A Brief Word

Unidentified Engine


Dave Moeller

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Every so often we come across something that seems absolutely appropriate for the column. You folks may or may not agree, but the following is from a little placard we dreamed up just for the shows. It is displayed somewhere near our engines:

We're not sure how effective this foolishness is in actually keeping sightseers and inquisitives from sticking their hands where they don't belong, but perhaps by stating the case with a bit of humor, the message can be made. While we hope everybody doesn't run out and print up this silliness, perhaps the idea might serve as a warning to those who don't know any better, and a reminder to those who do!

Ye olde Reflector has really been catching it due to the pricing structure for our latest book, 150 Years of J. I. Case. Dozens of phone calls and letters have come in, asking why the same book carries three different prices, all in the same issue of GEM! Here's how it works...a publisher sets a retail price based on the production cost. Since most publishers wholesale their books to various dealers, the pricing structure has to be built around something, and ultimately, that original retail figure is the basis. Now, if someone chooses to buy a quantity of books, that is to say, any books from any publisher, that buyer has the right to set whatever price they want. In other words, if a quantity of books is purchased at $20 a copy, and the dealer chooses to sell them for $5 bucks apiece, for an instant $15 per book loss, that's their business. One should bear in mind that the book business is no get-rich-quick scheme, and we've been at it for nearly 30 years now. Presently, a copy of American Gas Engines costs $2.77 just for postage. Then there is another 75 to 85 cents for the mailing carton, the invoice form costs about 10 cents, and the printed shipping label is about 12 cents. Then there is the cost of advertising, and without it, how would one go about promoting a book? Add to this the so-called hidden costs of overhead, and that means electricity, heat, phone bills, and all the other things tied to running any kind of business. So, we are content to maintain the status quo. We don't establish the retail price on any books whether they come from Crestline Publishing, Motor books, or Stemgas Publishing. That's all based on what it costs to produce the book.

We are reluctant to even mention this issue, since just as sure as the sun shines, there'll be further comments. However, we felt compelled to explain our own position, as well as that of various publishers for whom we have worked, and for that matter, any publisher we ever heard of. Thus, we trust that this will be the end of the matter.

Ye olde Reflector is happy to report that we have had some very nice phone calls regarding our new 150 Years of). J .I Case book from as far away as England, New Zealand, Australia, and Brazil. Likewise, we have had some very nice letters from many of our 'continental' folks.

We understand that Mr. Art Brigham of the J. I. Case Heritage Foundation is having some sudden and serious health problems, and we hope all goes well.

The copy for this November issue is actually going in to the publisher in the latter part of August. This way we can meet the deadline, and still spend our annual week of fun at the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion.

Let's get started with this month's queries:

26/11/1 Unidentified Engine Q. See the two photos of an engine no one has been able to identify. The brass tag is gone, and even the brass band is gone from the Webster magneto. Any help will be appreciated. Dave Moeller, N30805 Milan Rd., Chattaroy, WA 99003.

A. Look for the number on the Webster magneto bracket. It will likely be an A303xxx number. Then, by referring to the Webster magneto listing, we may be able to identify the engine. This information is in the newly published Notebook.

26/11/2 Domestic, Etc. Q. See the photo of a 6 HP Domestic kerosene engine. I need to know how the gasoline starting tank was originally mounted. The engine was originally equipped with a Webster magneto, but I also need to know how the trip mechanism was changed to accommodate the Webster. Plus, I need the paint code for the medium gray color used on Domestic.

Photo 2B shows a Kingery popcorn popper, made in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is missing the catch basket that hooks on the front to catch the popped com. I need to correspond with someone who can give me dimensions for fabricating one to fit this machine. Bob Herder, RR 5, Box 121, Califon, NJ 07830.

A. We can't be of any help on the above queries, and we do not have a paint match for Domestic (as yet).

26/11/3 DeLaval Engine Q. I have a DeLaval engine with no apparent markings other than the brass, tri-angular-shaped nameplate on the side of the water hopper, stating ALPHA and DLSCo. The unit is hit-and-miss with solid 16-inch flywheels. Can anyone help with the color scheme? Bill Sterling, 139 Candlewood Lake Rd., Brookfield, CT 06804.

A. Sorry, we don't have a color match for this one either. Can anyone help?

26/11/4 Thermoil Model T Q. I have a Thermoil 5 HP model that is missing the injector assembly. Since I may never find these parts, I am thinking of rigging up an assembly whereby I could install a spark plug where the injector should be. Of course I would also have to figure out a speed control and a mixer. Would this work? Wayne Rogers, Rt. 11, Box 433, Tyler, TX 75709.

A. Almost anything will work if we apply ourselves, and although this will be a lot of work, it still might be made into an operable, albeit not original, engine. However, the high compression ratio required for the oil engine design might create some serious problems. Certainly it seems appropriate to remove all the spacer shims between the rod and the crankpin bearing. It may even be necessary to put a spacer between the cylinder and the head to lower the compression pressure to an acceptable level. This can only be ascertained with some experimenting.

26/11/5 IHC Titan Jr. Engine Earl G. Bower, 1617 Douglas, Belling-ham, WA 98225, needs dimensions or a good photo and information on this model, in particular the rocker arm, ignitor, and crankguard. See his ad in the 'Wanted' section of this issue.

26/11/6 Famous Engine Etc. Richard L. 'Dick' Brown writes his thanks for the article on his engines that appeared in the January 1991 issue of GEM. Since then he has heard from four people having throttle governed Novo engines. Apparently these are quite scarce. Also see Photo 6A showing the 'before' side of a 1 HP hopper cooled Famous engine; Photo 6B illustrates the 'after' restoration side of the engine. Dick writes that his 17-year old daughter has already laid claim to this fine little engine! Dick's address is: RR 2, Box 336, Gilbertsville, KY 42044.

26/11/7 Bantam Tractor See the two photos of a Bantam tractor I found in an old garage. It is now restored, and I painted it Persian Orange. I have the original sales brochure, and would appreciate hearing from anyone having one of these tractors. Don Combes, 8536 Seward, Omaha, NE 68114.

26/11/8 Schmidt's Chilled Cylinder I have a Schmidt's hopper cooled, Type K, No. 70507, 5 horsepower model. It is missing all the governor parts . So far I have found no one who has seen a hopper cooled model. If anyone can provide any photos or dimensions for these parts, I will be glad to hear from you. William G. Doby, 1016 Buckhorn Rd., Mebane, NC 27302.

26/11/9 Sattley Engine Q. See the photo of a Sattley engine sold by Montgomery Ward. It is 3 HP, s/n 4991. I would like to know the year made, original color, and decals or pinstriping. Raymond Wickham, 628 Broadway, Dumont, IA 50625.

A. Our Notebook has DuPont 7498 Green as a comparable color match. We doubt that it had any pinstripes. There is no known serial number record for these engines.

26/11/10 Some Questions Q. I have often wondered why you never show or mention Corliss engines in the GEM columns. I suppose no one collects them, but still I am very interested in them, and would like to get more information on their history.

Could you tell me the pressure in a diesel engine cylinder at the time of the explosion? Also in a modem gas engine? Another question, how long would it take to empty a 4,000 psi oxygen bottle if it was suddenly opened all the way?

Is something wrong with me? I like my old iron as is-I mean all nice and rusty and dirty. There's more nostalgia to it that way, and you get the feel of it more. I even restored my Frisco Standard marine engine and left it rusty. Should I see a doctor? Why does everyone want their engines under glass? Robert L. Wurgaft, Box W 1-A1-2 (Dl8517)Represa,CA95671.

A. To answer your questions in order...since Corliss engines are steam engines, they just don't seem to make it into GEM, except perhaps as a model. There have been a few books reprinted in the past on the Corliss, but there's really not much information floating around on these engines at present.

The compression pressure varies somewhat in diesels, with some large Fairbanks-Morse engines having this set at 580 to 610 pounds. We have no idea of the explosive pressure in either gas or diesel engines without doing some research. We suppose the time it takes to empty the 4000 psi oxygen bottle will be in direct proportion to the size of the hole...seriously, we have no idea. Regarding your latter comment on unrestored engines-we would guess that everybody has their 'druthers. Ye olde Reflector has often used the analogy that we wouldn't want to kiss some gal with worn-out shoes, tattered clothes, tangled hair, and a dirty face! We'd much prefer our sweetheart in high-heeled shoes, a nice dress, pretty hair, and a clean face with just a touch of perfume! The same way with engines...we think that these old sweethearts deserve a facelift too!

26/11/11 Mietz & Weiss The Antique Boat Museum, Clayton, NY 13624, has a Mietz & Weiss engine attached to an 11 kw generator. It was installed in 1908. Since I am trying to restore it for them, I would appreciate any information on this engine. Robert O. Cox, PO Box 208, Clayton, NY 13624.

26/11/12 A Rusty Piece! Q. I have an old burr mill made by Wilson Bros, in Easton, Pa. However, it is badly rusted, and must be taken apart. Have you a way to get it apart without breaking the bolts? Any information will be appreciated. David P. Rhine, 1124 Park Dr., Palmyra, PA 17078.

A. The judicious use of an acetylene outfit will be most helpful. Heating the nuts on a couple of sides will usually reduce their unwillingness to turn. If any of them twist off, then it's a relatively simple matter of drilling out and retapping the holes.

26/11/13 Galion Roller Q. See the photos of a Galion Road Roller, grader, and rear-mounted scarifier. This is mounted on a McCormick-Deering 10-20 tractor chassis of 1927 vintage. Was the 10-20 a typical application for the roller? What is its color scheme? Any information will be appreciated. Robert Dahs, 4814 Delematre Road, Monroeville, OH 44847.

A. We can't tell you much about this one, although the 10-20 was widely used for such OEM applications. Then too, so was the Allis-Chalmers U, some Case models, and so on.