Three New Books from Richard A. Day


Book Review

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Operating Instructions Palmer Marine Engine Models B. C. D and E Circa 1895-1901

A reprint of two different editions of Palmer operating instructions bound in 8 11 format with notes on Palmer history and advice on restoring and preserving old marine engines. Published by Heritage Engine Collection, 6 Windward Drive, Severna Park, MD 21146. Price $1.50

Restoration, Maintenance, and Operating Notes for Palmer YT-1 Marine Engines Circa 1921-1947, by Richard A. Day, Jr.

18 pages in 8 x 11 format, 7 pages of notes on the engine by the author plus reprints of Palmer operating instructions, a catalog sheet, a photograph of the spread-out parts, and a parts list. Published by Heritage Engine Collection, price $2.00.

1907 Palmer Brothers Catalog A reprint of the 1907 Palmer catalog in the original 5 x 7 format. 34 pages including notes and Palmer history by Richard A. Day on inside covers. Published by Heritage Engine Collection, price $1.25.

Dick Day is well known to collectors of antique marine engines. Probably there is no one more knowledgeable as to history of the manufacturers, technical developments, and good restoration methods. This was acknowledged in Stan Gray son's book, Old Marine Engines The World of the One Lunger. By profession he is an electrical engineer. Since his recent retirement, he has begun to publish some of his information. These three booklets will be followed by a fourth. That one will be on the Palmer ZR series engines, considered the Cadillac of work boat engines.

The booklet on 1895-1901 Palmers covers their very early two-cycle single-cylinder engines with make-and-break ignition. The four models are of four different cylinder sizes. The primitive fuel systems are especially interesting. They had several different systems in use. One was called a 'vaporizer system' and Palmer stated, 'there is no regulation of air. Regulation is by changing the quantity of gasoline.' (The later of the two instructions describes a 'generator valves' that includes a 'slowdown valve' to throttle the mixture intake.) Three is also a 'carburetor system'. 'The carburetor is a tank which generates gas by passing air through the gasoline.'

The instruction for recharging the ignition battery is equally amazing: 'To recharge batteries empty out the old solution and thoroughly clean the jars and scrape and clean the zincs and carbons. Use from 6 to 7 ounces of Sal ammoniac to each jar stirring well. Replace carbons and zinc elements and connect up as shown in diagram.'

This booklet will appeal to anyone interested in early engines regardless of whether his interest is in marine, stationary, or automotive engines.

The Palmer YT-1 built 1921-1947 was a popular small marine engine and a lot of them are still around. They run well and they have considerable polished brass so they look attractive. Anyone who has a YT or hopes to have one will find in this booklet all the information needed to restore and run one.

The 1907 Palmer catalog has been a rare book. Dick Day has done us a real service to reprint it. There is a photograph of one of the series B, C, D, E engines of the 1895-1901 operating instructions. It looks remarkably like an early Lathrop; I wonder who was first with this design. There are L and M four cycle jump-spark engines of 1,2, and 4 cylinders. Introduced in the spring of 1906 are the O, P, and Q, jump-spark two-cycle engines, very different from the 1895-1901 designs. Next is a big model K four-cycle two-cylinder with make-and-break. The B, C, and D (the 1895 engines again) are shown in stationary versions, with large double flywheels. New for 1907 were models S, T, and U which appear to be the O, P, and Q, with refinements such as detachable make-and-break 'sparkers' and an improved oiling system. A version of the M could be ordered with make-and-break and was called Model R. It is interesting that this adds $10 per cylinder. (The existence of this Model R indicates why the later T-head engine were designated Model NR for New R.) None of these engines were lubricated by oil mixed with the fuel. Dick Day notes that this had not yet been invented. Other items in this catalog area 'magneto sparker' that could be belt-driven to save the batteries, complete launches built by Palmer, and a portable saw to cut firewood.

This 1907 reprint is a good addition to any engine collector's bookshelf.

This book review was written by Max F. Homfeld, R.R. 1, Box 697, St. Michaels, Maryland 21663. Mr. Homfeld is a mechanical engineer retired from General Motors where he worked on engine design and development. He now does volunteer work for the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum where he is directing the restoration of their antique marine engines.