Old-Time Electric Blasting Machine


Bob LaBell

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24/5/10 Ellis engine Q. Am sending along a photo of a 3 HP Ellis engine, s/n 1806. Would like to know more about this engine, including the color, type of cooling system, etc. Any information will be appreciated. Henry Groner, RR 1, Box 88, Berger, MO 63014.

A. The Ellis is illustrated in American Gas Engines, along with brief information on this style. We do not how ever, have any detailed information on Ellis. The cooling tank arrangement is however, illustrated in the above book.

24/5/11 Thompson-Breese Tractors Q. I live near Wapakoneta, Ohio and am extremely interested in learning more about the Thompson-Breese tractors built there. It is illustrated on page 258 of Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors. Any information on this company or its tractors will be greatly appreciated. Paul Fischer, RR 3, Box 173, Wapakoneta, OH 45895.

A. Except for some 1911 blurbs about Thompson-Breese, our research has never come across any further information on this company. Our guess is that they might have built a few tractors that were sold locally, and then again, they may never have gotten past the prototype model shown in the above book.

24/5/12 Painting engines Q. I have two engines to paint-a 1? HP Hercules and an 8 HP Economy. Please give the proper color match for these. What is the best method of cleaning off the rust-grinding, sanding, sandblasting? I have some XO-Rust paint, X014 Tractor Red and X06 Bright Red. Would either of these be too bright for the Economy? Tom Grube, Rotue 2, Box 44, Gallipolis, OH 45631.

A. As we have stated numerous times, paint colors usually were not blended 'to shade' during the production runs. Oftentimes the color varied considerably from one time to the next, depending on where they got the paint. We're of the opinion that DuPont 43060 Dempster Dumpster Green or 29761 Rex Chainbelt Green are mighty close for the Hercules, and we think that G8166 White Farm Equipment Red is fairly close on Economy.

So far as rust removal is concerned-there are various lines of thought. Some collectors prefer to wirebrush, sand, and grind their engines prior to finishing, while others prefer the sandblasting method. We would suggest that it's a matter of personal preference, but lean toward sandblasting, as it removes the tiresome drudgery of sanding and grinding, along with inhaling copious quantities of rust, dirt, and other materials.

24/5/13 TracTracTor Q. What is the year built and the proper color for a T-20 Trac-Trac-Tor, s/n ST3026 and built by International Harvester Co. Richard Dean, 90-08 Borkel Pl, Queens Vlg., NY 11428.

A. Your tractor was built in 1934, and was probably finished in the usual IHC Gray. Note, however, that there are definite indications that some of these tractors were painted IHC Red, probably to gain higher visibility.

24/5/14 Case Model C Combine Q. I am restoring a Case Model C, 10-foot combine. Can anyone give me the reel arm specifications, bolt locations, and the length of the reinforcement straps between the reel arms? Edwin Bredemeier, Route 1, Box 13, Steinauer, NE 68441.

24/5/15 Briggs & Stratton Ray Wickham, Dumont, IA 50625 needs year built information for two Briggs engines: 1) Model Z, s/n 19407, type no. 304236 and 2) model Y, s/n 199826, type no. 60083. If you have this information, kindly drop Ray a line.

24/5/16 Unknown engine Q. I recently acquired an engine with the following nameplate information: Engine No. 179666; RPM 550; 1? E HP. Can you tell me the make of this engine and year built? Ed Linderman, PO Box 65, Irons, MI 49644-0065.

A. The 'E' suffix on the horsepower rating tends to indicate that yours is an Economy engine as sold by Sears, Roebuck & Company. There are no serial number listings available for these engines.

24/5/17 Wallis 20-30 tractor.Michael Wendlandt, RR 2, Box 147, Stewart, MN 55385 would like to know where to locate the serial number on a Wallis 20-30 that is missing the nameplate.

24/5/18 John Deere engine problems Q. I have a John Deere E engine, s/n 348039. There is no speed control. It does not matter how much the speed change nut is adjusted, but no speed change occurs. Does it sound like a cam follower problem? Everything seems to be properly connected behind the governor cover. Any help will be appreciated. Bruce Wittgren, 104 East 150 South, Valparaiso, IN 46383.

A. Some of the John Deere experts will probably have the answer for the above problem, but in the meantime we might suggest looking at the governor plunger. Is it stuck or binding in the barrel? How about the detent catch block and blade? Are these worn so as to prevent their hooking up properly?

24/5/19 Geo. D. Pohl engine Q. The below photos illustrate a 3 HP Pohl engine using the R. M. Hvid patents. This engine has many broken and missing arms and levers, so any help in getting it restored will be greatly appreciated. Robert L. Steele, Star Route 10A, Morris, NY 13808.

A. Photo 24/5/19A illustrates the head end of this most unusual engine, and 19B shows the 'injector' as used in a similar form on almost all the Hvid engines. (Others of this style include Thermoil, St. Marys, Evinrude, and more). In this system the fuel is released by the poppet valve shown in the photo, with the amount being regulated by the governor, and controlled by a long slender needle valve passing down through the body of the injector. The fuel is deposited in a cup during the suction stroke and is not injected under pressure. The high temperature of the cup combined with the temperature increase of compression ignite the lighter end of the fuel in the cup, and this serves to continue the ignition of the remaining fuel. It is forced out of the cup through small holes aimed at the piston head. This particular part of the engine is very sensitive to leakage. Take it from ye olde Reflector-I once cranked my 1? HP Evinrude till I was blue in the face and then some! However, when all is right, it will start with ease, directly on No. 2 diesel fuel.

We've never before heard that the Pohl people over at Vernon, New York built Hvid-style engines. If anyone can be of help here, it doubtless will be much appreciated.

24/5/20 Removing broken studs. Here's a method of removing stud bolts broken off flush. Find a pipe or tube to fit snug in the hole. Insert a welding rod down the pipe opening to apply a stab-in-the-dark weld at the base of the pipe which is resting on the broken stud. The pipe lets you weld in the center of the stud and not in the threads. Mel Smith, 23941 Strange Cr Dr., Diamond Bar, CA 91765.

24/5/21 A-C tractor Q. What is the year built of a WC styled model, s/n 144380? What is its horsepower, and when did the WC change over from unstyled to styled hood? Ron Diffenderfer, 1006 Old Vicksburg Rd., Clinton, MS 39056.

A. Your tractor was built in 1945. Nebraska Test No. 304 indicates a rated output of 26.8 brake horsepower and 17.67 rated drawbar horsepower. The facelift apparently began in 1938, and some authorities have it that the styled hood was first used on s/n 74330 of that year. This, and more information on the WC is contained in the Reflector's latest book, The Allis-Chalmers Story.

24/5/22 Page garden tractor. William J. Kuhn, 4678 McMillan Road, Kinde, MI 48445 needs information on a Page garden tractor, s/n ZAB 4486709. It is missing the engine. If anyone can supply any information on this machine, please contact Mr. Kuhn at the above address.

24/5/23 Unidentified Engine Q. See the two photos of a recent acquisition. This engine has a 4? x 7 inch bore and stroke. It has a cast bronze connecting rod. There are no numbers on the castings. Bob LaBell, 4077 Day Street, Burton, MI 48519.

A. The frame seems to have some similarity to the Ohio engines, but the siderod design, the governor location, and the flywheel design seem to rule out the Ohio. Our perusal of American Gas Engines didn't yield anything either, so here's one for our readers.

24/5/24 Champion engine Q. See the enclosed photo of a Champion engine manufactured for Lininger Implement Company of Omaha, Nebraska. This 1? HP engine is shown on page 284 of American Gas Engines. Would like to correspond with anyone concerning the Champion line, age and color of this engine, and similar information. I am especially interested in Champion, since Champion, Nebraska is nearby. In this town, the Nebraska Parks Commission keeps operable the only water powered mill left in Nebraska.

An article in the June, 1988 GEM mentions the Champion engine as built by Hercules, and if so, I was wondering if parts would be interchangeable. Stan Cross, Lamar, NE 69035.

A. We would suggest that at least some, if not all the parts on this engine would interchange with Hercules, and if so, this would immensely simplify the restoration process.

24/5/25 Southern Engine & Boiler Works. The 6 HP sideshaft engine in the photo was made by Southern at Jackson, Tennessee, but is missing the igniter and its operating rod. Would like to hear from anyone having information on these engines so as to get the necessary dimensions. This engine is also illustrated on page 474 of American Gas Engines.O.B. Maloy, 7308 Ladybug, Austin, TX 78744.

24/5/26 A suggestion Q. It has been noted that igniters frequently cause problems. The igniter shaft completes the electrical circuit by contact on its bearings. These often get covered with oil so that there is a poor circuit. I have solved this problem several times by connecting a strap from the shaft to the igniter body.

Also see below photos showing an old-time electric blasting machine. The nameplate reads: Pull-Up Blasting Machine No. 3. Patented April 11, 1893. Will fire 20-30 holes.

A. The idea of making a solid electrical connection between the shaft and the igniter body might have some merit. We assume that copper braid as used on mercury switches and similar devices would be preferred, so as not to retard the movement of the shaft.

24/5/27 Heider 9-16 tractor. Ralph Olmsted, 1209 Guadalajara St., New Iberia, LA 70560 is restoring a Heider 9-16 Model D tractor and needs information on the 'three-point hitch' as used on these tractors. Also needed is information on rebuilding the friction drives and the original paint scheme.

A. We can help on one point-used untempered Masonite to replace the friction wheels. Over the years, almost everything was tried, from leather to oiled paper. On the current market, however, the above material seems to work as good as anything.

24/5/28 Case Threshing Machine Q. We are restoring a Case 22 inch thresher, s/n 110-705. When was this machine built? Randall Knipmeyer, 1304 Main, Higginsville, MO 64037.

A. As some of you may know, the Reflector is at work on a comprehensive history of  J. I. Case. One thing we have not located so far is a complete serial number listing on the Case threshers. Therefore, if anyone can help the above correspondent and the Reflector in this regard, we'll be happy to hear from you.