Thrall Marine Engine


Ed Thrall

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Surprises are always nice, but this particular July day was especially brightened by the receipt of a large box from far-away Sweden. The parcel was sent to us by Mr. Ingmar Pettersson, Kalhagsvagen 60, 26190 Zandskrona, Sweden. Within were a great many catalogs illustrating the recent and current tractors being built and/or sold in Sweden. Although the material is written in the Swedish language, the specifications are easily understood, as are some of the important features of the various tractors and machines. Needless to say, the Reflector is entirely delighted to acquire these materials, and of course they will become part of the permanent file. Portions of this material will eventually appear in GEM, probably in comparison to various American products.

One of our Canadian subscribers writes us of his disappointment with the response of American subscribers to his 'Wanted' advertisements.

As we see it, there are two sides to the coin. First of all, perhaps the 'wanted' parts simply aren't available at this point from stateside collectors. Then there is the possibility that someone having the required parts may not be willing to do business with a Canadian collector. We at GEM hope this is not the case! Despite occasional differences of opinion, particularly on the part of political bureaucrats, Canadian and American people have always enjoyed an excellent relationship, and we hope this endures! So far as this writer is concerned, some of my best friends in the engine and tractor hobby are Canadians!

A great many Fairbanks-Morse Type Z engines are equipped with the American Bosch AB-33 high tension magneto. Now here's a unit that seems to have no in between it works great or not at all! With this in mind, the footnote to this month's column includes service and maintenance data on this magneto. On studying it, you will note that even such a small item as installing the large return springs must be done in the proper manner for successful operation.

With shows in progress all over the country, most of our readers are obviously spending their time attending and/or exhibiting at same. This is evident by the rather low number of inquiries coming in this month, but we begin with a letter from:

21/9/1 Ed Thrall, 145 Chamberlain Road, Broad Brook, CT 06016. Ed sends us photos of a Thrall marine engine of 3 HP size. So far he hasn't seen or heard of another one. Mr. Thrall notes that this company apparently built custom-made railroad cars. Also, the company may still be in business.

21/9/2 Q. We have just purchased a Thieman tractor built by Thieman Harvester Co., Albert City, Iowa. Would anyone have information on this company? Jim Rings rud, 3407 Cherry Lane, #3, Fargo, ND 58102.

A. The Thieman people supplied the complete tractor frame assembly, less the motor. While the Ford Model A engine was recommended, the Ford V-8 could be used as well, as could the 1928 Chevrolet engine or the Dodge Four engine. Steel wheels were standard equipment, but rubber tires could be supplied as an option priced at $122.75. The tractor frame itself listed at $185, with the motor governor adding $15, the combination drawbar $9, a cultivator at $15, and an air cleaner for $7.00.

Thieman Harvester Co. owed its beginnings to four brothers of that name back in 1921, at which time ensilage harvesters were the primary product. Various other implements were added through the years, including of all things, steel burial vaults.

According to the Thieman family, production of the tractor began in 1936 and continued until World War Two.

To further answer your question, the Thieman was painted bright red, but we know of no one making a decal for this model.

21/9/3 Q. Have you considered publishing a book of names and addresses of collectors through the US and abroad? A directory of this nature could offer a great deal of possibilities. Collectors broken down by state, by what they collect, etc. I for one would be the first to purchase such a directory. L. E. Stevenson, 5N330 Petersdorf Road, Bartlett, IL 60103.

A. The Reflector thinks it's a great idea, so we'll throw it out to our readers for their response. Beyond this, the final decision rests somewhat higher on the editorial ladder.

21/9/4 Q. I recently acquired an Ottawa drag saw equipped with a limb saw. It uses an air cooled engine with the following numbers: Ottawa No. 12844, 6 HP, and on a separate tag is noted Type AEH, No. 581369. Is this a Wisconsin engine? Do you have any further information on this unit? I cannot find it in American Gas Engines. Gordon Ware, Box 324, Pownal, VT 05261.

A. The 'AEH' certainly indicates to us that the engine is indeed a Wisconsin, and you are right about NOT finding it in American Gas Engines. Our files have nothing on this unit, so we cannot provide color information.

21/9/5 Q. I have a Minneapolis-Moline tractor with engine number 550652F, Model KEF. The transmission is stamped UT-100C, KE151F. With these numbers can you tell me when it was built? Hugh E. Mead, Box 105, Palco, KS 67655.

A. Although the 'UT' on the transmission case seems to indicate a UT model tractor, the engine number certainly does not correspond with the data we have. We suspect that the serial number stamped somewhere on the frame will be required for an accurate date.

21/9/6 Herb Wessel, Fairmount Farms, 2200 Fairmount Road, Hampstead, MD 21074 sends along a rather detailed listing of J.I. Case tractor serial numbers to be found following this column.

21/9/7 Q. Can you supply the paint color for an Arco (Hercules Model S) engine, 2 HP, s/n 302115. Also looking for a replacement decal. Chuck Heckroth, 3506 Ackerman Road, Unionville, MI 48767.

A. The Reflector once owned an Arco it had original paint and a rather attractive decal. We would guess the color to be comparable to Ditzler 3048 Med. Wedgewood Blue (1981 Ford Truck). We don't know of anyone making a decal for the Arco engine.

21/9/8 Q. Can you give me the color scheme for an International 1 HP engine of about 1920 vintage? Also do you know of a source for the nameplate measuring about 4x5 inches in size? Howard N. Robb, D.O., 128 South Main St., Oakland City, IN 47660.

A. Per the last GEM, your engine should be a Type M, and as such would use DuPont 7498D green. This engine had no striping. By writing to any of several regular parts advertisers in GEM, you should have little trouble in securing either a new or a used nameplate.

21/9/9 Q. Where might I find a Webster Magneto Master Manual? Glenn Patterson, 601 Oakwood Drive, Clinton, MS 39056.

A. Finding this manual seems to be virtually impossible the best we could muster was a rather poor photocopy of major portions. Since there are many questions in this regard, perhaps it would be a good idea to consolidate the part number data for the many different bracket assemblies into a condensed format that would enable virtually anyone to identify the engine on which a specific bracket was used.

21/9/10 Q. We have what we thought to be an Associated engine, but it is somewhat different than anything we can find in American Gas Engines. It is about 2 HP, uses a Webster magneto, and has the number BH41 on the head, B34 on the hopper, and B22 on the engine base. John & Albert Levora, 62660 CR 380, Bangor, MI 49013.

A. Our Associated parts books show that their engines used alpha rather than numeric designations for their parts, so that would seem to throw the Associated out as a contender. Checking other parts books at random didn't give a clue either. When you can, kindly forward a photo, and from this maybe an identification can be secured.

21/9/11 Q. I would like to see a discussion in your column of proper techniques for painting a restored tractor or stationary engine. From my observations it appears that a quality restoration job is very much dependent upon the quality of the paint job. Questions that come to mind when considering the paint job are as follows:

1) How should the surfaces be prepared?
2) Should the primer coat be brushed on or sprayed on?
3) Should the final coats of paint be sprayed on only?
4) Should sheet metal surfaces be treated any different than other metal parts? Daniel A. Bowers, 1663 Maplewood, LaVerne, CA 91750.

A. Now folks, ye olde Reflector does his own painting, but that does not the Reflector a painter make! Most of what we know about it has come the hard and sometimes expensive way of trial and error. Since we believe this would be a most interesting and informative subject, perhaps some of you people who know something about painting will be kind enough to share some of your information with us. One important thing we have learned when using acrylic enamels is to follow the label very closely, especially where safety is concerned. With a can of this material before us, we see numerous cautions including one that says: 'Contains aliphatic polyisocyanate. . . do not breathe spray mist or vapors!' These and other cautions should be rigorously adhered to, lest you subject yourself to permanent injury! Beyond that, we invite those with expertise in painting methods to drop us a line.

21/9/12 Q. What is the year of an International Type LA, s/n LABR22611, 3-5HP? Would like also to know the year of a New-Way CH engine, s/n CT0784C. Thomas Milke, 3759 Huntley Road, Lot #37, Marion, NY 14505.

A. Your IH engine was built in 1941. No serial number lists are known to exist for the New Way engines.

21/9/13 Q. Can you supply the year built for the following:

Fairbanks-Morse s/n 112478
Fairbanks-Morse s/n 85192
Waterloo Boy s/n 201210
Waterloo Boy s/n 156657
Mike Nebosis, RR 2, New York Mills, MN 56567.

A. FBM 112478, late 1911 or early 1912; FBM 85192 does not match up to our list. No numbers are known to exist for the Waterloo Boy line.


Inertia & Pendulum Governors

On this subject, Mr. Frank J. Burris, 1102 Box Canyon Road, Fallbrook, CA 92028 forwards a detailed analysis of this unique governing system:

'The subject of this little yarn is timely, for I shall dwell on the principle of the 'Inertia Governor.' This mechanical contrivance is not to be found on gas engines but is rather a further refinement for certain types of stationary steam engines as employed those many years ago. Sometimes the speed governing device of this type is referred to as 'pendulum' governor; however, this is rather inaccurate since a pendulum governor for use on steam engines is described as simply one in which the centrifugal weights are suspended only from the top and therefore are subject to a pendulum action as they swing out and in according to the speed at which they are rotated. For portable and traction engines, while this type was utilized on early engines, it was not so stable as the suspension from both top and bottom as practiced in the Pickering design; for this latter feature counteracted any vertical up and down 'jogging' while in movement, since the 'swing-out of the upper arm was counteracted by the swing-in' of the lower suspending arm. Pendulum is exemplified in Jud-son and Corliss.

'But back to the inertial governor, which again was not suited to portable or traction use, since it was intended to correct for the first minute variation in speed while mounted on a solid foundation, as you will perceive as we go further into it. But it should be pointed out here that the inertial portion of the governing action is actually supplemented by a centrifugal action. The former is quicker to sense the slightest change in a steady rotation (and this is a very limited recovery action) while the centrifugal portion comes in to give an over-all pickup to initial speed. There are therefore two separate actions combined in this ingenious type of speed control. Its most desirable use would be in preserving synchronization between two or more stationary steam engines when separately connected to alternating current generators, etc.

'Accompanying is a sketch of one design of a so-called inertia governor. From it you may see that the counterbalanced or spring-loaded governing weight is so suspended that it can react to a concentric relative force about the flywheel shaft, as well as change its radius of action with speed as does a centrifugal governor. The inertial portion of control arises since a mass which is being rotated (or even driven in a straight line) at its own constant speed tends to resist any change in that speed.

'Another thing to keep in mind when considering this type of governor is that it is designed for a variable cutoff (variable valve-travel) type of engine; and therefore would be unsuitable for a gas engine, especially those of the single cylinder design, wherein the rotational speed is continually variable, especially with hit-and-miss control. The inertial portion of the governor is very quick acting; while the centrifugal portion may comparatively 'take its time.' According to available encyclopedic material, it appears that such governors have never been applied to throttle-governed steam engines.

Description of Inertial Governor Components and Actions

1. a-stationary steam engine crankshaft.

2. b-valve drive eccentric pivoted to governor disk support at '1'.

3. c-governor support disk keyed to crankshaft.

4. d-eccentric advance/retard control arm.

5. e-governor lever swiveled to control link 'd' and oscillating link 'P.

6. f-oscillating link pivoted to 'c' at lower end. (Note: there are only two pivot bearings on 'c' shown in double circles.)

7. g-governor weight shown in retarded position due to both the shifted-ahead position of c' and centripetal force due to momentary slowdown of flywheel under increased load.

8. h-inertial centering leaf springs anchored at heavy ends to 'c'.

9. i-centrifugal loading spring anchored at heavy end to 'c'.

10. j-direction of engine rotation of flywheel with 'g' tending to override the momentary slowdown from position 'g-1' to 'g'. Note: this slowdown also causes 'g' to recede from its high speed position of 'g-2' to lesser radius 'g'.

11. k-swing motion of eccentric about pivot point '1'. Note: due to the combined governor weight from both 'g-1' and 'g-2' the combination lever 'd' has caused 'b' to assume a position of MAXIMUM THROW thus increasing the amount of steam to be admitted directly to the cylinder from the fully-charged steam chest. In a throttle-governed engine, a simple centrifugal type governor would simply be more sluggish in action, taking several revolutions of the fly wheel to allow steam pressure buildup in the chest before admittance to the cylinder. Since a simple throttle governor causes reduction (and thus cooling) of the steam coming into the chest, this results in a loss of power availability from the steam itself and is therefore uneconomical to that extent. This is disadvantageous for traction and other engines which utilize fixed eccentric action and depend wholly upon changing steam supply pressure for control of speed. It is much better to 'hook her up' and keep higher steam pressure in the chest. This is more fully evident in the study of indicator diagrams, where efficiency becomes measured as a function of the difference between steam pressures at admittance and release.

'The contribution of inertial action in conjunction with centrifugal action (and the former cannot be utilized alone since at 'steady-state' no governing action would accrue at any of a terrific range of rotational speeds) is that the inertial effect comes into play the exact instant that the flywheel is slowed down even by a degree or so in even less than one revolution. A centrifugal governor would not be so sensitive and would require several revolutions of the fly wheel to come into full effect and then there would be more take up in buildup of steam in the chest.'

Laying up an Engine for Winter Edwin H. Bredemeier, RR 1, Steinauer, NE 68441 offers several suggestions:

'The ever present problem of an engine seizing is with all collectors. When storing the engine I wait until it cools and then take out the spark plugs and pour in cup of common engine oil and turn it over a few times. Then take oily rags and plug the exhaust and every month or so turn the motor over turn, no more, as the rings tend to scrape the oil film off the cylinder wall. By turning turn, it alternates the valve position. To loosen a seized piston I have used heat and cold. I put a bar across the bottom of the motor and drop a chain to the connecting rod, and two more chains back to the crankcase. Put a jack in to get some pressure. Put ice cubes on the piston, and then pour hot water in the jacket, and usually the piston will come out. Sometimes the rings are seized to the cylinder wall, and in this case removing the piston assembly can be very difficult.

21/5/32Onan generator Mark L. Rembis, 2190 Buford-Bardwell Road, Mt. Orab, OH 45154 replies that the unit in question is an Onan. Mr. Rembis also comments that Onan Corporation was recently sold with Cummins Engine Company acquiring 61%, and a British engineering firm buying the remainder.

20/2/46G-O tractor Back in the March-April 1985 issue, a reader inquired about the G-O tractor. Well, Berdell Huber, 10540 Shifferly, Bluffton, OH 45817 sends along a newspaper clipping of his G-O tractor. At least one of these still exists! The G-O was built by General Ordnance Co. at Cedar Rapids, Iowa about ten minutes away from the Reflector's home. Because of its proximity, a good deal of research was done several years ago, culminating in an article and illustration within Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors. Unfortunately, Mr. Huber's newspaper photo was too dark to reproduce again.

21/7/32Fuel Jet for FBM engine  Several readers went to the work of dismantling the fixed jet carburetor used on the Fairbanks-Morse 'dishpan flywheel' engine. The result is that the jet appears to have a diameter of about .026', or a #71 drill. This figure came from a completely original engine that is in excellent operating condition.