How Your Hobby Started Part XXIV

6 HP Lightning Engine

Ruben Michelson

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3904 47th Avenue S., Seattle, Washington 98118.

The ingenious ideas of some of the pioneer inventors of internal combustion engines were on the verge of basic principles of design that would have advanced the economic and mechanical features by many years had they had the conception to apply these experimental devices to practical use.

One of these mechanical parts commonly used on nearly all of the horizontal single cylinder style engine was the slide or side arm or rod that is necessary to operate the valves and igniter.

The development of this idea had numerous inventors using the side rod at an early date. John Charter's patent of 1883 used two side rods that were operated by eccentrics on the main crankshaft. One made the rotary valve system revolve, and one on the opposite side of the cylinder operated another valve. The function was different from the sideshaft found on Otto's engines of 1887.

In John Charter's patent of 1884, again he used two side arms and a rocker shaft to operate an opposed piston to the main power piston in the same cylinder. This auxiliary piston was not a power function of the engine, however the entire idea was one of the most advanced designs found today in large opposed piston diesel engines.

Had Charter only realized the possibilities of such an engine with no cylinder heads to leak, he would have invented the basic idea of modern diesel engines, some twenty to thirty years before the idea was put into present day use.

The same principle was built into very large multi-cylinder opposed piston diesels in European countries. On these engines, the construction was of the same general plan using vertical side rods to transport the power from the top pistons to the main crankshaft.

There was one company in this country that applied the idea of side rods and opposed pistons to the single cylinder horizontal gasoline engine in about 1905. This was the Kansas City Hay Press Company of Kansas City, Missouri.

Ephraim C. Sooy was born in Green Bank, New Jersey in 1848. He moved to Kansas City in 1882 and became interested in a number of enterprises including the Kansas City Hay Press Company. Mr. Sooy was an inventor of various machines used for baling hay, as well as the opposed piston engine.

This company was incorporated in 1881. After Mr. Ephraim C. Sooy became interested in the company, he was made President and served in this capacity until he passed away in 1927. His son, Norman H. Sooy, Jr., took over the duties of his father and was the head of the company until he died in 1968. The company is still operating under the name of Lightning Industries, Inc., manufacturing pumping equipment. The name of the present company was chosen undoubtedly from the name of their gasoline engine which was known as the Balanced Lightning Engine, and the Lightning Hay Press.

In addition, they built a line of scales which included wagon and warehouse dormant scales under the name of 'Victor' scales. The other products were feed grinders, horse-powered stump pullers, an engine driven walking beam pump jack and centrifugal pumps.

The Kansas City Lightning Hay Press Balanced gasoline engines were built in ratings of 4 and 5 HP in small stationary type and in 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 18 and 25 HP in the larger ratings and portable units.

6 HP Lightning Engine manufactured by Kansas City Hay Press Company of Kansas City, Missouri about 1900.

These engines were constructed on a cast iron sub-base which carried the open crankcase with main bearings and to which the cylinder was fastened. The cylinder was an open tube without cylinder heads. There was a water jacket around that portion in the middle, lengthwise, where the ignition took place.

Two pistons were located in the open cylinder. The travel of these pistons was to the outer ends from the combustion space at the middle. The forward piston towards the crankshaft was fitted with the usual type of connecting rod to the center crank of the crankshaft. The second or back piston in the cylinder was fitted with a semicircular round rod extending to both sides of the cylinder where it was coupled to side rods on each side of the engine. A housing shielded the back end connection to the piston. The side rods transmitted the power from the back piston to the connecting rod bearings of the two additional throws of the crankshaft. The crankshaft was forged from open hearth steel and was turned finished to size at the main bearings and the three throws which were set at approximately 180? apart. One of the outside throws was slightly above crank dead center and the other outside throw slightly below. At the instant of explosion the crank thrust was equalized and the vibration of the engine was almost entirely eliminated.

The pistons are very close together in the center of the cylinder at the time of ignition, and explosion created equal pressure on the heads of each piston which balances the thrust in both directions of their travel. The combustion space being placed in the middle of the cylinder, the igniter, exhaust and suction valves were also located at this point. The poppet valves were contained in removable valve cages. There was an auxiliary exhaust port that was uncovered by the pistons at the end of the stroke to eliminate the remaining spent exhaust gases and a fresh charge of air was taken into the cylinder through these ports to improve combustion.

My 1922 Fordson and plow (American made) as displayed at 1971 Rock River Thresheree, Janesville, Wisconsin.

A diaphragm type fuel pump lifts the gasoline into the 'gasoline well'. This is located along the cylinder and the pump maintains a constant fuel level at the mixing valve. There was an overflow back to the main fuel tank. The diaphragm in the fuel pump was made of leather and celluloid with a spring to push back the diaphragm on the return stroke. The pump stroke was set at about one quarter of an inch. The mixing valve was of their own design and consisted of a cast iron body with needle valves for adjustment. An attachment could be furnished to operate on natural gas.

An innovation found on some engines was used on the fuel system of these Lightning engines. This cooling system operated at the temperature of steam, and the steam was admitted with the gas and air to the combustion chamber. They claimed this mixture increased the power output of the engine.

The governor was of the pendulum type operated from an eccentric rod direct from the crankshaft. There were no cams or gears. It was a hit and miss governor which locks the exhaust valve open on the idle stroke. The alternating lever cannot engage the igniter trip lever and no explosion occurs. During these intervals no air is drawn in through the air intake valve nor gas into the mixing chamber, they being closed. The engine is in full motion with the cylinder breathing in and out of the auxiliary port and open exhaust valve. When the engine speed is reduced the igniter trip lever is engaged and an explosion takes place and the cycle is repeated.

A regular type igniter is used which is located on the side of the cylinder at the middle, lengthwise. The insulated post of the igniter has a continuous contact around the bolt. This so-called stationary contact can be rotated to give a new position to the movable electrode each time it is turned. The 'parrot-bill' electrode has one slight movement to the left to make contact with the electrode terminal then drops back out of contact by gravity. The electrodes are in contact only when the ignition is to occur, thus eliminating battery drain.

Specifications are not available giving the bore and stroke or RPM of these engines, however the prices and weight were as follows of the Balanced Lightning gasoline engines as built by the Kansas City Hay Press Company: (SEE CHART A)

CHART A

H. P.

PRICE

WEIGHT

4

$ 400.00

450

5

500.00

550

6

850.00

650

8

1000.00

800

10

1100.00

900

12

1200.00

1000

15

1400.00

1100

18

1600.00

1200

25

2000.00

1600

Past issue of G. E. M. has shown pictures of the Balanced Lightning engines as can be seen on page 18 of May-June 1968 Volume 3, sent in by Ruben Michelson, Anamoose, North Dakota.

A few comments about the principle of this type of engine as used today in the Modern Fairbanks Morse Model 38 opposed piston diesel engines may be of interest on this subject.

Fairbanks Morse first introduced this model engine about 1934 after exhaustive experiments and tests during the prior decade. These engines had more modern design in that the side rods were eliminated and the power of the upper pistons is transmitted to a second or upper crankshaft, as the engine has two crankshafts. The power from the top crankshaft is then transferred to the lower crankshaft by a vertical drive of bevel gears and flexible coupling.

The fabricated steel block of these engines is completely dry. In other words, there are no water or oil spaces in the block to freeze or clog. Each cylinder liner is a complete unit that fits into a cylinder space in the steel engine block. Each cylinder liner has its water jacket and oil and fuel connections which are connected to manifolds along the block.

Model 38 engines are built in 51/4 inch bore from four to ten cylinders and in 8 1/8 inch bore from four to twelve cylinders which encompasses a range of 340 to 3800 HP per engine.

The successful mechanical feature is still the opposed piston design operating without cylinder heads, and a completely dry block, and the transmission of the power from the upper pistons to the second crankshaft, just the same idea as the opposed piston gasoline engine of the early days.

A popular engine seen at many of the shows is the 'Ohio', built by The Ohio Motor Company of Sandusky, Ohio. From catalog No. 25 from Roger Kriebel, the statement was made on the flyleaf that the company had been in business for 18 years when the catalog was printed. The catalog appeared to be one printed some time about 1915.

These engines were built in ratings from 4 to 50 HP. They were single cylinder, horizontal, four cycle open crankcase and were hopper-cooled in ratings of 4, 6 and 8 HP. The larger units were closed water jackets with provision for cooling water circulation to a large cooling water tank.

The cast iron sub-base supported the crankcase on which was cast the long main bearing shells and the cylinder was bolted to the crankcase. The crankshaft was forged from open hearth high carbon steel and was machined all over. The flywheels were mounted on each side of the crankshaft with counter balancing. Rims were turned and polished and the hubs were split to make easy assembly.

The mixing valve was called by the maker in the catalog, a 'generator valve'. Located on the governor side, it was supplied with fuel by the pump located under the crankshaft extensions.

A lay shaft also on the governor side operated by spiral gears direct from the crankshaft. The functions of the shaft were to drive the fuel pump, the mechanical rocker arms for the valves and the igniter as well as the flyball governor. The igniter was located in the outer of the head on the 35 HP and smaller engines. It was tripped by a finger. It had forged steel electrodes and heavy platinum points. The 18 HP and larger ratings were equipped with match starters or detonators. The governor operated off the lay shaft by bevel gears and was arranged for speed control.

My Wallis Model K. I got it from the man that bought it new in 1917. I have another one like it, but a little newer I think. The serial number is gone from each of them. I wonder how many of these are around. I had a 20-30 certified, but that was different than the Model K.

Warm air was supplied to the mixing valve from an intake under the cylinder through the sub-base. A metal safety cover protected the crankshaft. Glass oil cups supplied lubrication to the main bearings and cylinder.

Special electric engines were built with heavy flywheels and close speed regulation for driving electric generation. Portable units with cooling water tanks were built on steel-wheeled trucks and with cooling water tanks in sizes of 6, 8, 10 and 12 HP. Vertical triplex pumps were built as combination units in various sizes.

Specifications of the Ohio gasoline engines were as follows:(SEE CHART B)

CHART B

 

FLYWHEEL

 

EXHAUST

 

HP

DIA.-IN.

RPM

PIPE-IN.

WEIGHT

4

32

335

11/2

1250

6

34

290

11/2

1650

8

40

265

2

2350

CLOSED WATER JACKET ENGINES

4

32

335

11/2

1000

6

34

290

11/2

1400

8

40

265

2

1900

10

46

240

21/2

2600

12

48

220

21/2

3000

15

50

220

3

3500

18

54

210

3

4500

20

56

190

3

5200

25

60

190

31/2

6000

35

64

190

4

10,000

40

66

190

41/2

11,500

50

68

180

5

13,500

The color scheme for the finish on these Ohio engines was a brick red with white striping. The word OHIO was painted on the side of the water hopper in black letters with white paint.

Palmer Marine and Stationary Gasoline Engines were built by Palmer Bros.

Engines, Inc. at Cos Cob, Connecticut. From a catalog from George S. Clark of Milford, Connecticut it was stated that Palmer Bros, started building engines in 1896.

McCormick Deering 15-30. My brother, Glenn, plowed with this and my WK-40 this fall-had a lot of fun!

These engines were of the vertical in line and multi-cylinder enblock construction. They manufactured three modifications of semi-high speed, medium duty and heavy duty machines. They were four cycle with closed water-cooling jackets and closed crankcase, float type carburetors and battery or magneto ignition with a speed control distributor. A governor was used on the stationary models and these units were built upon a high cast iron sub-base.

Specifications for the Palmer Stationary Engines were as follows: (SEE CHART C.)

CHART C

   

BORE &

 

MODEL

HP

RPM

STROKE-IN.

WEIGHT

YT1

2

800

3 x 31/2

215

PNR1

6

600

5x6

900

ZR1

7

600

51/2x6

900

PNR

12

600

5x6

1200

ZR2

18

700

51/2 x 6

1200

Specifications of Palmer Marine Engines were as follows: (SEE CHART D.)

CHART D

LIGHT DUTY

   

BORE &

  

MODEL

CYL

HP

STROKE-IN.

RPM

WEIGHT

YT

1

3

3x31/2

700-900

98

HH

2

4

3x4

700-900

280

LH

4

10-15

3x4

1000-1500

375

PAL

4

20

4x5

750-800

750

PB6

6

30

31/2 X 41/2

1200-1400

1000

GW150

6

40

51/2x7

1000-1400

3000

MEDIUM DUTY

PNR

1

6

5x6

500-600

400

ZR2

2

12

5x6

500-600

750

PNR2

2

12

5x6

500-600

775

PNR3

3

18

5x6

500-600

1000

ZR3

3

30

51/2 x 6

500-600

1100

PNR4

4

24

5x6

500-600

1250

ZR4

4

40

51/4x6

500-600

1300

HEAVY DUTY

F2

2

8-10

6 3/8x8

350-400

1600

F3

3

24-26

6 3/8x8

300-400

2000

F4

4

32-35

6 3/8x8

350-400

2400

F6

6

50

6 3/8x8

350400

3800

NK3

3

30-35

71/2 X 10

300400

3500

NK4

4

45-35

71/2 x 10

300-400

4200

NK6

6

80

71/2 x 10

350400

5600

All models had extended cast iron base with reverse gear and flexible coupling. Engines were 'T' head with open pushrods, water-cooled manifold and Atwater Kent ignition system.

The Reliance air-cooled engines were manufactured by Brackett, Shane and Lunt Company of the Haverhill Street, Boston, Massachusetts. The advertising literature from Phil King of Granville, Massachusetts describing these engines went to great lengths telling of the superior merits of their equipment. In fact, today it would be difficult to make such statements without being challenged by the Better Business Bureau.

They stated in the front of their catalog that--'The Reliance is the first successful stationary engine ever placed on the American Market'. They had built about 3000 engines when this statement was made, having been in business about four years. No date was given.

They built engines in both air and water-cooled models. Air-cooled units were made in ratings of 1, 11/2, 3, 5 and 10 HP. They stated they built water-

cooled units in sizes of 2 to 600 HP.

The air-cooled type was a four cycle single cylinder horizontal machine with cooling fins around the cylinder. The open crankcase was part of the engine base and the cylinder was bolted on the larger models. The valves were vertical with the top air intake and automatic poppet valve, while the lower one was mechanical exhaust valve, and which was operated by a rocker arm and pushrod.

The governor was of the flywheel type with weights on the flywheel hub. The engine speed was variable and could operate from 300 to 600 RPM. The mixing valve took fuel from the supply tank in the base and there was a four blade fan with screen to cool the engine mounted on the side of the cylinder and driven by pulley from the crankshaft. The fan was omitted from the smaller rated engines.

Engines were mounted on wooden skids with battery box for shipment. Lubrication was by drip oiler and grease cups on the main bearings.

Combination units were built with pumps, and auxiliary equipment could be furnished. They also were able to supply hot air engines but no ratings were mentioned. Saw frames, feed grinders and windmills were offered in their catalog.

An article covering old style Canadian built gasoline engines is planned for a future issue. Should GEM readers in the Provinces have catalogs or literature giving mechanical specifications of their engines, care to loan them to the writer for information for such a story, it would be very much appreciated.

Please send a list of what is available and arrangements will be made for the use of your material.

Bates & Edmonds 2 HP, No. 483. Owned and shown at N. T. A. Show in Wauseon, Ohio in 1971, by Andy.