We've been patiently waiting for this tome to be produced and C. H. Wendel has just completedAmerican Gasoline Engines Since 1872 for Crestline Publishers. This comprehensive encyclopedia covers manufacturers from Abenaque to W. J. Young in a whopping 584 fact-filled pages.
Wendel, who is well known to collectors as the author of Encyclopedia of the American Farm Tractor and 250 Years of International Harvester, spent over two years on this project. Over 2,000 photographs appear in the volume, each with a detailed caption-all darkroom work was performed by Wendel himself.
Much of the information in the book came in response to an ad which Wendel placed some time ago in theGas Engine Magazine, requesting data and information on early engine builders. In addition to the many individuals who assisted were universities and historical societies who responded to the quest for information.
Owning this reference allows a new or experienced collector ready access to answers to many of the questions we see so frequently asked in ourSmoke Rings column! Of course, the amount of information for each manufacturer varies according to the length and breadth of their production, but an effort has been made to include all known companies which produced (or even attempted to produce) gas, gasoline, alcohol, naptha, oil or diesel engines in the United States and Canada.
One finds several pages on familiar companies such as Fairbanks Morse, Olds, Otto and IHC, but also included is information on obscure firms such as the Henry C. Hart Manufacturing Company of Detroit, Michigan or the Foster Motor Company of New Haven Connecticut. In both of the latter cases, drawings and patents are all that remain for engines which may never have reached the prototype stage.
This book also goes far to clear up confusions easily caused by spelling, such as the difference between the Lazier Gas Engine Company of Buffalo, New York, and the Lozier Motor Company of New York City.
Wendel notes in his foreward that a great deal of the time involved in the book's compilation was spent in searching his complete run of thePatent Office Gazette, which provided irrefutable sources for patent filing dates. As he says, frequently the lag time in actual granting of a patent was so long, that the company may have ceased production by that time, and that the filing date was generally simultaneous to the start of production.
One of the immense challenges of a project such as this one, is that information continues to flow in- evidence of new companies or additional models, etc.-after the author has completed his initial manuscript. At some point, new additions have to be saved for new editions. While Mr. Wendel credits his publisher with taking new information long past the usual stage, he continues to have an interest in obtaining additional information. After collectors have purchased and digested this volume, they should send such information to C. H. Wendel, R.R. 1, Box 28-A, Atkins, Iowa 52206.
American Gasoline Engines Since 1872 has a publication date of September 1st and will retail for $34.95.