Euro Trip: Nuenen, Netherlands

Transatlantic gas engine tour included slide-valve engines at the Nuenen show, the Museé des Arts et Métiers and the Technikum at Deutz AG.

Crossley Engine

This 2-cylinder Crossley engine was rescued from a cookie factory and mounted on a trailer with a generator and compressor engine. It weighs in at a total of 30 metric tons.

Photo By Woody Sins

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Back in 2008, Wayne Grenning and I took a trip to Europe to see the engine show in Nuenen, Netherlands, the Internationale Stationaire Motorenshow Nue-nen. The 25th anniversary of the show was celebrated in 2012, so we made up our minds to go back, as they were featuring slide-valve engines. As those who follow the engine world on the Internet know, Wayne has been involved in restoring a 10 HP Schleicher, Shumm & Co. engine to its original slide-valve configuration. Thus, it was decided to go over to Holland for this event and see some other engines along the way.

We arrived Friday to a rainy reception. Unfortunately, it had been raining for several days, and the grounds were just like an American show after such weather. The show must go on, and it did, with a will!

There were no fewer than 15 slide-valve engines at the show, including the 1860 Étienne Lenoir engine owned by Deutz AG, the oldest running internal combustion engine in the world. Period. It was run twice daily, to the thrill of all. A very rare F. Martini & Co. slide-valve engine, made in Frauenfeld, Switzerland, and owned by Helmar Wischniewski of Zurich, Switzerland, also made an appearance. It was one of the most unique engines I have ever seen run, and believe me, I’ve seen a lot! There were also three Hille slide-valve engines made in Dresden, Germany, a Benier non-compression engine, a running 1-1/2 MP (man power) Bisschop type non-compressing engine made by J.E.H. Andrew and owned by John Palmer of England, and several slide-valve engines built under Otto licenses. These included a Crossley “piano base” engine brought by the Anson Engine Museum in Poynton, England, and a 20 HP, 2-cylinder 1887 Fetu-Defize & Cie engine, one of two from an opera house in Liege, Belgium. This unit, owned by Marcele Peumans, Herderen, Belgium, is the twin of an engine on display at the Rough and Tumble grounds in Kinzers, Pa., was complete with the large DC dynamo that it ran during its working life.

There were, of course, many other engines on the grounds. There were more sideshaft engines than could be counted, a marine engine made under the Brons patents that still bears the results of a Spitfire attack during World War II, and a Körting-type engine, made in competition with Otto, and partly responsible for the great patent war that Otto endured from other manufacturers.

One of the most unusual engines was a Ludwig Lowe hot air engine, designed by the Benier noted above, that was built entirely from scratch. This engine is an open-cycle hot air engine run on coke, complete with automatic stoker. A 2-cylinder Crossley, weighing 30 tons complete with its own display trailer, was another highlight. This engine is owned and restored by the Juffer family — father, Tieme, and his sons, Dries and Bert , from Oldebroek/Oosterwolde, Netherlands. It was removed from a cookie factory in Holland, restored and placed on a trailer for its maiden trip to the show.

This only scratches the surface of the many engines from all over Europe that were present at the rally. We were there Saturday and Sunday, with near perfect weather on Sunday to help dry out the field and lighten spirits.

That night, we visited the home of Leo Theunissen and his fine collection of engines. We were treated to a wonderful meal and a tour of his well-presented collection.

After the show on Monday, we visited Peter Van Der Kloot at his home in southern Holland. He graciously showed us his fine collection, including two Otto-style slide-valve engines in “barn fresh” condition, a wonderful Körting-style engine and many others.

We then went to the Museé des Arts et Métiers in Paris to see the various artifacts therein. This excellent museum features several engines designed by Forest, an early engine designer and contributor to the museum. Also included in the collection are a Pierre Hugon engine and two Lenoir engines in very complete, original condition. Other artifacts include Bleriot’s channel-crossing airplane, many excellent models designed for instruction, and scientific instruments and artifacts from all eras of history. The first self-propelled vehicle, a steam artillery wagon built by Cugnot, is also housed there. As a bonus, we got to tour the museum’s “reserves.” Only about 10 percent of the collection is on public display. The other 90 percent is in the reserves. Lionel Dufaux, who is in charge of the collections, was kind enough to give us a tour. We saw row upon row of the most magnificent technological gizmos I’ve ever seen, including another Biscchop engine, a 2-cylinder Forest engine and a model of a 4-cycle Forest slide-valve engine. The sheer number of items was overwhelming.

On Wednesday, we went to a special event at the Technikum at Deutz AG, Cologne, Germany, hosted by Holger Friedrich and Deutz. And what a time we had! The premier engine was, of course, the Otto-Langen atmospheric engine, the first production engine sold by Otto and Gasmotoren-Fabrik Deutz. They also ran other engines in their collection, including the oldest running 4-cycle engine known and a 2 HP engine, serial No. 3589, the 589th 4-cycle engine made. Another highlight was the 4 HP 2-cylinder electric lighting Deutz engine, similar to one that was installed in the cathedral at Cologne. The Lenoir engine was returned from the Nuenen show during our visit.

We met many people during our visit, all with a similar interest in the internal combustion history. Old friendships were renewed, and new friendships were forged. It was a most extraordinary journey into the world of engines.

• See video from Woody and Wayne’s trip to Nuenen  

• The Nuenen Internationale Stationaire Motorenshow 

• Contact Woody Sins at 3 Edna Terrace, New Hartford, NY 13413 •  

Read more about slide-valve engines in Slide-Valve Basics.