Lauson Military Engine


Alan Torkelson

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Rumor mills are always busy, and a new one seems to be afoot. Several readers have called us asking about a rumor that GEM is quitting business! Apparently some of this rumor is a result of computer problems at GEM. This past autumn, the folks at GEM changed over to an entirely different computer system. The result has been that some subscribers haven't received their copies of GEM on time, and some may not have received their copies at all. If you have been thus affected, by all means write to GEM at Box 328, Lancaster, PA 17603 at once! GEM is certainly not going out of business, and it is the intent of Steam gas Publishing that every single subscriber receive every issue. Be sure to let them know exactly which issues you haven't received. In talking with the folks at GEM, they have told us that the computer changeover was indeed the nightmare they were afraid of, and in some cases, even worse. Again, we emphasize, that if your copies have not been received, let them know at once!

Ye olde Reflector has been using a computer for over ten years now, and as computer users know, these electronic marvels can also be a royal pain in the elbow at times. The simple fact is that, without the computer, we would be unable to produce nearly as much material as we do now, despite the occasional glitch. Likewise, GEM and other publications would be far more expensive to produce were it not for the computer. For example, subscription lists were formerly kept on individual file cards, and each mailing label was punched out by hand on a metal Addressograph plate. By comparison, the computer automatically keeps track of subscriptions, and is able to spit out a set of labels in a matter of minutes. So, if you have an occasional problem due to the computer, bear in mind that without it, each issue of GEM would be substantially more expensive to produce.

Until the 1890s, everything that was published was done with hand-set type, one letter at a time. This included newspapers too! Along came Mergenthaler with his Linotype, and whole lines were cast with his amazing machine. It put a great many typesetters out of a job. All was well until the 1950s when the change was begun to offset presses. This eliminated the need for the Linotype, and it wasn't long until a $6,000 Linotype machine could be bought for scrap metal prices. All sorts of high-priced phototypesetters were built in the following years, and now we are in the midst of a changeover to desktop publishing that permits complete composition of the printed page on a computer terminal. Scanners now permit an operator to pick up an image and place it directly on a screen where it is digitized, bit-mapped, or whatever, and finally ends up on a press plate. Chances are that what we see as state-of-the-art technology today will soon become obsolete.

Hasn't this been the case with virtually all technology? Look at the development of the internal combustion engine a century ago. From the huge cast iron machines of decades ago, we now have aluminized, anodized, case hardened, and heat treated engines with electronic ignition and fuel injection. To reiterate, if you are having problems in getting your regular issues of GEM, drop them a line so that they are aware of the difficulty and everything can be straightened out!

We begin this issue with:

27/3/1 Alpha/De Laval Colors Q. In the October 1991 GEM the question was raised concerning the proper colors for the Alpha engines. 1 have a color brochure that illustrates it in an odd shade of green. Any further information will be appreciated. John E. Wiebe, 911 W. 4thSt., Newton, KS 67114.

A. Hopefully, we'll be able to get a good color match soon.

27/3/2 Sandwich Engine Q. I have a Sandwich engine, 11/2 HP, s/n AB32189. Can anyone tell me when this engine was made? Louis Remchuk, 105 E. Morris St., Bath, NY 14810.

A. We don't know of any serial number records on Sandwich engines; however, Sandwich got into the engine business about 1916 and continued with the 11/2 HP model for ten or fifteen years.

27/3/3 Lauson Military Q. See the photo of a small Lauson Type RSC-412058, No. A54375. This engine was built to military specs, with shielded ignition, wired bolt heads, and deep oil sump. 'Hot - Do Not Touch' is painted on the front, and part of what appears to be a propane carburetor is present. Can anyone supply information on propane carburetors and on small military engines in general? Alan Torkelson, Box 281, Kerkhoven, MN 56252.

A. If anyone can help, contact Mr. Torkelson.

27/3/4 Johnson Utilimotor Q. See the photo of a Utilimotor made by Johnson Motor Co. I have never seen one before. It has magneto problems that I'm not sure can be fixed. Can anyone supply information on this engine or the ignition system? Harvey C. Worthington, 810 S. New St., West Chester, PA 19380.

A. The Utilimotor appears occasionally, but we wouldn't say these engines are plentiful by any means. We would suppose that the ignition system can be repaired, and perhaps someone can provide the necessary information.

27/3/5 Elgin Haf-a-Hors John Bates, 13 Riley Ave., West Pennant Hills 2125 New South Wales, Australia writes that he has one of these engines, although it is missing some parts. Information is also needed on this engine. John also sent along some photocopied photographs of an unidentified engine, but they wouldn't reproduce, so we'll have to wait for some glossy photos. If you can be of help to Mr. Bates, kindly do so.

27/3/6 Pal Conversion Q. See the two photos of a 'PAL' tractor conversion kit. It looks a good deal like a Thieman conversion, however, on the front yoke (pedestal) the word 'PAL' is cast into it. It seems to be designed for a channel frame. The previous owner thought it was a Thieman. It appears to have a 1929 Chevrolet rear end on it. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Ed Sharp, Rt. 2, Box 85, Spencer, NE 68777.

A. None of our references indicate this particular make, so if you can be of help, let us know.

27/3/7 Galloway Etc. Q. See the photo of a Galloway engine. I have a friend with a 1910 Galloway of 5 HP. He has the original sale bill dated 191O. My Galloway has a serial number of about two thousand numbers less. Can we assume that this engine would then have been built in 1909 or 1910? Also see Photo 7B of a 1935 Monitor pump jack built by Baker Mfg. Co. in 1935. Gary Montgomery, Box 22, Winslow, 1L 61089.

A. It might be logical to assume that your Galloway is a few months earlier than the 5 HP model you mentioned. However, we don't know the numbering system that Galloway used. It could have been purely consecutive, and if so, your assumption would be correct. If, however, Galloway used a system like the Witte, where the numbers were issued in random order, then the situation could be somewhat different.

27/3/8Corliss Gas Engine Q. See the photos of a Corliss Gas Engine built in San Francisco, California. It is a 6 HP, with a s/n of 1540. The ignition and cooling circulation systems are missing. I acquired this engine in the town of Craig, Alaska on the Prince of Wales Island. It might have been used in a cannery in the early part of the century. If anyone can provide any information on this engine, please contact: Norman L. Krontz, 9428 171st Ave. NE, Redmond, WA 98052.

27/3/9 Big 4 Pumper Verne Kindschi, RR 1, Prairie du Sac, WI 53578 is making plans for the Great Fuller & Johnson Reunion this summer. (Reservations are going fast, so if you plan to attend this one-time only affair, better get cracking.) Anyway, Verne needs photos and information on the Big 4 Pumper engine built by Fuller & Johnson. If you can supply any photos or information on this engine model, please contact Verne at once.

27/3/10 Hocking Valley Sheller Q. See the photo of a restored 'Improved Hocking Valley' corn sheller. I acquired it two years ago and shell com at shows. Any information on this sheller would be greatly appreciated. Pete Willett, 223O S. Slem-mer Rd. 43, Oak Harbor, OH 43449-0000.

A. Ye olde Reflector has one of these shellers, and we too have never seen any advertisements or literature on this particular machine.

27/3/11 Unknown Lawn Mower Q. See the photo of a 'Mow-Cycle' that I acquired about 1960-65. There is no blade height adjustment. The rear wheel is the same as a wheelbarrow. The front wheels are hard rubber tires. This mower now belongs to my grandson who is ten years old, jared Aden of Willard, Wisconsin. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Donald R. Aden, 10422 Hwy H, Marshfield, W l 54449.

27/3/12 Unleaded Gasoline Many times I hear of people concerned about unleaded gasoline in their old engines. Go to your local small airport, buy five gallons of 80 or 1.00 octane aircraft fuel. It is loaded with lead. The 100 octane has about eight times the lead that the 80 octane has. Myself, I buy the 80-87, and mix about one fourth of this to unleaded auto fuel. The old engines seem to love it. Charles Bemus, 1058 Backus Rd., Derby, NY 14047.

27/3/13 Info Needed Q. Can anyone provide sources of information for identifying and restoring small engines such as Briggs & Stratton and Lauson? John Chrisman, Accuracy Services, 443 Westmoreland Dr., Stephens City, VA 22655.

A. There are numerous publications that might be of help, including the Notebook which the Reflector assembled last fall. However, specific product information is not always easy to obtain.