The Domestic Engine and Pump Company was formed in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania in the summer of 1904, and began producing single-cylinder gasoline engines early in 1905. The Domestic Engine Company of Hagerstown, Maryland, incorporated in 1903, was absorbed by the new firm when the latter was organized. The 'and Pump' originally denoted the Etter 'Easy-Running' hand pump, to which the organizers of the new company had also acquired manufacturing rights. The company's products-pump, engine, and jack-were often sold together to overcome the drudgery of manual pumping and the vagaries of Pennsylvania winds. From 1905 until 1952, more than 30,000 engines were built in the Shippensburg factory.
Production began with the Type A make and break ignition series; about 10,000 of these were built in the company's first fifteen years, in sizes ranging from 1 to 12 horsepower. The Type F line of medium weight, spark ignition engines accounted for most of the remaining production. This series was introduced in 1913 and during its first six years included sizes from 1? to 15 horsepower.
One of the many reasons that Domestic engines are of such great interest to me, and I suspect to other collectors, is the wide variety of designs and design features the company produced, particularly in its early years. For such a comparatively small firm, a remarkable number of designs-all of very serviceable engines-were introduced in the period from 1905 to 1916.
The first Type A was almost certainly a 4' bore, 6' stroke, horizontal, sideshaft, hit and miss water cooled engine. Whether it was tank or hopper cooled is still to be determined; research on Domestic in this period is continuing. An educated guess would favor tank cooling, for the predecessor company used this approach, as did Quincy, Geiser, and Metcalfe, all nearby contemporaries. And five years later, the Domestic catalog showed more and larger Type A engines available in the tank or tray cooled 'Regular' style than in the hopper cooled configuration.
A typical 'Regular' portable outfit is shown in Figure 1. A self-draining centrifugal pump circulated cooling water from a 15 gallon tank mounted between the skids. Providing adequate cooling was a major priority with Domestic designers, so even the early 3 horsepower and larger hopper cooled engines were offered with this feature as an option.
The first (4x6) hopper engine differed from the corresponding tank cooled engine only in the design of the cylinder jacket; the engines were otherwise identical. The Smithsonian Institution has a good, fairly early example of this hopper cooled engine, probably dating from 1907, on display in the National Museum of American History. The earliest Domestics bore no horsepower designation, but by the time the Smithsonian engine was produced, a 1? horsepower rating had been added to the nameplate.
Although water cooled engines predominated in this period, three successive air cooled designs were also offered between 1908 and 1916; they never gained wide acceptance, but it is probable that a few hundred were built. The first air cooled was basically identical to the earliest water cooled engines, except for its finned cylinder. Both later designs had more fins as well as a shrouded cooling fan, belt-driven from one flywheel. In addition, the third air cooled (which had .sawed fins, resembling an aircraft engine cylinder) had an auxiliary port to release exhaust gas at the end of the power stroke, to improve cylinder and valve cooling. The early 4 horsepower and larger hopper cooled Type A engines also incorporated this additional cooling feature.
The popularity of the hopper engines gained steadily and Domestic was sensitive to the demands of the marketplace. A new 4x4 one horsepower hopper cooled was introduced in 1908, the 4x6 was upgraded to 2 horsepower, and a new 'three horse' was added, probably the following year. The Type A line ultimately included sizes to 12 horsepower; these were first offered as 'Regular' tank cooled engines, but corresponding hopper cooled versions were added in each size. Figure 2 shows a 4 horsepower Type A hopper cooled, mounted on a factory saw rig. The practicality of these simpler engines soon became apparent both to the manufacturer and the public, and by 1914 the 'Regular' engines were no longer offered.
The Domestic Jr., introduced in 1911, had several interesting features. This comparatively low cost ($60; later $55) and lightweight (250 pounds) 1 horsepower engine was designed for use on portable sprayers and for light pumping and utility service. Although its unique sheet metal hopper was its most immediately obvious feature, this was also the first (and only) Domestic having pushrod exhaust valve actuation. More important was the use of 'jump spark' ignition. This gave Domestic valuable field experience which led to the broad scale use of high tension ignition in the Type F series. Also important here was the first use by Domestic of horizontal valves in the cylinder head. (The valving arrangement of the Type A's more closely resembled what was then called the 'T' head design.)
So this first of the 'tin hopper' or 'stove pipe' Domestics was also in several ways the father of the more advanced Type F series. An early factory photo (Figure 3) shows Charles B. Segner, one of Domestic's founders, installing the sheet metal hopper on the 1 horsepower 'Junior.'
The new Type F line of spark ignition engines produced higher output for a given displacement than the rather conservatively rated Type A's. The new 2 horsepower (4x4) 'F' engine used the same block, piston, crank and flywheels as the 1? horsepower 'A'; however, a new water cooled head, with long valve guides, spark plug and reduced combustion chamber volume was provided. A new combined timer, speed control and spark advance worked in conjunction with a redesigned exhaust cam and rocker arm.
The new heads, valve gear and timers were similar on all the Type F engines, and the horsepower upgrade for each displacement was common, too, in the transition from Type A to F. The 2 horsepower 'A' was the basis for the 2? 'F'; the 3 horsepower 'A' prefigured the 3? horsepower 'F', and the 4 horsepower 'A' was the twin of the 5 horsepower 'F'-and so on, up the line. The 15 horsepower 'F', with 10' bore and stroke, was the only wholly new engine in the 'F' family, and it still preserved all the lines of its smaller brothers. The commonality of parts or dimensions between pairs of 'A' and 'F' engines provided valuable production and inventory economies during the period when both lines were built, and later when spares for each were produced and stocked.
The Type A igniter engines continued in production until 1919, so the buyer had a choice between low and high tension ignition systems over most of the horsepower range for several years. For both igniter and spark plug engines a wide variety of magnetos was available from the factory. And in the larger Type F engines, dual ignition systems were offered for several years. A battery-powered Ruhmkorff (buzz) coil was connected to one spark plug, while any one of a variety of high-tension rotary magnetos was coupled to a second spark plug, on the opposite side of the cylinder. Starting ignition was provided by the battery system; when the engine got up to speed the magneto was switched in . Although the battery ignition remained an option Domestic later largely standarized the Wico magneto in the early were 1920s and most of the later engines were equipped with Wico PR, AX, EK magnetos.
Domestic's market gradually shifted from general agricultural power and residential water systems in the first ten years, to commercial and industrial uses in the period after 1915. Large hoisting and pumping rigs were frequently built; many of these were used by heavy construction contractors or in marine applications. Figure 4 shows a 5 horsepower 'F' on a barge in New York harbor. This factory rig included both a hoisting winch and a pressure pump.
The sideshaft in time became almost a trademark of the Domestic-built engines. While a number of early contemporaries of the Domestic also used the side (or lay) shaft, virtually every other American manufacturer of portable engines had switched to the less-costly cam-driven push rod prior to the first World War.
In the later 1920s the line of single-cylinder engines gradually diminished to three: 1?, 2 and 4 horsepower. Most of these engines were intended for pumping service in construction, quarrying, or farming, and were equipped by the factory with either direct coupled high-pressure force pumps or diaphragm, mud or 'trash', pumps.
Engine manufacturing on any regular basis probably ceased before or soon after World War II. During that period, Domestic built centrifugal pump sets for the Marine Corps. These were powered by purchased gasoline engines-probably manufactured by Waukesha or LeRoi-as many pumping units from the late 20s and 1930s had been.
As late as the 1950s, however, service and parts for these durable engines continued to provide business for the various successor companies. The last recorded single cylinder engine shipped was a 1? horsepower Type F pumper, serial no. 30,420, on October 31, 1952.
Readers familiar with the Domestic line will realize that this brief summary has described only the most general classes of the company's engine output. For example, at least fourteen visibly different hopper cooled engine designs in the 1 to 2 horsepower range alone were produced between 1905 and 1930. Many Domestic-built engines left the Shippensburg plant bearing the nameplates of other sellers. Bond, Leader, Schramm, and Rider-Ericsson were major marketing organizations for whom Domestic Engine and Pump built and 'branded' significant numbers of engines. 'Shippensburg' and 'Fisherman' were other Domestic lines, less known than the parent name. Siamese twins, two-cylinder vertical side shafts, and a three-cylinder 'L' shaped compressor are some of the other rarities which round out the Domestic line.