Coolspring Spotlight

The rare and the beautiful from the Coolspring Power Museum


Content Tools

The Regan

Manufacturer: Regan Vapor Engine Co., San Francisco

Year: circa 1895

Horsepower: 3

Serial number: 934

Bore: 4-3/4-inch

Stroke: 8-1/2-inch

"While N.A. Otto was putting the finishing touches on his revolutionary 4-cycle engine, D.S. Regan was at work to perfect it." (American Gasoline Engines Since 1872, by C.H. Wendel)

Regan worked to build a reliable low-tension ignition system, which was patented in his name in mid-1885. Another patent was issued to Regan and J.H. Eichler in late 1885 and they were in business. The patents were then assigned to a W.T. Garrett and later transferred back. But in the meantime, Garrett had sold an interest to a principal of Pacific Gas Engine, also of San Francisco. The lawsuits began, and in 1892 the court of appeals ruled in Regan's favor. During the interim however, Pacific continued to flourish, and in reality, came out ahead in the end. Regan was never able to accumulate the wealth or prestige that was perhaps his due.

This engine was sold by California Vapor Engine Co. It is on loan from the collection of Anton Affentranger Jr., Bakersfield, Calif. He purchased the engine at auction in Winnett, Petroleum County (population 492), Mont.

An ad for California Vapor Engine Co. states, "No steam, no coal, no fire, no boiler, no engineer, started instantly. New and improved engine made under our latest patents. Starting device for larger sizes, no more turning at flywheel. 3-4 to 60 HP. Marine and stationary."

Contact the Coolspring Power Museum at: P.O. Box 19, Coolspring, PA 15730; (814) 849-6883;