R.R. 2, Vankleek Hill, Ontario, Canada
In your GEM, January February 1977, page 22, you have an article on the Gilson gas engines, so I thought that I would write you an article on what I know about the Canadian made Gilsons.
Up until seeing, in a back issue of GEM, an article on the makes of gas engines where it mentioned Gilson engines made in the USA, I had always thought that they were made in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
In the 1930 years I owned and ran a 12 HP on a small saw-mill. I do not know when it was bought. I presume some time in the first World War years, as I bought it second hand. It developed a small crack in the bottom of the cylinder at the head end right through into the water jacket. It did not hurt it when running, but when it set idle it leaked into the head. Being no electric welding in those parts then, I foolishly sold it for scrap.
It was a great old engine, very easy to start in the coldest days and a very simple engine in parts. It had a magneto, trip type onto a Ford T spark plug hit and miss governor. They had a very poor clutch pulley. I had two U bolts through the spokes on mine. There was a four inch sleeve on the end of the crank shaft and two tags where you clamped onto this sleeve, which was not much of a hold on a twenty four inch pulley, eight inches wide. So what happened, is that they just slipped on a heavy pull and if you tightened them too much the tags broke.
There were different rims on the pulley for different speeds. I had four-12', 16', 18' and 24'.
I have a pamphlet in color on the Gilson engines, circular saws, drag saws, Leed grinders, etc., made at Guelph, Ontario issued 1929. It is 21' by 28' and folded in half and half again which is getting the worse for the wear as it has been looked at so many times by many people.
They are very much like the ones shown in GEM, January-February 1977, page 22, except the base is in two pieces on skids and on the trucks the bottom half is left off so the engine is lower. They made that model in 1?, 2? 4,6,8,10,12 and 16 HP. They also made a 1 HP air cooled.
They made another model at the latter end of that time called a Gilson Wizard. I have never seen one. I have the pictures in this pamphlet.
I met a man two years ago at an engine show at Landingham, Ontario who had owned two, years ago. I believe a 3? and 6 HP. They were only made in three sizes 3?, 6 and 10 HP. They looked in shape and make very much like a type M, I.H.C. even to the enclosed crank case. They were a combined ignitor wizard magneto, ignition, carburetor on top of cylinder head, with one valve which adjusted to burn gasoline or kerosene. It was pumped up from a tank under the crank case by a pump on the cam shaft near the ignitor. The connecting rod crank shaft end was oiled by oil passing down a slot the length of the rod, oil coming from a hole in the piston which came from the sight feed lubricator on top of hopper. So you had to be sure that the cylinder got plenty of oil. They were a right hand engine, throttle governor. You cranked them on the right side as you stood looking towards the cylinder head. The other model of Gilsons were left handed.
There are pictures of their engine plant at Guelph with hundreds of engines of assorted sizes during different stages of manufacture. I do not know where they were all sold. I had the biggest one about here, any others about were 1? Today I know where there are two 8 HP.
The silos they made, which GEM mentions, were called Hylo Sylo, made of wood staves. I saw one. E. Barelman was president of Gilsons at Guelph during the time I write of.