Although this particular column is being drafted in late March, by the time it is in print, Spring will be here to stay, and with it the annual revival of the gas engine and tractor hobby. For those fortunate enough to live in warmer climates, cold weather is no great deterrent. The Reflector, writing from east-central Iowa, reports with no hesitation that so far as Iowa winters go, the one just past was indeed a long-term affair. The snow which came the Sunday after Thanksgiving never left until Spring even a brief January thaw failed to get rid of it! Now for the glorious days of summer and a host of nice engine shows!
Among this month's mail is a letter indicating some displeasure with ye old Reflector. This dissatisfaction boils down to the writer noting that 'in my opinion, (Mr. Wendel) does more advertising for his books than answering questions.' The letter goes on to state that 'most of his answers are asking other readers to help out or to say that the info is in a particular book. His plea to readers to send in any paint charts will probably result in another book instead of answering questions in the column.' Since this letter from a California reader was signed, we feel obligated to respond.
First of all, the Reflector makes every attempt to refrain from boosting the cause of any supplier in the column, whether it be a regular advertiser, or an occasional one. The sole purpose of referring to American Gas Engines or Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors, among others is for the information of our readers. Believe it or not, the fact that the Reflector authored several of these titles, as well as this column is purely coincidental. So far as internal combustion engines go, and particularly those on the American scene, American Gas Engines Since 1872 is to our knowledge the only historic encyclopedia of these engines in print. To NOT use it as a reference for the benefit of our readers would be ludicrous.
Now to the point of the Reflector 'asking other readers to help out.' One of the first lessons we learned about this most interesting hobby is that there is so much to know about the thousands of American engine builders that we make no claim at all about knowing a whole lot! Even when speaking of well-known companies such as International Harvester, there remains a lot of material that has never been covered. In fact where Harvester is concerned, their Archives alone occupy a major portion of an entire floor at the 401 North Michigan address in Chicago. Thus it was very difficult indeed to compress even a small portion of this data into a single 416 page book as we did in 150 Years of International Harvester. To state our case another way, many of the basic questions regarding internal combustion engines have already been answered in our own and in other books. It's the elusive ones we see now questions like the origins of the T. W. Phillips engine, or the Spence, Smith & Kootz engines. Virtually the only chance of finding ANY information on these companies is from someone locally familiar with them .. . we have no choice but to appeal to our readers for help!
Another problem for us is that despite a sizeable research library, we often do not have any information on a particular engine or tractor that would be of help, and this despite a library of thousands of books, plus many files on specific companies. To sum up our 'appeal to readers for help', we're doing the best we can with what we have.
The final point of this letter to the Reflector notes that 'his plea to readers to send in any paint charts will probably result in another book instead of his answering the question in the column.' In response, we feel obligated to tell you that objective criticism is a major part of the territory for a writer. Over the years our books have gotten some good reviews, and some not so good. Likewise, in meeting people at the shows, speaking engagements, and other activities, we have learned a great deal about what people like and do not like in a particular book. However, the Reflector's interpretation of the above quote seems to indicate that the writer feels that the Reflector is riding an instant money train at the expense of the hobby. Sometime ago we noted within this column that once we had enough information together, this data would be published by GEM, either as a booklet or as part of a regular magazine issue. Now wouldn't it be silly to keep a complete issue of GEM handy when looking for a paint scheme?, or would it make more sense to print the available data in booklet form so that it could be enlarged and revised from time to time? As we stated sometime ago, once the data is gathered, it will be turned over to GEM, and once they get it, the problem of how to accurately reproduce these colors comes up. So you see, the plea for information on paint colors is real, and beyond that, the Reflector won't get much out of it either except for the satisfaction of getting the job done.
A final point: Each year we meet thousands of people. Additionally, we get hundreds of letters complimenting us on our books, and especially on the 'Reflections' column. Then there are a few who somehow manage to intimate that being a writer somehow commutates instant success and a parallel move into 'big money.' Speaking from personal experience, the Reflector herewith tells one and all to forget any notions about making a pot full of money writing books on agricultural history! We'll concede that our books have brought in some shekels over the years, but if figured on an hourly basis for the time involved, there is probably more money to be made sweeping streets or washing dishes! In addition to several years of preparatory work, American Gas Engine since 1872 took over two years of steady work to complete! Much of this was done on the basis of ten hours per day, 6 days a week! Oh yes, and one more item try doing all this work, not knowing for sure whether you can get a publisher to accept your manuscript rejection letters are a fact of life for writers.
In closing, we certainly do not wish to alienate ANYONE, especially the GEM readers. The Reflector will continue to do the best possible job of answering your questions, even though doing so might at times require reference to various books or help from our readers.
Due to scheduling problems this month, the column is slightly shorter than usual, but here goes:
Q. Can you supply information on a Viking garden tractor (see photo). It was built by Allied Motor Corporation, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and uses a two-cylinder air cooled motor with a Wico Type A magneto. The engine has brass connecting rods with a plunger oil pump and tray lubrication system. The only nameplate gives a serial number of 309CF987. Any information such as age, proper color, and proper muffler and air cleaner would be appreciated. Mark G. Sergent, Box 626, Spencer, WV 25276.
A. The Farm Implement News Buyer's Guides indicate that the Viking from Allied was a short-term affair by the late 1930's, parts only were available from Standard Motor Parts of Minneapolis. The latter firm apparently acquired the remains of a good many companies Standard often appears as the parts source for various defunct manufacturers. Checking various issues of the FIN Tractor Field Book is no help either in identifying the engine or giving further details of the company. Whether this firm is a successor to the Allied Truck &. Tractor Corporation formed at Minneapolis in 1920 is also unknown.
Q. Clarence hammers, 40 Normandy Drive, Lake St. Louis, MO 63367 writes asking for more information on the Globe engine like the one pictured on page 23 of the March/April 1978 GEM.
A. Without a photo of your HP model it is difficult for us to provide the information you request. Our files are virtually bare on the Globe engines.
Q. Nick Jonkman, RR2, Wyoming, Ontario N0N IT0 Canada sends a photo of an IHC Booster engine owned by Allen Haugh, Brucefield, Ontario N0M 1J0. Although unrestored it appears to be in excellent condition, and a sketch of it is shown on page 132 of 150 Years of International Harvester.
A. As the IHC book indicates, these engines were built specifically for railroad handcar use, with production being rather limited. We look forward to seeing the restored engine!
Q. From Douglas Harding, RR3, More-field, Ontario N0G 2K0 Canada comes this query regarding a T. W. Phillips engine (see three adjacent photos). It weighs about 2 tons, has 5-foot flywheels, two-cycle design, and uses hot tube ignition. I believe it is called a half-breed because it is a steam engine frame with a gas engine cylinder attached. The s/n is B-403. Can anyone supply us with information about this company? I also need information about hot tube ignition as most of mine is gone. Would like to know the reason for the three equally spaced holes in the flywheel rim (see 21/6/4a.), and would also like to know which way the curved spokes should point.
A. We believe you are correct in stating that this engine is probably a 'half-breed' in that a gas engine cylinder has replaced the original steam cylinder, albeit on the original frame. Chances are that the governor was an ordinary flyball type like was probably used on the steam engine. The Reflector once was told that the curved flywheel spokes should point in the direction of rotation, that is the nearest flywheel in 21/6/4a would be correct for the top of the flywheel running forward toward the cylinder. Presumably this threw the stress toward the rim. Pages 21 and 22 of Gas Engine Guide, an informative little book available from GEM offers a lot of basic information on hot-tube ignition, and does it better than we could do within the confines of this column. So far as the Phillips concern, it might have been little more than a local shop with production limited to perhaps a few hundred units.
Q. Your publication American Gas Engines Since 1872 does not mention the firm of Spence, Smith & Kootz at Parkersburg, West Virginia. I have one of these engines with a 7 inch bore and stroke, hot tube ignition, and was used at the well with casing gas. Would like to find best method of fuel application for this engine; also the inertia-type governor that is on the half-time shaft. How it can possibly function as a control medium is very difficult to understand. Possibly one of your readers may know. Ted Bagosy, Box 3005, Bloomington, Illinois 61701.
A. Your engine is by no means the first one to NOT be included in American Gas Engines and undoubtedly will not be the LAST to miss inclusion. As we all know, many of the so-called engine manufacturers had in fact, a total production of ten or less engines some had but one or two. The Reflector's great-uncle for instance, built only two we were told they were excellent pumping engines, but neither one survived, so no one now living even knows what they looked like! Thus, we are sure that a great many 'engine builders' are yet to be discovered, and many more will never have the honor. Having studied things mechanical ever since boyhood, the Reflector still fails to understand pendulum or inertia governors completely, so any answers to this question lie with someone else. Ask about rebuilding the igniter for a Stickney and we could recite chapter and verse, but on the pendulum governor we profess gross ignorance. The firm of Spence, Smith &. Kootz is duly noted and will be added to our card file.
Bill Pixler, 318 N. Grant, Smith Center, KS 66967 would like to know the age of his Witte engine, 2 HP, s/n B36891.
Q. Jack Harrell, Box 142, Roanoke, IN 46783 writes: This is a SECOND TRY for any pictures, literature or information on a Pony garden tractor made in the 1950's by Pony Tractor Co., Lincoln, Nebraska.
A. As we indicated in an earlier column, a search of our data found nothing at all on the Pony, so if there is anything to be found, it will have to come from one of our readers. Good luck, and if you pick up any information let us know for the benefit of other readers.
Commenting on the A. D. Mast Company article that recently appeared in GEM, H. Rossow, Box 15, Weston, Idaho 83286 offers this comment: I think the statement that 'no stationary gas engines are being produced today' is wrong. Bell Mfg. Company, Box 1079, Bowie, TX 76230 makes a one-cylinder engine for use on oil wells. It is hopper cooled and looks very much like the old hit and miss engines. They are available in 7,12, and 24 horsepower sizes, and run on natural gas, propane, or LP-gas. Many of these engines can be seen on wells in Kansas, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Wyoming.
Q. L. E. Stevenson, 5N330 Petersdorf Road, Bartlett IL 60103 writes that their club has just acquired an old McCormick-Deering threshing machine minus the belts etc. They are looking for a place to get belts, instruction manuals, etc.
A. An instruction manual might be available from one of the 'old book dealers' that regularly advertise in GEM. We think this is the first priority, since from the manual it should be easy to see the belt arrangement, although you should be able to figure this out with a little study. After that, it's a matter of finding some belting and a belt lacer to make a new set.
Q. As a beginner to the gas engine hobby, I need to locate Instruction Manuals for an IHCm 3-5 HP LBB-66441 engine and for a Fairbanks-Morse Z Oil engine of 3 HP size, s/n 445514. I know I need some parts, and would also like some information on restoring them. Also have a Waukesha 4-cyl. engine in operating condition, and understand information and parts are still available. Darrell Hickman, 1503 E. Market St., Searcy, Arkansas 72143.
A. We suggest that first you send to various GEM advertisers for copies of their current catalogs, wherein we are sure you will find the information you need. Some advertisers also specialize in old engine parts, so this problem should be easy to solve. Another way to acquire parts is by attending some of the engine shows and swap meets around the country. Oftentimes the needed parts appear, and usually at a reasonable price. Some Waukesha parts are still available from automotive distributors, but we doubt that major parts would still be available. Welcome to our hobby, and good luck with your first projects!
Q. I have a Maynard 2 HP engine that appears to be in good shape. The problem is in setting up the timing. The igniter and wiring seem to be OK, but I have yet to hear the first 'pop'. Even with attending six or seven shows a year, no one seems able to help. Can you? Lowell F. Fitch, 60 Mallard Circle, Agawam, MA 01001.
A. We're not at all sure we can help! but we'll try. The old rule seems to be: if there's fuel, compression, and fire, the engine simply has to run. Now that oversimplifies things, but basically it is true. Let's assume you have good compression. Now let's assume that ignition is timed for top dead center or just slightly past TDC. These two things, together with fuel mean that it should fire. Does the fuel check valve work OK, and is fuel getting to the cylinder? Will it ignite if you prime it with gasoline? To illustrate what can happen a few years ago, one of my favorite engines absolutely refused to start, and I THOUGHT all the ingredients were there. However, I discovered after a lot of cranking, and perhaps some occasional profanities that from one summer to the next one of these very tight cobwebs had been spun inside the air intake, out of my sight. This thing apparently let the air through, but effectively strained out the fuel. Seeing a lot of surplus fuel at the air intake, I assumed the engine was getting fuel, but instead it was being stained out by the cobweb. After getting it dug out, everything was OK once again. How about the ignition? Many times the ignition appears OK on the bench but is almost nonexistent on the engine. Where low-tension igniters are involved, this could well be the source of your problem. The slightest binding of the igniter shaft, weak return springs, etc. can all cause problems. Tripping it on the bench is one thing, but when in place on the engine, there are stresses that we can't duplicate on the bench. Try pulling the piston out completely, then with a mirror check to see that there is fire when it is supposed to happen. The ignition coil may be sufficient for firing in the atmosphere, but is it sufficient to fire across the pressurized gap? Sometimes changing coils will help, other situations require a higher voltage, say 9 or 12 volts rather than 6 volts. Small motorcycle batteries work nicely dry cells don't have nearly the opacity. One other note on low-tension coils, short and fat coils always perform better than long, skinny ones. Thomas Edison demonstrated this a century ago. Let us know of your progress.
Q. Paul E. Saeger, 10054 Georgetown Ne, Louisville, OH 44641 inquires whether there is a national organization of gas engine and tractor organizations.
A. We don't know of any that function as a 'parent' or 'umbrella' organization, but of all the groups, Early Day Gas Engine &. Tractor Association undoubtedly has the largest following, with branches chartered in many states. Their president is Jack Versteeg, 1215 Jays Drive NE, Salem, OR 97303.
Q. Ken Irby, Box 15, Baker, OR 97814 poses some challenging questions:
1) Can you suggest the best book with data on track-type tractors?
2) Do you know of any company that makes exhaust manifolds for the Caterpillar 60 tractors?
3) Does anyone make the finned radiator tubes as used in the Caterpillar 60?
4) What is the best thing for freeing a seized engine, and what can be used to keep them from seizing?
A. 1. Several books are available on tractors generally but not much on tracklayers specifically. A number of years ago, Caterpillar published a historical book titled Fifty Years on Tracks. Unfortunately, these are now as scarce as hen's teeth.
2. While we know that deterioration of the Cat 60 exhaust manifolds is fairly frequent, we know of no one fabricating them.
3. Finding a supplier for the fin-tube material might be even more difficult than finding the exhaust manifold.
4. Mr. Irby notes that he has tried diesel fuel for freeing a seized engine, but it did no better than diesel conditioner and other items he has tried. We can tell you that diesel fuel is definitely NOT the thing to use to prevent seizing the sulfur, especially on aluminum pistons will have just the opposite effect, and you very might end up digging the piston out in little pieces! Whatever you use, we certainly do not recommend diesel fuel either for freeing an engine or for laying it up in storage! There seems to be no single best answer to freeing up a seized engine several months ago we had a series of comments on this subject, and there were as many answers as there were people sending them in. We believe that virtually all of the suggestions have some merit, but not all seem to fit each situation. However, we have a lot of faith in soaking up the engine for a week or so with Kroil or a similar penetrate, then filling the cylinder jacket with boiling hot water and subsequently placing a good sized piece of dry ice on the piston head. The expansion of the cylinder from the hot water and the contraction of the piston from the dry ice seem to be very effective. As a cautionary note be very careful in handling dry ice! To keep an engine from seizing, we simply use some lightweight non-detergent oil in ample quantities.
Q. We recently acquired a 5 HP engine built by Cook Motor Company, Delaware, Ohio. The engine is of vertical design with a 5 x 57/8 inch bore and stroke. Would like more information, including proper paint color. Also would like some idea of its rarity. Roger Mohling, 1023 Scott Street, Beatrice, NE 68310.
A. We believe the Cook engine is indeed rare, and except for a catalog reprint we have seen, little information seems to be available. Hopefully another reader has restored a Cook and can provide the necessary color information.
Q. I recently acquired a small yard tractor with the name Tiger Tractor cast into the metal on the front axle in raised letters. The steering wheel is of cast design and has the words Tiger Cub cast into two of the spokes. Any information will be appreciated. A. L. Patterson, 4853 Stagecoach Road, Ellenwood, GA 30049.
A. Looking through our materials yielded not a thing on the Tiger Cub. Hopefully, someone reading this column will recognize the name and provide the necessary data.
Q. Can you give me the paint colors for a Letz Junior No. 6 feed grinding mill? The mill has markings of Keystone Machine Co., York, Penn. on one side and Letz Mfg. Co., Crown Point, Ind. Also noted in 'Patented Oct. 24, 1911May 2, 1916Sept. 5, 1916Apri. 24, 1917. Any information will be appreciated. George Kazio, RD 1, Box 109, Muncy, PA 17756.
A. We may be incorrect, but we assume your mill might have followed the same general color scheme of orange and blue that characterized the later model Letz mills. However, we have no color illustrations so we cannot provide accurate color data. These mills, sold for many years by Deere &. Company, were well known. The patent dates mentioned would undoubtedly unearth some interesting sidelights, but a preliminary examination of the Patent Office Gazette indicates once again that the practice of burying a patent under some obscure title was at work. At least no entries appear for such subjects as 'Feed Grinding Mills' or 'Grinding Mills.' The specific patent might have referred to some isolated feature such as the thrust bearing arrangement.
Wayman Griggs, RR 2, Box 179A, Stewartsville, MO 64490 writes: I, W. Tim Griggs claim to have the only H. P. Nielson Company engine in the world, as listed on page 346 of American Gas Engines. Am hoping to dig up some information that you and I don't have. Will appreciate hearing from anyone having a Nielson engine, information, literature, etc.
The Reflector submits a couple photographs showing our latest acquisition, a six-cylinder Fairbanks-Morse engine. It is a Model 32, with six cylinders of 14 x 17 inch bore and stroke. Photo 21/6/20a shows two large cranes in position. They have just assumed the load, estimated to be about 55,000 pounds. Photo 21/6/20b illustrates the engine in its temporary resting place atop some 12-inch H-beams. Later this year we hope to move it to a new concrete foundation. The 2300 volt alternator, not shown in these photos, was built by Fairbanks-Morse. It is rated at 300 KVA which translates to a top load of 72.2 amps per phase at name-plate voltage. Total weight of engine and generator is estimated at 80,000 pounds. Unfortunately the old company records of this engine don't give us any specific weight for the various parts. Built under s/n 715532, it left the factory in October, 1928.
Fairbanks-Morse sold their generator division to Louis Allis Company some years ago. So far we have had no luck in finding the erection and operating manuals for the Type D alternator and the Type MX exciter. Would also like to hear from someone who can tell us where to secure the special dial indicator used to measure crank web deflection when aligning the engine. Having spent some time working in and around power plants we know that the best way to break the crankshaft is by not having it properly aligned. Sounds hard to believe that an 8-inch shaft would break, but misalignment of a few thousandths will practically guarantee it!
21/4/24Finding Serial Numbers on Farmall Regular and other models. A large number of replies came in on this question, and virtually all agree that the Regular had the serial number stamped on the top of the left hand frame rail between the pedestal and the radiator. Some writers noted that it might also appear farther back toward the flywheel housing. The engine number is stamped in the casting on the left side of the block, toward the front, about 3 inches under the manifold. This number will probably be higher, since some of the engines were pulled out of the line for stationary power units. A replacement engine would of course have a somewhat different number.
The F-20 and F-30 are also stamped on the left hand frame rail, but nearer to the flywheel housing.
The 10-20 and 15-30 styles have the number stamped in the casting under the belly of the tractor.
Thank for all the letters in this regard (Ed.)
On this subject, a letter from T. R. Ward, Jr., LoneOak Distributing Company, Box 55587, Jackson, MS 32916 states that in response to Mr. Huxley's inquiry, 'we are currently working on a directory similar to the one he mentioned. It will consist of cross-referenced listings of individuals, organizations, and museums, with a brief description of their interests.'
21/3/15 Lauson engine
The engine noted under this heading is a Lauson VA (air-cooled) model. It was also available as the Type VW (water-cooled). Many VW's were used with DeLaval milking machines. The hot jacket water was used for cleaning up the milking equipment. C. W. Colby, RD1, Box 199A, Monkeywrench Road, Greensburg, PA 15601.
A CLOSING WORD
As we noted earlier, this month's column has fewer questions because of scheduling requirements. Additionally, the number of inquiries is usually less during the summer months when reading time is replaced by hands-on experience. Those reading this column surely must tire of hearing it, but we say it once again Be Careful!
TIP OF THE MONTH
Paint brushes of NYLON bristles can be cleaned of old stiff paint by the following: Pour a whole can of Lewis Lye Drain Cleaner into an old 3 pound coffee can about 2/3ds full of water. Add a teaspoon of liquid detergent to the solution as a wetting agent. Stand the brushes in this mixture overnight and next day wash them out thoroughly, shake dry, and then wrap in some heavy paper to help get their shape back. Don't try this with old-style bristle brushes the next morning all that's left is the handle! Be very careful when using lye pour it into the water, and never pour water over the lye. Use a face mask and gloves, as it can cause severe burns.
Another tip some years ago, Allis-Chalmers recommended using a small amount of soluble oil in the tractor radiator to retard rust formation. It takes only a very small amount, costs very little, and seems to do the job.
Stemgas is pleased to note that Mr. Wendel has recently been honored by inclusion in the publications Who's Who In The Midwest, Men of Achievement (a British publication) and personalities in America. We congratulate him on these honors!
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.