A Brief Word

Gas engine generator

36/6/11 A

Content Tools

Q. Enclosed are pictures of a gas engine generator which I purchased at an antique store in Valley City, North Dakota, this year. I have found no manufacturer's nameplate or a hint of other identifying marks. I would like any information on this genset, such as: voltage output, manufacture and date, possible parts supply, color and operating instructions. Harlan Terms, 5335 Fairhill Road, Bismarck, ND 58503. 701-220-7665; e-mail:


36/2/15 Clem Te Bow wrote to tell us that the picture shown in 36/2/15 is a piston vise. 'It holds most automotive and industrial pistons up to about 6 inches in diameter. It was used on a bench to assemble rods and pistons, in a mill or drill press to do machine work. The one shown was probably made in the early 1900s and think they are still made in some form today.'

Traxler Tractor

Robert Jessup of P.O. Box 118, Clarcona, FL 32710 wrote in response to the photo and caption on the Traxler 'Bread Winner' that appeared on page 29 of our April Issue: 'The story on the Traxler leads me to believe they were describing an internal combustion engine. However, the photo makes me think it is a steamer. The pipes from the valves maybe carry steam to the top of two cylinders? This must have been a heller to steer! I've researched every book on old tractors and manufacturers that I can find and no luck on any Traxler. Perhaps someone else has turned up more data on this unusual tractor?

35/8/8 In response to Mr. Sundeen's query about the Cushman Cub color, it is so that most were gray, but some were other colors. A while back, I acquired an R-14 2 HP sold by Sears under the Farm Master logo. It is red, like Economy. It is a rather modern type (30s-40s?). It is in very good condition.

I have a ten year collection of GEMs. Nowhere have I seen anything on the Fuller & Johnson AH (radiator cooled single) except the query I made back in '95, I believe. Are there any F&J AH's out there, or are they forgotten and unmentioned? The one I have turns freely and the mag fires hot. With the exception of a missing fuel tank and rust on the dog house, it's in fairly good shape. The radiator has a big plug of JB weld on the core, so it may need a recore job (beyond the range of my piggy at this time).T. J. Shipman, R-2 Box 371-12, Buchannon, WV 26201.

Lathe Response

In several columns, Mr. Wendel has discussed old lathes in his Closing Word. We heard this month from Ed Hobbs of 4417 Inwood Road, Raleigh, NC 27603, ( who collects antique tools (primarily woodworking tools) in addition to tractors and engines:

'One of my main areas of interest is foot powered tools. While not a mainstream area of interest, I find these machines to be beautiful, very functional and mechanically efficient. Most of my foot powered equipment is for woodworking as there were many more saws and lathes made for wood as compared to metal lathes.

'The metal working lathe (RW-1) was made by Seneca Falls and was a Star brand. It had an eleven inch swing and 36 inches between centers. This one was missing part of the treadle unit which is very common. An old Century electric motor made in the teens was being used to power the unit. I was able to borrow the original parts that were missing and have them recast. I plan to get it fully restored and then will be able to use it with either foot power or electric power. While the lathe was missing some of the treadle parts, all of the attachments including the gears for thread cutting were found with the lathe. She is sweet to run and still works very well.

'The other lathe (RW-2) is an example of a wood lathe. It was made by W. F. & John Barnes and is known as a #3. Barnes was a competitor of Seneca Falls and also made a full line of metal lathes. The #3 uses a bicycle type of power known as 'Velocipede.' Foot powered wood working tools were noted for very decorative pin striping which shows in this picture.

'At present I have about 20 different pieces of foot powered equipment and can go on and on about it. In demonstrating at historic sites and similar events, it always draws a crowd. A lot of people can't believe that the stuff was actually used in commercial wood working shops. The smaller 'hobby' versions of saws and lathes were very popular as well with literally many, many thousands made. Today, as you know, they are getting very hard to find as the vast majority of them were discarded when electricity became available in the 1920s and 1930s. The war scrap metal drives also took a very heavy toll. Preserving these is very important to me as it is a key part of our past.'

Closing Word

We all look forward to Mr. Wendel's return to the helm of this column, which should occur in the July issue! If you have sent us a letter recently, and haven't yet seen it in print, please be patient. We have a bit of a backlog now, but that should clear up in the months ahead. We find that once show season begins (and that is about now!) our readers spend more time out operating engines than asking questions about them! Nonetheless, our new e-mail system has brought us more queries, and we are grateful for them. Enjoy yourself and remember, safety first!