The first-ever 'coffee-table' book on development of the internal combustion engine will debut this fall from Devereux Books. Beautiful Engines, Treasures of the Internal Combustion Century, presents about 21 stationary and nine marine engines in full color.
'We felt the hobby and the field in general deserved a book with this level of quality,' said author Stan Grayson. 'The book presents the internal combustion engine as an important, collectible work of art just as automobiles and other antiques have been recognized.'
According to the author, the challenges posed by the project were significant. Chief among them was locating specific engines of the necessary quality in far-off locations. The book includes rare Lenoir, Daimler, and diesel engines from European museums and U.S.-built engines in private collections and from the Coolspring Power Museum and the Rough & Tumble Engineers Museum.
'We not only had to find the engines we wanted, but they also had to be accessible for the demanding level of photographs that were planned. Each engine had to be properly lit and presented in a professional manner. It required the efforts of a dozen capable photographers to accomplish all this!'
The color images of the engines are supported by carefully researched material describing the men and company behind each one. Much of the research involved original 19th and early 20th century books and magazine articles. In some cases, descendants of the inventors were located and provided additional information. 'We wanted to show the dramatic, nationwide scope of internal combustion and how the engines affected so many aspects of life,' said Grayson. Included are farm engines by International Harvester, Gray and others; stationary engines by Fairbanks-Morse, New Era, Foos, Witte, and others; a Reid oilfield engine; and marine engines as diverse as a rare, three-cylinder Hicks from California and a Speedway from New York. A chapter entitled 'The German Immigrants' Engine' tells the story of Charter.
According to the author, another objective for Beautiful Engines was to describe how the machines worked in terms that would be understandable to a general audience. 'When you're dealing with engines from the period 1861 to 1928, it's reasonable to expect that even the mechanically astute modern reader may need some help,' said Grayson. In most cases, important engine components are labeled for easy reference and many engines include material that explains the operating principle. Black and white drawings are included to assist understanding in many cases.
Beautiful Engines is hardbound with a full-color dust jacket that pictures a rare Springfield on the front and Samson on the rear. The book is 112 pages long and is printed on high-quality coated paper. There are approximately 156 color and black and white pictures. The book is expected to be available in November with an anticipated price of $49.95 plus $5.50 shipping and handling. Order direct (Devereux Books, PO Box 503, Marblehead, MA 01945, 781-631-3055), at www.devereuxbooks.com, or from bookstores or GEM.