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Potter's Valve Actuation


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Gas Engine Patents of Note 

Little is known of the Valda W. Potter engine and very few, if any, exist today. However, Potter's valve actuation system, the focus of his patent, appears to have been a well-engineered design.

In his patent letter, Potter stated: "The object of the invention is, primarily, to provide a novel form of valve-actuating mechanism, which, while being extremely simple in construction, shall be reliable and positive in its action."

How it Works

Patent no. 951,965 was awarded to Valda W. Potter on March 15, 1910. The design is relatively simple, yet effective. A gear on the end of the crankshaft (c) meshes with and spins a "cam wheel" (d), which consists of a larger gear with a cam recessed into its face. The cam then actuates one of two levers (e), depending on which stroke the engine is on. The lever being actuated then forces a rod (f) back and forth, pushing and pulling an arm (g1) on yet another lever (g3). This lever is the final link in the mechanism, attached to the stem of the intake/exhaust valve to open and close it.

An interesting feature of this design is the interchangeability of the cam wheels, which allowed reverse rotation of the engine. This is accomplished in just a matter of minutes by removing the nut (e1) on the shaft of the first lever (e), removing the necessary parts, switching the cam wheels and reinstalling said parts.

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