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This month we have a couple of nice photos; the first is of a very nicely restored half-breed engine built by the Wise Machine Company and restored by Dean and Jeff Kelly of Geneva, Indiana. For those who may not be familiar with engines commonly known as half-breeds: they are engines which were originally steam powered. Usually the bed plate is the original steam equipment, and at one point, the owner has purchased a conversion kit from one of the many builders of these conversions. (See the illustration of the Bessemer version, half-breed). The steam cylinder would be removed, and the new gas engine block attached to the existing bed-plate, rods, journals and flywheel. Sometimes a heavier flywheel would be installed on one side to give the extra momentum, which is beneficial to an internal combustion engine.

During the era when operators of the oil fields were discovering that natural gas could be utilized as an engine fuel rather than allowing it to escape as a useless by-product, it became a very popular practice to convert the steam pumpers into natural gas-burning internal combustion engines, rather than to spend the extra money to repair and maintain an aging boiler and steam system.

The last photo is of a half-breed engine owned and restored by Ron Trent of Daleville, Indiana. Note larger flywheel on its side and the name 'Oil City Boiler Works' on the bed-plate.

If anyone has something that he feels would be of interest concerning Oil Field engines, please feel free to send it to me and we'll get it into the column. Also, if you would like a free membership in the Oil Field Engine Society, 'O.F.E.S.' please call or write.