Some time ago, Gas Engine Magazine acquired a small collection of old photographs and miscellaneous information regarding the Dean Engine Co. However, our research has not led to any substantial additional information, so we are asking readers for feedback and any additional information or resources you feel may help us in our search. Until then, we would like to share with you what we have found:
We queried Kentucky resident and engine collector Tommy Turner, who has particular interest in Kentucky-based engine companies. Tommy tells us that, "Dean was in the foundry business, and this possibly led to the engine construction side of the company. They were located in Covington, Ky., directly across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, and very possibly had ties to the industrial manufacturers in Cincinnati. I know they eventually merged and became the Fox Reversible Motor Co., which built marine engines. There are a few around, but they are still a rare find."
In American Gas Engines Since 1872, C.H. Wendel states, "Dean engines first appeared about 1904. A sideshaft design was featured, and both the intake and exhaust valves were mechanically operated. The steel connecting rod was machined from solid billet. About 1907 the firm took the name of Dean-Waterman Co. This was followed by a 1910 consolidation of the Dean interests with Fox Reversible Gas Engine Co., also of Covington. Little is known of the company after this time. At one point, Dean engines ranged in size from 3 to 100 HP."
The Kenton County Historical Society Board offered input, writing Gas Engine Magazine that, "Dean Gas Engine & Foundry Co. apparently began in Covington in 1904. It became the Dean-Waterman Co. in 1907, then in 1910 merged and became the Fox Reversible Gas Engine Co. The connection is the name of a Dean employee - William Stephenson."
Note the above statement claims the Dean Gas Engine & Foundry Co. began in 1904, and that the company became Dean-Waterman Co. in 1907. And yet, old city directories claim the Dean-Waterman Co. was operating as early as 1904. This leads us to believe the first engines manufactured by Dean were likely done so under the Dean-Waterman name. The following business listings come from Covington and Newport, Ky., city directories:
• 1904-05, Covington - Dean-Waterman Co.,
79 W. 9th St.
President M.B. Dean
Secretary and Treasurer S.J. Waterman
• 1908-09, Newport - Fox Reversible Gasoline Engine, 1st and Washington
President E.E. Schmidt
Vice President M.B. Dean
Secretary A.G. Dean
• 1910-11, Newport - Fox Reversible Gasoline Engine, 1st and Washington
President M.B. Dean
Vice President A.G. Dean
It has been said by William R. "Jack," son of William Stephenson, that prior to 1911, William had worked as a mechanical engineer for Dean Gas Engines in Covington, Ky., and had designed and built an engine for a 40-foot boat to race on the Ohio River. It was successful, winning its race. This had to have been done about 1905. It was learned from Jack that this particular engine was an 8-cylinder inline 2-stroke engine with 12 carburetors The bore was 5 inches, as was the stroke, which results in a total displacement of 785 cubic inches.
Questions Looking for Answers
Given this information, some questions we would like to have answers to are as follows:
• Who was Dean?
• Who was Waterman?
• Does anyone have any original literature or photographs of Dean engines?
• Has anyone ever seen a Dean engine, or better yet, does anyone own one or know the whereabouts of one?
• What happened to Dean after the period following 1910?
If you can help answer any of these questions, please send any information you might have to: Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265; firstname.lastname@example.org