Reflections

Readers' Engine Questions

Fairbanks-Morse Single-Cylinder Engine

Content Tools

A Brief Word

Many of you have asked about C. H. Wendel's recovery since his stroke last May, and if he'll be coming back to these pages. Charles' recovery is coming along well, and he says he's looking forward to returning to his regular duties at GEM once he's back in form. We're hoping that will be at some point late this spring.

On that note, Charles makes a brief appearance this issue, answering a reader's question about a rare model of Fairbanks-Morse single-cylinder engine. So rare, in fact, it didn't make it into Wendel's exhaustive history of Fairbanks-Morse engines, Fairbanks-Morse, WO Years of Engine Technology. We'll start with that query and Charles' response:

38/3/1: Unknown Fairbanks-Morse Q: I have recently acquired a Fairbanks-Morse vertical diesel engine. It has 10 HP and 1,200 rpm stamped on the nameplate, which further identifies it as a Model 36A 4-1/4 S. The engine appears to have originally been sold through Dixie Mill Supply Co., Port Allen, La. I am looking for information about this engine, such as what was it used for, how many were made, the year it was made, what color it should be, etc. Charles Klein, 104 Gall Road, Columbia, IL 62236, (618)281-5064, ore-mail: klein@htc.net

C. H. Wendel Responds: The 36A was one I missed. It didn't show up on the Fairbanks-Morse master list, so I assumed the model number was never used. Later on I discovered I was wrong, and I now have some information on the Model 36. We know that very few were made, and those were during the early days of World War II. Production probably ended due to the war. The Model 36 was made in one-, two-, three-, four-, six-, and eight-cylinder models. It could be mounted on skids, steel wheels, rubber tires, or a motor truck. The one-, two- and three-cylinder sizes could be furnished with a hand crank. All others were air or electric start.

38/3/2: Universal Motor Co. Q: I live in Australia, where I collect and restore antique engines and equipment. My latest acquisition is a rare DC generator. It is fairly bulky in comparison to Australian- or English-built generators. The identification plate reads:

Made for Universal Motor Co., Oshkosh, Wis., volts: 40; rpm: 975; serial 5855; by Kurz & Root Co., Appleton, Wis.

Naturally, I would like to know the approximate date of manufacture and anything else about the unit. Kurz & Root is not listed in the telephone directory for Appleton or the surrounding area. However, Wendel's American Gas Engines Since 1872 includes a brief review of the Universal Motor Co. and Associate Universal Manufacturing. Unfortunately, no dates are mentioned.

I would appreciate any information as to the year of manufacture of this generator. John W. Stanley, 73 Blandford St., The Grange 4051, Brisbane Australia.

A: It's not at all clear who might have made your engine. The Universal Motor Co., Oshkosh, Wis., incorporated in 1913 and was itself a spin-off from the Termatt (variously spelled 'Termatt' and 'Termaat') & Monahan Co. of Oshkosh. Termatt & Monahan evidently started manufacturing small stationary engines in the late 1890s, and by 1906 the company was building light plants and pumps. What's confusing here is the nameplate's reference to Kurz & Root, a company we've never heard of. We'd suggest looking at the pictures of Termatt & Monahan engines in Wendel's book to see if there's any similarity. It's always possible Kurz & Root was a subcontractor for Termatt & Monahan.

38/3/3: Pony Tractor

How can I find out more about this oversized pedal tractor? It has a small Fairbanks-Morse gas engine for power and a double belt for the drive. I would estimate it was made back in the late 1940s or early 1950s. It has a metal manufacturing tag under the seat on the left side. It has motor number 374, serial number 409074 and was made in Lincoln, Neb. by the Pony Tractor Co. Inc. Someone lost the steering wheel and put on a little lawn mower wheel. Does anyone have any information about this toy tractor? Paul Schaffert, R.R. 1, Box 157, Indianola, ME 69034, (308) 364-2607, or e-mail: info@schaffert. com