believe from American Gas Engines that this engine is a Novo.

A. Page 351 of American Gas Engines does indeed illustrate a very similar model of the Novo 'Roller' Engine introduced about 1931. This unit made use of Timken roller bearings for the mains.

20/3/20 Q. Can anyone identify this engine? It came from an old silver mine in Tombstone, Arizona. It is of 43/8 x 6 inch bore and stroke with 24 x 21/8 inch flywheels. The only numbers are B46 cast on the connecting rod and B3155 stamped on the timing gear end of the crankshaft. Clarence A. Paulson, 2926 N. 16th Drive, Phoenix, AZ 85015.

20/3/21 Q. Can anyone supply us with information on a Western Electric Company that made sewing machines? We have a portable model that says 'Western Electric' both on the head and on the motor, but can find no other information. Ralph R. Look, 8006 Watson Lane, Wichita, KS 67207.

20/3/22 Q. Harvey Metzger, RR1, Box 19, Lang-don, ND 58249 writes that he is trying to build harness making machinery and needs to hear from anyone familiar with this art.

20/3/23 Q. Can anyone tell me how to adjust the governor linkage on the McCormick-Deering LB engines prior to assembly. It is very difficult to work on after the crankcase is assembled. Richard C. Vogt, 1713 E. Walnut, Enid, OK 73701

20/3/24 Q. What is the proper shade of red for the 'dishpan' Fairbanks-Morse engines? Tony Bizjak, 427 East Park, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

A. This question has been posed several times recently, and we still aren't sure of a matching number. If anyone has an answer, please let us know.

20/3/25 Q. What is the proper color and striping scheme for a i'/ HP Hercules of about 1915 vintage? Also the same question for a Novo 3 HP of about 1922 or 1923? Robert k. Ashcraft, RR 2, Box 358, Mannington, WV 26582.


A large number of items have come in regarding earlier questions. We have always believed this .idea would work, and that in fact, GEM could serve a very valuable purpose in collecting and disseminating the specific data required by thousands of engine and tractor collectors. The idea IS working, and with your continued support it will continue to work!

J. Arnold, 6510 Panton St., Killride, Ontario LOP 1G0 Canada writes regarding 20/1/19 that this is indeed a Jacobson vertical engine. Also enclosed is a nameplate tracing for our Essex engine. We would appreciate any information on this engine.

Kinsinger Engine Service, Meyers-dale, PA 15552 writes that they have a Famous Jr. Vertical hopper cooled engine. It was originally blue, and they repainted it with MS-100 royal blue.

Since there was considerable original paint left, they feel they have an accurate color match. We have not determined the paint manufacturer for the above color number however. Perhaps we will have this information for the next issue.

Regarding 20/2/51, we learn from Skip Cleveland, 301 Nesbitt St. N.E., Palm Bay, FL 32907 that Texaco Marfak Heavy Duty 3 grease will work perfectly in an old engine. It is a short fiber grease that will not sling out like many modern grease products. Mr. Cleveland obtained his from Crown Petroleum, 1322 E. University Blvd., Melbourne, FL. ph. (305) 723-8424. Also, for removing rusted parts, use spray bomb PB Blaster from the William K. Westler Co., Rocker River Marine & Automotive Manufacturing Chemists, 4795 Briar Road, Cleveland, OH 44135. Mr. Cleveland does not recommend using the new types of grease on today's market.

Question 20/2/S3 regarding the Mietz &. Weiss engines brought several helpful letters, including a large amount of photocopy material from Prince Stevens & Sons, Route 1-A, Gardiner, Maine 04345. Mr. Stevens describes himself as being 'ecstatic' over his ownership of a Mietz &. Weiss engine. We heartily concur! Mr. Herbert R. Savage, RR 1, Box 57, Baltic, CT also sent in some data regarding these engines, as did several other individuals.

The lubricant question also got a boost from Mr. John B. Mulford Jr., Box 106, Upper Lake Road, Lodi, NY 14860. He writes that No. 2 cup grease from Fiske Bros. Refining Co., Newark, NJ works quite well. Also some grades of water pump grease work good. Mr. Mulford also suggests the use of 600w steam cylinder oil because of its 'sticking' ability. Another great product is the semi-white oil made by Lubriplate.

On Question 20/2/26 comes the first plausible answer we have seen regarding the serial number of John Deere Type E engines. Mr. Ken Robison, 20531 Black Road, Los Gatos, CA 95030 writes that in correspondence with Deere &. Company several years ago he learned the following: The first two digits of the number represent the year of manufacture, with the third digit, or the third and fourth digits representing the month of that year. Thus, S/N 239801 would have been built in September, 1923. The Reflector would like to hear from other collectors to see if this analogy is correct.

Walt Nieland, RR 2, Carroll, IA 51401 also writes with similar comments regarding the age identification on John Deere engines using the first two digits of the serial number. Several other writers have given some comments regarding the various minor design changes as well. Perhaps with some more input we will be able to assemble this data into usable form.

Regarding 20/2/2S on rotary engines, Wm. C. Kuhl, Sebewaing, MI writes that Nordberg built radial gas engines as late as I960, and installed 242 of these 3,200 horsepower units at the Alcoa Aluminum Plant, Point Comfort, Texas.

On 20/1/9, Charles W. Roback, Box 276, inland, NE 68954 writes that he bought one of these engines used in about 1950. It was originally sold by Montgomery-Ward, but was built by Fairbanks-Morse.

Tom Melville, regarding 20/2/12 sends extensive photocopy material on Allied Motors Corporation. Among this material is a communication to Mr. Edsel Pierce, 6133 E. 300 N., Craigville, IN 46731. Standard Engine Company of Minneapolis apparently built Twin, Monarch, Twin Convertible, and Walsh garden tractors simultaneously.

Gene L. Brandt, N. Rte. 228, Nashua, MT 59248 has forwarded several descriptive items on the Delco Light plants; also some descriptive material of the Tiny Tim air-cooled engines as built by Continental Motors Corporation. Mr. Brandt notes that his 1923 Fordson has a governor attachment that drove off the camshaft at the timer end. It is about 14 inches tall and goes straight up from the end of the camshaft. Can anyone tell him what was used on the top of this attachment for ignition. The stator is not in the flywheel magneto assembly, so apparently it used some sort of magneto or distributor.


Although a great amount of correspondence has come in for this issue, not a single letter has been received so far regarding model Corliss engine patterns. Perhaps no one has gotten into this endeavor up till now.

The large amount of photocopied and original material that has come in during the past few months has been gratifying indeed. Much of this material will be very useful in answering future questions as they are presented.

During the next few weeks the Reflector will be finishing work on the Nebraska Tractor Tests, and hopefully the completed book will be available late this year. To our knowledge, this will be the first time ALL the Nebraska Tractor Tests have ever been assembled and illustrated in a single volume. The so-called 'materials gathering phase' of an Allis Chalmers history is now in the works. Present plans call for an extensive section on Rumely products as well. More on this subject in future issues.

The purpose of the Reflections column is to provide a forum for the exchange of all useful information among subscribers to GEM. Inquiries or responses should be addressed to: REFLECTIONS, Gas Engine Magazine, P.O. Box 328, Lancaster, PA 17603.