Unknow Engines


Dr. Robert D

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As this copy is being prepared, the Reflector has just returned from his annual pilgrimage to the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. This year's engine display was the largest ever totaling well over 700 engines on display, and the vast majority of them running each day of the show.

We noticed that the quality of restoration steadily improves each year, and many visitors commented to us that they were impressed by the high-quality restoration jobs evident on the show grounds. Likewise, we certainly wish to compliment the many model makers who brought their labors of love to the show. There were a great many model engines and tractors this year, each of which represents hundreds of hours at the lathe and on the bench.

The Reflector once again represented Stemgas Publishing Company at the Mt. Pleasant Show, and once again it was a great pleasure to renew old acquaintances and make many new ones. After a five day show, numbers seem to blur, but both the Reflector and Stemgas Publishing extend our thanks for stopping by.

Lest anyone feel slighted because we have commented on the Mt. Pleasant show to the exclusion of others, we would personally love to attend virtually every show in the country, but logistically speaking, that's impossible. To all of you everywhere who have had a show this past season, we hope you were gratified we know the many hours that go into planning and having a show.

This particular column has the Reflector at a disadvantage Reflector in his zeal to help prospective readers inadvertently sold his own back issues of GEM, so we have no reference to back issues at this point! Anyway, we'll go with what we have, starting with this letter concerning Aermotor engines:

21/11/1 Arnold L. Teague, 195 Bridge St., San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 writes in part: The Aermotor engines varied in color according to the best bid for the paint! Some batches were candy-apple red, some were battleship gray, and some were an emerald green. The company must have been cost conscious and not too concerned about visual recognition.

21/11/2 Mike Mikel, Route 1, Bynum, TX 76631 tells us he has a Sears Roebuck single cylinder vertical engine, s/n 5555. The problem is that some of the ignition mechanism is missing. After doing a lot of investigating, Mr. Mikel has been unable to find anyone who can help him with his problem. The engine is one of those rare birds built by Stickney, and we are certain a few are around. Would the few owners of these rarities kindly contact Mr. Mikel so that yet another of these engines can be put back into running order?

Pages 454-456 of American Gas Engines detail some of the history involved with the Stickney-Sears sales arrangement. It finally ended in a lawsuit which Stickney finally won, but unfortunately for Stickney, they themselves were nearly out of the picture come settlement day.

21/11/3 Q We have a Suburbanite Garden Tractor No. 51193. We tried to write to American Farm Machine Co. in Minneapolis, but got no results. We were hoping someone could get us some information on this tractor. We really need to know the oil-gas ratio for the engine and what oil to run in the transmission. Kelly McCraw, RR 1, Flat Rock, NC 28731.

A. We should think that you would use approximately the same mix as is currently used by various lawnmowers and other two-cycle engines would be somewhere near the proper ratio. So far as transmission oil is concerned, it seems that present day technology allows the use of a so-called 'universal' fluid that works in almost anything. In days of old, the stickier the better seemed to be the rule. With the advent of modern-day extreme pressure additives, this idea seems to have gone by the wayside.

21/11/4 Q. On page 272 of American Gas Engines you show a picture of a Lalley Electric Plant. I have a 1010 model and need some information on restoring the unit. Especially needed are a new piston and rings. Jesse A. Bandy, 406 North High Street, Paris, IL 61944.

A. Although this column does not ordinarily accept letters asking for parts, there is a specific point to Mr. Bandy's question that should be addressed. Oftentimes in a restoration job, the piston is either beyond repair or is missing entirely. In many cases, this slows up the job but does not necessarily mean that it is impossible to proceed. By doing some checking in various parts books, it is often possible to find another piston of the same diameter. The problem is that almost invariably the distance from piston head to center of wrist pin hole is different. Now comes the part of lengthening or shortening the connecting rod to regain the approximate original dimensions. Many times this can be determined by checking the top of the travel as noted by the ridge at the top end of the cylinder. In the case of the Lalley engine, finding an original piston might be next to impossible, but that doesn't necessarily confer the idea that all is lost usually there is a way around the problem, and for the Reflector, finding a way to do the job is THE interesting challenge about restoring old iron. This reminds us of a little piece we found among some papers which reads:

We, the willing
Led by the Unknowing
Are doing the impossible
For the ungrateful
And have done so much
for so long
with so little
we are now qualified
to do anything
with nothing.

21/11/5 Q. I am searching for technical data and restoration information on an East hope two-cylinder marine engine built in Vancouver, B.C. Though the company is still in business, they are of little help so far. William D. Grimes, Box 992, Dickinson, TX 77539

A. Although the Reflector has nothing at all on file regarding East-hope, we are confident that some of our readers already possessed of this information will share it with you.

21/11/6 Q. Can you supply the paint number for a Stover CT-4 engine, also the whereabouts of a manual for the Stover engines? V.O. Betz, RR 6, Box 505, Golden, CO 80403.

A. Some years ago, the late Lester L. Roos of Geneseo, Illinois acquired a huge quantity of Stover N.O.S. parts and information. The parts are long gone, but much of the information was given to the Reflector by Mr. Roos. Apparently the dark Brewster green used on the Stover engines after about s/n 80,000 varied considerably over the years. Mr. Roos suggested that a combination of 1 qt. DuPont Dulux 24166 Brewster Green be darkened further with the addition of about pt. of black and pt. of brown. Although we agree that this color seems to be quite accurate for the older engines, the later Stover CT models seem to have been somewhat lighter, using something in the area of 24166 green without any additives. Again, the problem of color matching occurs, primarily because the company was cost conscious and probably not too concerned with the exact shade of paint. The Reflector maintains the old Stover production records, and also has many of the early manuals, all of which are available at a minimal cost for photocopying and postage.

21/11/7 Dr. Robert D. Seeley, RR 3, Box 176, Warrensburg, MO 64003 sends a photo of an engine which he presumes to be an Ajax, although the nameplate is missing. A small tag remains which reads: 'Atlas Machine Co., Fort Worth and Muskogee Branches'. The flywheels are 70' diameter; the cylinder is 12x18 inch bore and stroke. The engine is said to have originally been a diesel but was converted to gas, and has an output of about 35 HP. Specifically, we would like to know the make, and need information on the forward part of the engine, as some parts are missing. Any and all input will be greatly appreciated.

21/11/8 Q. I have a Nelson Bros. HP engine, s/n 2XA4569 and would like to know when it was built, plus the part number for the ignition points. Robert J. Ward, 17969 S.R. 60, Warwaw, OH 43844.

A. We can't tell you a thing about the above engine, but perhaps a reader knowledgeable about it can drop you a line.

21/11/9 Q. We would like information on an International Famous engine, 3 HP, believed to have been built in 1907. R. C. Briggs, Safety Cove Engine Repairs, Safety Cove, Port Arthur 7182, Tasmania, Australia.

A. Although we have no parts book for this engine, we believe that some of our regular GEM advertisers might have one, and hopefully they will be in touch with you in this regard.

21/11/10 Q. Are any of the Mogul 50 HP two-cylinder engines still in existence? This engine must have been the largest made by IHC. If anyone has any information on these engines, or knows where the existing ones are located, we will be happy to hear from you. We have never seen an article regarding these engines. Donald E. Pollard, RR 2, Vanpleek Hill, Ontario K0B 1R0 Canada.

A. Few of these were built specifically for stationary use, and few, if any, still exist. We have heard of one or two still being around, but are unable to substantiate this information. The so-called Mogul Giant was nothing more or less than the Mogul 30-60 tractor engine suitably mounted for stationary or portable use. Considerable information on both the engine and the tractor may be found in the book 150 Years of International Harvester published in 1981.

21/11/11 Q. Where can I buy a copy of Rathbun's gas engine book? It is an instructional and maintenance book of about 500 pages. Glen R. Swenson, HCR 1, Box 82-T, Spider Lake, Marcell, MN 56657.

A. Now here's a man who knows about a quality book, but unfortunately the Rathbun book is, so far as we know, out of print, and has been for some years. The fact is that 50-70 years ago there were a great many excellent titles relating to gas engine design, construction, operation, and maintenance. The Reflector has an extensive library of these materials and frequent use is made thereof, especially when compiling this column. In fact, we hope to be receiving some additional titles on the subject in the near future, and be assured you will be seeing bits and pieces of these as time goes along. Unfortunately, collectors on this side of the pond seem to have very little interest in the very early material, presumably since it is generally of European origin. Anyway, the Reflector has only seen a copy of the Rathbun book, so we join you in hoping that one might surface sometime. Meanwhile, for an excellent primer on the gas engine, we suggest Gas Engine Guide, available from the GEM office.

21/11/12 Q. Can you give me the proper color for a Sattley engine, Model 38512-HPG-1 HP, also the year built? This one is now a shade of orange. What is the year built for an International LA engine, s/n AA39020? C. W. Bryant, RR 2, Box 260, El Dorado, KS 67042.

A. We can't give you any serial number information on the Sattley, but the LA was built in 1937. Since the numbers given for the Sattley do not provide enough information, we come up short on a paint color for it.

21/11/13 Q. Gordon Aebig, 312 Maple St., Shelly, MI 49455 submits a photo of his Planet Jr. garden tractor, Type HT, s/n 4518, patented May 5, 1922. The engine is a Toro Model MF, s/nH8840. Mr. Aebig would like to hear from other Planet Jr. owners as a means of determining how many still exist, and would also like to hear from anyone with information on same.

A. The Reflector attempted to search for the above patent, but either the May 5 date is incorrect, or the year is incorrect, since no patents were issued that year. Patents are issued weekly, on Tuesday, and for that year it would be May 2nd or May 9th.

21/11/14 Q. Could you direct me to information concerning hot air engines? Specifically we are looking for: 1. A complete set of drawings for the 5, 6, or 8 inch Ericsson hot air pumping engine; 2. Information on anything available such as advertisements, parts books, catalogs, etc. pertaining to the Chicago Pneumatic oil engines as listed in American Gas Engines. Any information or leads where I can obtain the above data will be greatly appreciated, and all letters will be answered. Mario Personeni, 11381 Hubbard Road, Grass Valley, CA 95945.

A. Hot air engines are now quite rare, and possibly this accounts too for the scarcity of information on same. The only sources we know of at this time are Alan G. Phillips, Box 20511, Orlando, FL 32814 or Al Cropley & Sons, 10780 Myers Way S., Seattle, WA 98168. There are perhaps other readers who might have the data you desire.

21/11/15 Q. Herewith see a photo of our restored Massey-Harris 44 tractor. It is now completely restored, and so far has not been beat within its class at the antique tractor pulls. However, in some of the books published from England, the engine is shown as being finished in black. Are the American-built tractors also this way, or are they red? Jerry Watkins, Box 552, Paris, TN 38242.

A. The Reflector still has the Massey-Harris 44 which his father purchased in 1953. It was the second one of these on our farm, and replaced a similar 44 Massey bought in 1948. (The first one replaced our John Deere D tractor.) Both of these tractors had the engine painted red, and one of our neighbors owned a pair of 44-6 (six-cylinder) Massey-Harris tractors purchased about the same time. These likewise had the engines painted red. From this, we would deduce that those sold in the U.S. had a red engine. Quite possibly those sold overseas used a black finish.

21/11/16 Q Can you give me any information on the Smith Motor Wheel? Ted Smith, 1677 Garfield Road, New Springfield, OH 44443.

A. On page 65 of American Gas Engines will be found the information we have on this unit. Originally produced by Briggs & Stratton, the Motor Wheel actually was developed in England, with A.O. Smith Co. of Milwaukee eventually acquiring the manufacturing rights. We have no original literature on hand for this unit.

21/11/I7 Q. I have two David Bradley tractors, but both have the clutches frozen up, and information is needed to free them without breaking any of the parts. Francis Saunders, 46 Clark Gates Road, Moodus, CT 06469.

A. Hopefully, some of the GEM readers will have information on these tractors specifically. In general terms, lots of soaking in a suitable penetrate, application of gentle heat, and a lot more TLC (tender, loving care) will be needed. One thing that seems to help is to have the component parts glass blasted that is, to take them to an automotive machine shop where they are blasted using glass beads. That will get rid of the rust and make the job a lot easier. The blaster gets back into the little corners and recesses impossible to clean by hand.

21/11/18 Q. John Hamilton, 461 Algonquin Place, Webster Groves, MO 63119 writes that his earlier submission of a dark green for the IHC engines is not all-inclusive. A very early 3 HP Type M he has just acquired still has the original paint, and it is very nearly an olive green. Information is also needed regarding this engine. It has the under stroke igniter, one-piece mixer (no separate top), and has a choke plate. Should this be an International engine or a McCormick-Deering engine?

A. Your engine probably used the International logo, but unfortunately, we have found no one who is currently making a reproduction logo after this fashion. The single push-rod, under strike ignitor engine was apparently built for only a short time, but without the serial number we cannot give you the year built information. Our guess would be 1918 or 1919.

21/11/19 We recently purchased a 25 HP Western built by Western Gas Engine Co. of Los Angeles, California, s/n 435. Although it is in excellent mechanical shape, it is in need of cosmetic restoration. Could anyone supply the proper color, pinstriping etc.? Bob Hempe, 19030 Stillmore St., Canyon Country, CA 91351.

21/11/20 Q. We would like to hear of any information regarding the use of acetylene gas as a fuel for engines back in the 1895-1905 period. West Gordeuk, 624 Main St., Cromwell, CT 06416.

A. Acetylene gas as an engine fuel piqued the curiosity of early engine designers. According to Hiscox' Gas, Gasoline & Oil Engines of 1905, experiments indicated that a 9:1 air-acetylene mixture was 3.28 times more powerful than a 4:1 air-gasoline mixture. However, to do the same work, acetylene was more than twice as expensive to use as gasoline. Thus, the experiments led to a dead end, and little research of acetylene as an engine fuel seems to have followed. Possibly because of the inherent dangers of acetylene gas, experiments were abandoned in favor of gasoline and other liquid fuels.

21/11/21 Q. After researching American Gas Engines Since 1872 I have concluded that I am the proud owner of a Brown-wall engine made in Holland, Michigan. What is the proper color for this engine? Also need information on restoring a 40 HP Venn-Severin vertical engine. Ron Martin, Box 621, Weaverville, CA 96093.

A. The Reflector once possessed a Brownwall. It had much of the original finish, which we concluded to be comparable to DuPont Dulux 93-2063 Blue. We have no data on the Venn-Severin engines.

21/11/22 Can anyone supply information on the following tractor: Brownie Tractor, built by U.S. Brownie Co., Model B, s/n 58338, Joliet, Illinois? The rear wheels are 6.00-12; front tires 9'. A Briggs & Stratton 3 HP engine is the power plant. The hood cowling seems to have been a shade of red, as were the wheels. The rest was painted black (?) Any help will be appreciated. Jim Greenawalt, 11621 N. Victoria Dr., Oklahoma City, OK 73120.

21/11/23 W. A. Ellis, RR 2, Box 117, Talbotton, GA 31827 submits a drawing for building an ignition system if this is missing from an engine. This system uses ordinary parts found in almost any shop.

A Sensible Buzz Coil Ignition System For Old EnginesĀ Attach insulator block to engine frame. Fasten hacksaw blade to insulator block with two ' sheet metal screws. Clamp a half-circle to crank shaft with a flat-type hose clamp. Time by moving the contacts around the crank so they come together at top dead center. This works well on four-cycle engines.

21/11/24 Q. Can you supply the year of manufacture for the following engines: Economy 1 HP E; #94402IHC type M, 1 HP, s/n A41182M? Paul Korell, Box 252, Winter Harbor, ME 04693.

A. We have no number lists on the Economy, but the IHC engine was built in 1919.

21/11/25 Q. I am restoring a 25-50 Avery tractor. It is said to have been built in 1917, but we would like someone to confirm this. The serial number is 12946. Also, would like the correct color. Some are painted red and yellow, some have a red frame with cab and wheels painted green, and still others are painted gray. Who is correct? Would appreciate any help that might be available on the proper color, and would also appreciate any tips regarding the restoration of the 25-50. George Best, 4100 SW 195th Ct., Aloha, OR 97007.

A. That there is some variation in the color scheme for Avery tractors is an undisputed fact. However, the specific color combination and years used will have to come from someone who has researched the subject. Hopefully, some of the Avery collectors will come forward with the information.

21/11/26 Q. We recently acquired a Mall engine, 3 HP, s/n 72565, Type GC1, 3000 rpm. Would like to know its age, application, etc. It sits on a round base on which it can swivel a full 360 degrees. There are two brackets that held some sort of a tool (see below photo). Have also acquired a Mall chain saw, s/n 402926, Model 7, with a 4 ft. bar and would like to know its age. Walter Weinheimer, RR 4, Bloomington, IL 61701.

A. Possibly some information might be available from a longtime dealer in this equipment. We have no information at all on this engine, and in fact, never knew until now that Mall actually built anything other than the engines used on their chain saws.

21/11/27 Q. Can anyone supply information on a Utilimotor manufactured by Johnson Motor Co., Waukegan, Illinois? It greatly resembles a Maytag engine, uses a foot pedal starter and appears to have some sort of governor system to regulate the speed. Any information as to age, color, horsepower, etc. will be greatly appreciated. Robert Armstrong, 7302 Townes Road, Richmond, VA 23226.


Electric Motor Repair In the August issue of GEM it was noted that an excellent title regarding all phases of repair and rewinding on AC and DC engines was in our library, but we weren't sure whether it could still be purchased. Several readers tell us that this title can be purchased from H. A. Holden Inc., 1208 Harmon Place, Minneapolis, MN 55403 under their Part No. HAH4300.

21/9/11A good paint job Joe Williams, 3121 Creek Road, Kingsville, OH 44048 sends along a lot of information on getting a nice finish applied to your engines and tractors. Joe's letter sums up the whole thing in the first sentence: 'A good paint job requires two main ingredients: 1. Elbow grease; 2. Lots of time.'

The major paint companies agree that the key to a good paint job is primarily one of applying a primer to a 'properly prepared' surface. That means sandblasting, metal treatment, primer (preferably epoxy chromate), primer-filler, sanding, primer-filler, until the finish is as smooth as silk and no bare metal shows.

The finish coat may be any one of several paints, although if perfection is wanted, acrylic enamel (with hardener) seems to have the highest gloss and is extremely resistant to gasoline and oil as well as dirt, nicks, and scratches.

Many people find that spray cans work quite well and are partial to Rustoleum brand products, since they seem to be more resistant to gasoline.

We have used many brands of paint and there does not seem to be a significant difference between brands, but be sure to use either lacquer, acrylic or alkyd enamels.

Note: Mr. Williams enclosed several data sheets from paint manufacturers, giving their recommendations. Since we have not received company permission to reproduce them, we suggest a visit to your local DuPont, Ditzler, Sherwin-Williams, or other distributor. Tell them what you are doing, and ask them for information sheets detailing the various types of primers, metal cleaners, and finishes that they recommend. By carefully following the manufacturer's recommendations you are assured of a fine job. Take it from ye olde Reflector shortcuts in this process simply won't work, and in addition you earn the chance to sand the whole works down and start over. That's when Mr. Williams' suggestion about elbow grease goes into action.

21/8/2McCormich-Deering TD tractors Robert Radcliffe, Box 37, Cardale, Manitoba R0K 0J0 Canada notes that we referred to the subject tractor as a TD32 when in fact it should have been a TD-35. Likewise, the TDBB prefix is the correct one, not the TDKB prefix as listed in 150 Years of International Harvester.


Although it was our intention to publish an extensive list of Webster magneto brackets this issue, some new information came to light at the last minute, so it seemed wise to hold off until all this data can be keyed into the computer. Hopefully, we'll have this information in a coming issue.

We (meaning both this writer and Stemgas Publishing) certainly wish to thank everyone who stopped by our booth at the Midwest Old Threshers. Reunion. Many of you gave us some great new ideas for the magazine, and many others just stopped by with a few kind words. Things always go better when you know that others are genuinely interested. So again, thanks for stopping by.


Winter will soon be upon us. HAVE YOU DRAINED ALL YOUR ENGINES AND TRACTORS FOR WINTER? Did you forget to take out the extra petcock on the cylinder or elsewhere? And remember, either fill the fuel tank completely full or else drain it completely for the winter. Otherwise the combination of water and fuel next spring will make starting up an unpleasant venture.

Just to make sure that a piece of dirt doesn't keep an engine from draining completely, we stick a piece of light wire into the drain hole and by wiggling it around after the engine is drained, it's easy to know whether some water is still trapped out of sight.

The purpose of the Reflections column is to provide a forum for the exchange of all useful information among subscribers to GEM. Inquiries or responses should be addressed to: REFLECTIONS, Gas Engine Magazine, P.O. Box 328, Lancaster, PA 17603.