My Anderson Engine

Anderson Engine

Bernard A. Hines

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7197 Mississippi St., Merrillville, Ind 46410

Collecting old 'Hit and Miss' as well as other types of old' engines has been a hobby of mine since 1964. I am proud to say I was a collector student of the late Frank Miller of LaCrosse, Indiana. His passing was a great loss to me and many others.

Well, to get down to the point of this story - it was at the 1971 Ozark Reunion at Springfield, Missouri that I met Mr. Wilbur Thomas, then of the Nevada, Missouri area, recently relocated to a farm near Achison, Kansas.

Following an invitation to visit Mr. Thomas, my son Brad, Mr. Myrl Hix of Pittsburg, Kansas and I went there one nice day in the Winter of 1971.

We were met by a friendly Mr. Thomas and shown his engine collection.

After a lengthy visit and an engine-by-engine review of his collection, I purchased from him, the 'Anderson Motor' which is the subject of this article.

Mr. Hix from Pittsburg, Kansas returned the next day with my son Brad and me to pick up my engine.

I do not know yet what I have and I hope this letter will bring help from some reader who may know about the engine.

Pictured as it was unloaded is the engine, cradled in chain hitches. A cast iron pedestal base, purchased with the engine, is not shown in the picture.

Following is a description of the engine.

Two cylinder horizontal opposed.

4-cycle, throttle-governed, Gasoline, Spark-plug ignition.

5-1/2' bore by 5' stroke

Water-cooled (requires tower or tank cooler). No horsepower or speed nameplate can be found on the engine.

On the cast-iron cover of the crankcase, cast in raised letter is the following: Anderson Motor Co., Anderson, Indiana, U.S.A. E-70.

An embossed tag riveted to the cover tells me to refer to engine No. 759 when ordering parts.

The engine has a brass 6-point pulse-oiler, brass carburetor, brass intake manifold, brass push-rods, brass governor weights and brass water pump.

An extension of the cam shaft projects out from the crankcase and carries a timer which was later replaced by a two-cylinder magneto driven by the chain sprocket shown in the picture just back of the timer. The magneto, included when I purchased the engine, was removed for hauling. It bolts onto the rectangular plate to the left and slightly below the timer and sprocket.

The flywheel is 20' diameter and has a rim of cross-section 3' wide by 2-1/4' thick.

The crankcase was novel to me. It looks like a 12' diameter cast-iron pressure point pot with swingout bolts serving to clamp the lid in place. Bosses cast on opposite sides of the crank-case are provided for the bolted-on cylinders.

At left, my 'Anderson Engine' with pedestal base and magneto removed. At right is Brad Hines on the left conversing with Wilbur Thomas about Wilbur's engines -1971.

Valves are accessible through gasketed plugs on head-end of cylinders. It does not have removable heads.

In discussion with Wilbur Thomas he told me he had seen a picture in one of the magazines of engine collectors.

Mr. Thomas has had an interesting life which started out as a railroad telegrapher stationed in Colorado.

He has owned many autos which would make any present day collector envious. Motorcycles have also held Wilbur's interest and he talks of several old ones he has owned.

Wilbur can discuss engine technicalities in great detail and has thorough knowledge of the various types of ignition systems, in theory and in actual practice.

I consider myself fortunate to be able to correspond with Wilbur Thomas as well as Myrl Hix (of Pittsburg, Kansas) using our cassette tape recorders.

If you see Wilbur Thomas at a show, he will probably have the only one-cylinder inverted 'Liberty' engine I ever saw in working order.

After I had a chance to look the engine over, after approximately a 700 mile trip home, I was even more elated at the features of design found on this engine.

In the hope that I could uncover more information on this engine, I sent some data, on it to the Chamber of Commerce of Anderson, Indiana. They kindly referred my query to the Anderson city and Stony Creek Township Public Library.

Mrs. Esther Dittlinger, of the History and Genealogy Department of the library, researched the engine name and came up with references relating to the 'Anderson Foundry and Machine Works' and a picture of the Anderson Oil Engine which was apparently an early model engine built by the same builder as my Anderson engine. (Not necessarily certain however).

Mrs. Dittlinger was instrumental in opening the door to possible avenues of additional research.

I am still hopeful of getting some reply from someone who knows of this engine's source and/or who may also have a similar engine.

Perhaps this article may be the start of procurement of additional data. I hope so.

I mentioned Myrl Hix in the earlier part of this item. Mr. Hix is a steam engine model collector, builder and restorer with an outstanding collection in Pittsburg, Kansas. But - this is another story.