A True Engine Man

Old air compressor


Content Tools

4185 Graham Road East Jordan, Michigan 49727

Mr. A. D. Graham of East Jordan, Michigan, is a true engine man in every sense of the word. He is at home repairing and running his Baker steamer, adjusting a thresher properly, repairing an old one lunger, or building a scale model OilPull. In fact, he is able to do anything on, or with, old equipment and do it very well.

A. D. was born in 1909 when steam was king and work was hard, but rewarding. The engine bug bit him early in life, especially when at age 15 he started to run the Baker steamer that he still owns.

Over the years he has built, restored or repaired all types of old tractors, Model T Fords, steamers, engines, etc. All the items he builds are well done, both in appearance and performance. The following engines were built in the last five years with one in construction stage and more being planned.

Built from an old vertical air compressor, this engine has fabricated head, valves and rocker arms, Model T Ford timing gears, Wisconsin VE4 piston and connecting rod (rod modified in length). Its Model T Ford magneto was installed on the end of the crankshaft to supply electricity for itself and others in the immediate area. The engine block was drilled for auxiliary exhaust to aid in cooling. Governor, timer for the Model T coil, and fuel mixer are of his own design. The engine starts and runs very well.

This one is built from same type of old air compressor as engine #1, except it has the cylinder sticking up rather than down. It has new fabricated head, rocker arms, and governor, with some variations to engine #1. Flywheels are from International 1.5 HP. Mixer is a modified 1.5 Economy. Also it has an auxiliary exhaust same as #1, and his own design of timer for driving the Model T Ford coil.

Runs and starts very well.

This engine is of the gearless style with valve train running from disc and pin arrangement. Engine block from Wisconsin VF4 (one cylinder removed from double bank of two). Crankcase is fabricated from structural steel. Fly wheels and crankshaft from Tom Thumb engine, with flywheels put on the inside of the main bearing saddles, Wisconsin piston and rod. Cylinder head, governors, valve mechanism all home built. There is a Wisconsin single cylinder magneto and Briggs and Stratton lawn mower carburetor.

Engine starts and runs well. Very interesting to watch its valve mechanism perform its duty.

This engine is an eight cycle design. The block and crankshaft are from 1.5 Jumbo. All other parts were missing. Rather than go to the impossible task of finding original parts to restore the engine, he made all of the accessories of various junk yard parts. It has a homemade camshaft installed across the top behind the water hopper with a Ski-Doo bogie wheel running against the lobe of the cam and running along the rocker arm, extending forward across the top of the engine with linkage dropping down to operate the exhaust valve. Carburetor is from Briggs lawn mower engine. One flywheel is from an old feed chopper, with an Economy flywheel on the other side. The Model T buzz coil is driven from a homemade timer. Model T piston and rod (rod is modified to length).

The engine starts and runs well.

Construction of this engine started with a high pressure cylinder from an Ingersol Rand air compressor. The piston is from an old Chevrolet car engine and the flywheel from an old corn sheller or corn chopper. All other items were fabricated from scratch, including the crankshaft and connecting rod. It is also of the eight cycle hit and miss design like #4. Modern ball bearing pillow blocks on both the crankshaft and governor shaft make this engine run very smooth. The crankshaft is of the offset pin arrangement, like a single cylinder steam engine. Also it has auxiliary exhaust like the others, to aid in cooling.

This is an opposed crankshaft style with crankshafts tied together with roller chains. It has two Clinton lawn mower engine blocks with crankshaft modified and extended to accept the flywheels. Combustion chamber fits between the two blocks, complete with intake and exhaust valves (intake on bottom and exhaust on top). Exhaust valve runs from walking beam rocker arm, across the top of the engine and driven from overhead cam on top of left engine. Early Model T Ford timing gears with straight cut teeth driving the cam. Flywheels are from large gate valves, supplied by the East Jordan Iron Works. Centers machined to accept taper lock style bushings. The timer and mixer both are homemade.

This is a lever engine with lever spanning across the bottom of the engine with crankshaft driving the middle of the lever and the piston rod and pivot point on each opposite end. The cam shaft, governor, cylinder head, timer, etc. are all built from scratch. Carburetor is from Briggs mower. Ball bearings were used on main bearing, camshaft and governor shaft. Cylinder is from UF4 Wisconsin, cut in half, and this engine has the appearance of a junk pile coming to life when it starts. Junk it is not, but a mechanical marvel.