A Brief Word

Marvel air-cooled engines


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Recently we came across some articles from the late 1950s wherein the subject of 540 vs. 1000 rpm pto shafts was being discussed, or rather, being argued about. Engineers were talking about the changeover already in the 1940s, but little was done. Then in 1949, IH and Deere were both having problems with pto shaft failures ... of all things on hay balers. (IH and Deere weren't alone; almost everyone was having problems of some sort, but particularly with the hay baler). By the 1940s the little 1? pto shaft was being replaced with the 1? style. However, this too was experiencing problems by the 1950s, and engineers were recommending a 1 inch output shaft.

As we all know, the problem finally resolved itself. Contrary to the wishes of agricultural engineers, 1000 rpm shafts were not adopted universally . . . there were just too many 540 rpm machines in the field. Thus came some novel devices. Some, such as the Deutz in particular, simply used a lever on the floorboard to select 540 or 1000 rpm at the pto shaft. Other methods included shifting the output shaft from one hole in the rear end to the other. Adopting universal standards is truly a difficult thing to do ... it took thirty years just to standardize the drawbar height and other critical dimensions.

Does anyone remember the Pope Automatic Tying Attachment for the Case NCM hay balers? By 1954 Pope had converted some 25,000 Case NCM balers to automatic tying machines. In addition the company also offered the Case NCM as a factory re-engineered and re-designed baler. This device was made by Pope Automatic Attachment Corporation, Greenfield, Indiana.

In 1948 Reo Motors Inc., of Lansing, Michigan announced their new Reo l HP slant cylinder engine, designed especially for lawn mower use. Reo claimed their new design would run at least 100 degrees cooler than comparable engines, and indeed, Reo sold these little engines by the thousands. Surprisingly though, the Reo engines aren't seen very often at the shows. We're feverishly working on our Standard Catalog of Tractors, and have discovered a host of small garden tractors built in the decade following World War Two. The greatest flurry of activity seems to have been in the 1948-1952 period, when literally dozens of companies entered the garden tractor business. By 1955 the majority of these would-be entrepreneurs had already left the scene. It is our observation that many of these companies failed, not because they had an inferior product, but because they were undercapitalized, had no marketing plan and no distribution system. In a sentence, they were long on ideas and short on implementation thereof.

If we can put together a group of at least 30-40 people, we'll consider going to Australia again for their National Rally in 1999. More about this later. Also, we're considering a plan whereby we might begin a tour at Chicago, stopping off at their Museum of Science & Industry, then going off toward Ohio, and on to the Coolspring Show in June. Then we would do various things along the eastern seaboard, finally taking a ferry up to Nova Scotia, back toward Ontario, and work our way toward Greenfield Village at Dearborn, Michigan. Then back to Chicago, and all this in about two weeks. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, kindly communicate them to ye olde Reflector in the next few weeks.

One of our best research tools is the Farm Implement News Buyer's Guide that was published almost every year between 1888 and 1958. We have a few of these, and have found them invaluable, but we surely would like to find more of these as our research continues. If anyone knows of any, please contact ye olde Reflector here at GEM. We've got quite a few inquiries this month, beginning with:

33/5/1 John Deere Bearings Q. I have restored several John Deere Type E stationary engines. I have many sources of information, but nowhere can I find the recommended clearances for the main bearings or the rod bearings. Too little tolerance results in lack of lubrication and overheating of the bearings. Too much tolerance results in knocking in the rod bearings and hopping flywheels or oil leaks for the mains. Any information on the correct tolerances would be greatly appreciated, Len Lanahan, 5777 E 300 North, Franklin, IN 46131.

33/5/2 Root & Vandervoort Q. I have a 1 HP Root & Vandervoort engine, s/n AR47629, that has been badly abused with a hammer. Would like to correspond with someone that has a complete engine so that with some photos and dimensions of parts I can restore this engine. Especially need photos of the head, valves, and rocker arm. Carroll L. Pederson, 22122-61st St E., Sumner, WA 98390.

33/5/3 Unidentified Object Q. See the photo of an unidentified ???. Can anyone tell what it is? Raymond Tjarks, 1505 E 1st St., Redfield, SD 57469-1921.

33/5/4 Fairbanks-Morse Q. I recently purchased a Fairbanks-Morse 3 HP Model ZC engine, s/n 925988. Can anyone advise the proper color and the age of the engine? Karl R. Rymer, 1431 Crest Drive, Eugene, OR 97405.

A. Your engine was made in 1948. For the vast majority of the Type Z engines, the color is close to DuPont 72001 green. It appears that the late ones, especially past about 1940, were a different shade of green, comparable to GS379 DuPont. We've seen em both ways. There was no striping.

33/5/5 Unidentified Muffler Q. See the photos of an unidentified muffler. It is 6 inches in diameter with a 1 inch pipe thread. Casting number A1400 is on the back and A1401 on the inside front. It exhausts through the holes in the back. Can anyone tell me what engine used this muffler? Kent Zobel, Rt 1, Box 35A, Monroe, NE 68647.

33/5/6 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photo of an unidentified engine. Any information would be appreciated. Larry Temes,1317 North 22nd St., Bismarch, ND 58501.

A. Yours is an R & V (Root & Vander overt) engine. This was a 'competition' engine of about 1 horsepower. It was made as cheaply as possible to hold down the cost against the mail order engines ... that's why it never had so much as a brass nameplate. That probably added another couple of dimes to the manufacturing cost. It was painted green, comparable to DuPont 5316. So far as we know, it had no striping. It used low tension ignition with a battery and coil.

33/5/7 Toro Information Needed Q. I have a Toro Park Special & Park Junior Lawn Mower. The mower has s/n 1943 and the Toro air-cooled engine is s/n ME4547. I would like to hear from anyone having information on this machine. Lawrence J. Salber, PO Box 5, Petersburg, NE 68652.

33/5/8 Kinkade Garden Tractor Q. I have a Kinkade garden tractor, s/n 408L4231 made by American Farm Machinery Co of Minneapolis. It has a single steel wheel with lugs, and the engine is inside the wheel. Ignition is with a Fairbanks-Morse magneto. It also has another wheel that bolts to the one on the tractor, and a plow is mounted between. Can anyone furnish more information, including the correct colors? Alfred G. Brejcha Jr., RR 2, Box 12, Western, NE 68464-9505.

A. We're short of information on American Farm Machinery, but as far as we know, the company started in 1918, and took over the Andrews-Kinkade operation. Kinkade garden tractors are listed in the Farm Implement News Buyer's Guide as late as 1953.(Editor's note: See Mark Book out's article on page 24 for more about this and other garden tractor companies.)

33/5/9 Lauson Engine Q. I recently acquired a John Lauson engine, 4 HP, Size AC, Type D, s/n 12707. It has a 5 inch bore. The magneto is missing, so I need to know what kind was used on these engines, and I also need to know what the original igniter looks like. Any help on this engine would be greatly appreciated. Merlin Crohn, 1646 West-wood, Idaho Falls, ID 83402.

33/5/10 Unidentified Water Hopper Q. Can anyone identify the water hopper shown in the photo? Does anyone know what happened to the DeLaval vacuum pump as shown on page 122 of American Gas Engines? Also, what brand and type of EP grease are you using to replace the #3 and #4 cup grease formerly used on grease cups? John J. Wohlfeil, 190 HCR 1, Marquette, MI 49855-9704.

A. So far as we know, DeLaval simply quit making vacuum pumps, and that was the end of it. Regarding lubricants, there are numerous EP (Extreme Pressure) greases on the market, and depending on your brand preference, we think all of them do quite well. So far as we can determine, the newer greases on the market do a superior job; that's why they replaced the old fashioned hard oil of days gone by.

33/5/11 IHC Engine Q. See the photo of the nameplate on a 3-5 HP LA McCormick-Deering engine. The tag reads: Gas Power Engineering) Dept., Tractor Works, s/n 2680. All the casting numbers are the same, #2853. The carburetor is brass. Could this have been a test engine? Further information would be appreciated. Jerry, Duane VanHeukelom, 1312 Orange St., River Falls, WI 54022.

A. We believe your engine could very well have been at the very least, a pre-production engine. The nameplate appears to be one internal to the company, rather than including the company name and address, model number, and other information. At some point it was likely sold to an employee or perhaps someone outside the company.

33/5/12 Things of Interest Q.  See photo 12 A of a Country Boy garden tractor made by Roths Industries, Alma, Michigan. In photo 12B see a DuBrie marine engine that has only been started twice and which was still in the original carton. Does anyone have any information on DuBrie engines? James Sondreal, 3201 W. Reid Road, Swartz Creek, MI 48473-8813.

A. The Roths line included several different models, and we have thus far traced the company from about 1946 into the mid-1950s. Other than that, we have no literature on the company. We have no information at all on the DuBrie engines.

33/5/13 Regarding the Walsh Q. In 33/2/26 of the February 1998 GEM there were photos of a Walsh made by Standard. I have a Walsh, s/n D6528 made by Walsh Garden Tractor Company of Minneapolis. Mine has wooden handles. Can anyone tell me when this tractor was made? Could the person who sent the pictures in for the above tell me the colors for the Walsh? Any information would be appreciated. Thomas H. Kruse, 6232 Cedar Lane, Miamisburg, OH 45342-5179.

A. We haven't yet been able to untangle the history of Walsh, Standard and some of the other garden tractor companies at Minneapolis-St. Paul. Some were merged into others, some had several name changes, and others simply quit after awhile. (Again, see page 24!)

33/5/14 Cornelius Wagon Q. I have a Cornelius triple-box wagon that I pull with my 1937 John Deere tractor in parades. Does anyone have any information about the Cornelius wagons? Edward L. Swanson, 11976 Montague Road, Winnebago, IL 61088.

A. We've checked through our stock of Farm Implement News Buyer's Guide and can't find any reference to it.

33/5/15 Kewaunee Iron Works We received some interesting information from John Schuller, E4805 Hy 42, Kewaunee, WI 54216 relative to the Marvel air-cooled engines from this company. Their engine was made in 5 and 8 HP sizes in the 1900-1916 period. Mr. Schuller has a 5 HP Marvel which he has running. Has anyone heard of the Marvel engines?

33/5/16 Vivian Diesels and Nordberg Too Thanks to E. W. Crews, 4668 Montalba Dr NW, Calgary, AB T3B 1E4 Canada for sending along a photo of a Nordberg radial diesel engine at Hibbing, Minnesota (16A).

The Vivian Diesel engines were built by Vivian Engine Works Ltd., Vancouver, Canada. The engine style shown here was built in 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 cylinder sizes, with the three largest models being available either as naturally aspirated, or as turbocharged models. Adding a turbocharger raised the power level on the ten cylinder model from 575 to 720 horsepower. The latter size weighed over 43,000 pounds. Their 9x12 inch series is shown in a nice little catalog which Mr. Crews sent along, and for which we tender our thanks. See 16B for an illustration of the Vivian engine.

33/5/17 Thanks! To Norman Hansen, 2982 Hwy 71, Cambridge, ID 83610 for sending along some information from the Burgan's mail order catalog of 1925-26. They illustrate a number of engines, most of them built by Nelson Bros., but sold under the Rainbow trademark of this Spokane, Washington mail order house.

33/5/18 Thanks! To Carlton Ekdahl, 55 Portsmouth Ave., Manchester, NH 03109-4434 for sending along some information relative to flat belting and its proper usage. Hopefully we'll get an article assembled one of these times on this interesting subject.

33/5/19 Briggs & Stratton Q. I have a Briggs & Stratton engine (see photo) Model AP, Type 209602, s/n 183000. I have been trying to remove the flywheel with no success. Does anyone have any ideas or methods for removing this flywheel? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Dieter Heckels, 1391 Heather Hill Dr., Hubertus, WI 53033.

33/5/20 Massey-Harris Engine Q. I have a Massey-Harris engine with the following tag: Massey-Harris Harvester Company, Batavia, New York; Gas Engine Works, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 1 HP, 600 rpm, s/n MHA 45895. It has a Webster bracket #303M63A which is for a Worthington 1 HP Type W engine. Can anyone provide any information on this Massey-Harris engine? Roger Eldred, 10750 S. Vroman Rd., Shepherd, MI 48883.

A. We were unaware of the connection between the M-H and the 'Gas Engine Works, Milwaukee, Wisconsin' but that might explain the same bracket number, namely that this engine was quite possibly built by Worthington for Massey-Harris. Has anyone run into this before?

33/5/21 Briggs & Stratton Q. Help! Why does this all-factory Briggs & Stratton have this very interesting, different tank and carburetor with two tubes between them? The big tube goes to the bottom of the tank, the other goes to the top of the tank; both have screens. The tank has a hook-shaped vent pipe that goes down through the tank to the bottom. The tag says: Sears Roebuck Company, Model 500204058 and s/n 15006.

Does it burn some special brew? It can be seen at an engine show June 5-7 at West Burlington, Iowa, Des Moines County Fairgrounds. Paul Gorrell, 11306 Mill Dam Road, Burlington, Iowa 52601-8503.

33/5/22 Novo and F-M Questions Q. I have a Novo 1 HP engine, s/n 73347. It does not have the crankcase hand hole covers on the front and back as usual, but has access to the rod through an access hole on the back wheel side in the same place that the crankcase breather is usually mounted. The connecting rod is hinged design. When was it made and is it the same color as the other Novo engines? I need help with the mixer and the muffler also.

On the Fairbanks-Morse Type N and Type T engines with hot tube ignition, what was the fuel used for the torch, and where was the supply tank located? What material was used for the hot tube? James L. Johnson, 4115 - S. 298th Ct., Auburn, WA 98001.

A. Your engine was sold to National Supply Company, Toledo, Ohio on 6/12/1923. It is likely the same color as other Novo engines.

A gasoline torch was originally used for the hot tube, but nowadays virtually everyone uses a propane torch. It is hotter, easier to handle, and safer than having an overhead supply of gasoline to supply the torch. Its chief disadvantage is that all hot tube engines are sensitive to wind, so on a windy day, it is sometimes hard to keep them running. The tube is usually made of ordinary Schedule 40 black iron pipe.

33/5/23 Novo Q. What is the year built of a Novo Model TV engine, s/n 34355? Pat Diters, 403 Pope Road, Windham, ME 04062.

A. Your engine was sold to F. E. Myers Company, Ashland, Ohio, on 3/19/1937.

33/5/24 Novo Q. What is the year built of a Novo engine, Model SU 3 x 4, s/n 15862? What is the proper color? How many were built? Mike Cannon, 402 Drayton Rd., Oreland, PA 19075.

A. Your engine was shipped to Frick Company, Waynesboro, Pennsylvania on August 8, 1929. We assume it was the usual Novo Green; we don't know how many were made. All the Novo records are on individual file cards, of which there are probably 100,000 or more. Even by narrowing it down to this range of serial numbers, it would take days on end to go through several thousand file cards to determine production. That's why we haven't plowed into this task, and probably won't.

33/5/25 Albert Lea Tribune Thanks to these folks at Albert Lea, Minnesota, for sending along a whole packet of clippings and old advertisements for the Strite and the Sexton tractors made at Albert Lea. Some of their local historians have done a study of these companies. So far no one has heard of a Strite tractor or a Sexton still in existence. We haven't either.

33/5/26 The Potter Photos Q. Some years ago we saw the little file drawers of negatives that came from the late E. R. Potter at Saskatoon. They were owned at the time by the late Earl Marhanka. Subsequently, we assume they were sold at the Marhanka auction. Does anyone know of their whereabouts? They might contain some useful photographs for our Standard Catalog of Tractors. Over the years we've asked various people about the Potter negatives, but we have yet to find anyone who has a clue where they might be today, assuming of course, that they still exist. If anyone can be of help, kindly contact ye olde Reflector at Gas Engine Magazine, Box 328, Lancaster, PA 17603.

A Closing Word

Hardly a day goes by that we don't get some correspondence from someone wanting further information on a tractor, an engine, or an implement. In many instances, we answer these letters here in the column, in addition to all the letters sent directly to GEM; of course EVERY letter we get through the Reflections column is answered here in the column.

Once in awhile we hear the complaint that it takes quite awhile for an answer to appear in print, so for those who might not know the mechanics of all this, here's what happens:

One fine day you compose a letter to ye olde Reflector and send it off to GEM. The postal system being what it can be sometimes, it takes a few days for it to reach the magazine. Then it is logged in and photocopied. After a few letters accumulate, they are sent off to ye olde Reflector out here in Iowa. We then put them in a special file to be used in the next column. Once they are typed up for the column, it is at least another month before they get into print. Then, if your letter comes a day or two after the column has gone out, it will be here nearly a month until the next monthly issue. Thus, it is easy to have your query come into print a couple of months after it was originally sent in. We'll allow that this probably isn't the grandest system in the world, but logistics being what they are, we're completely clueless on how to make things go any faster. However, each and every query we receive is important to us and we really try to move everything along as quickly as possible. Please bear with us.

Sometimes too, we are severely admonished for an error within the column. Our apologies for those times. It's not that we intentionally omit something or type in the wrong information, but stuff happens!

In order to make things a bit easier on our end, we've been shopping for a new computer. Ours is only a few years old, but is a virtual antique by computer standards. One of the problems is that the prices keep dropping, and we surely do hate to part with our money in a falling market! Eventually though, we'll break down and go on a computer buying spree. By the way, when we compose the monthly column, we send it over to GEM on a computer disk. They do their necessary formatting and editing, and within a few minutes after they have our disk, it is all set and ready for the printer. Amazing isn't it!

For those who are going with us to Germany, Austria, and Holland this summer, welcome aboard! We truly believe this will be one of the finest tours we have had, and we look forward to seeing all of you! For those who are still thinking about it, there may be some time yet to go along, but you'd better hurry!

We'll see you again next month.