Eclipse engine


Pete Kubala

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23/4/36Q. I have an engine with the following nameplate: Independent Harvester Company; 'The Farmer's Company'; Piano, Illinois; Ser. #1443 Model C 1? HP 550 rpm. Can anyone tell me more about this engine, when it was built, etc. Greg Dubay, 207 Legion Hall Rd., Dunlap, IL 61525.

A. Although we can't tell you much about the engine, we can tell you that Independent Harvester arose from the terrific fuss created by the merger of McCormick, Deering, Milwaukee, and others to form International Harvester Co. That whole deal stayed in the courts for about two decades with the U.S. Government coming after International under the Sherman Antitrust Act. Arguments pro and con often became 'heated', to use an old expression. The slogan of Independent being 'The Farmer's Company' together with their own title of 'Independent' probably was intended to put as much distance between themselves and the 'big machinery trusts' as possible.

23/4/37Q. Martin S. McKnight, RR 1, Mason, TN 38049 is a member of the Mid-South Flywheelers, and would like to hear from other clubs in regard to the pitfalls, etc., of organizing an engine show. He suggests that perhaps someone might wish to write an article or series regarding this subject-everything from the advantages and disadvantages of having a show to things like insurance, food, etc.

A. We can tell you for sure that there are good and bad points about having an engine show. As has been mentioned from time to time in GEM, the liability insurance problem is probably one of the biggest drawbacks, and probably will remain so unless and until state or federal laws limit some of the gigantic damage awards in liability cases. We doubt it to be an exaggeration to suggest that if your parking lot was as smooth as a billiard table, yet the night before the show, a big badger carved a most obvious hold in the earth, and the next day, someone steps in the hole and sprains an ankle, skins their knee, and suffers all manner of bruises, bumps, abrasions, and contusions, if it ends up in court, there is probably a good chance that your club, and perhaps your membership, might have to fork over some big bucks just because of that hole the badger dug the night before.

Beyond such things come the matters of food, water, restrooms, and many other little things one would normally not think about. For many of the larger shows, filling these needs evolved over several years, or even several decades, so they have a distinct advantage in knowing the needs and requirements. Perhaps one of our readers can compile some ideas for potential show organizers.

23/4/38Q. Enclosed is a picture of my 1918 FBM Eclipse on a 1918 Galloway cart. This engine runs well, does not jump, and does not sling oil either. My question is: What is the difference between the # 1 and # 1 - A Eclipse engines? Also the #2 and #2-A Eclipse engines. I have seen both with one or two flywheels. I also understand that these engines were not horsepower rated. Both the early and the late models were marked the same. Pete Kubala, 3901 Heavenly Way, Valley Station, KY 40272.

A.  We've discovered since that this particular theory didn't hold up, and as Mr. Kubala suggests, both the early series and the later ones of the 1930's were marked the same. In fact, it appears these engines had great similarities, albeit that the later series carried several design improvements. Our files on Fairbanks-Morse are insufficient to give us any precise answers to Mr. Kubala's questions, so we turn this one out to our readers.

23/4/39Calvin W. Brookover, 10907 Cleveland, Kansas City, MO 64137 would like to hear from anyone with a Universal Rock Crusher, as his machine is missing a part. The nameplate data reads: Universal Crusher Co.; No. 117; Pat'd. Dec. 18, 1906; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; 16 inch flywheels. Kindly write Mr. Brookover if you are able to help.

23/4/40Q. I desperately need information on an antique air compressor manufactured by Brunner Mfg. Co., Utica, NY. The only identifying numbers are: #201 on cylinder, 20101 on base, and 83201 on a small tank which holds the base. I called Utica and was referred to Wilmington, Delaware, but the company is going out of business and has no literature or information on outdated equipment. In fact, they knew only of a Model 901 from the 1940's. What 1 need is information, literature, etc., to help me place the lines, gauges, etc., as they should be, along with the correct colors. Would also like to know the date built for a Stover engine, TB211978. Jack W. Stone, 79 Sparks Ave., Pennsville, NJ 08070.

A. We can't tell you a thing about the Brunner compressor, but we can tell you that the Stover engine was built in 1930.

23/4/41Thanks to Dennis Silva, 10 Arrowhead Drive, Griswold, CT 06351 for sending a photocopy of the Hurst Greyhound engine offered by H.L. Hurst Mfg. Co., Canton, OH at an unspecified date. The engine has a tremendous resemblance to the Ideal Type C engines. (Unfortunately, photocopies will not reproduce very well for the magazine).

23/4/42Q. Can you supply the year built for the following engines: 1) Hercules 5EK HP, s/n 122976; 2) John Deere 3 HP, s/n 304302; 3) Fairbanks Morse 3 HP, s/n 725233? Jeffrey J. Johns, 2881 Willow #170, Clovis, CA 93612.

A. In answer: 1) no information available; 2) specific data should be available from the John Deere Archives, Deere & Company, Moline, II; 3) engine built in 1929.

23/4/43Wayman Griggs, RR 2, Box 179-A, Stewartsville, MO 64490 encloses a picture of his Nielson engine (see photo). Built by H.P. Nielson, and described on page 346 of American Gas Engines, this engine appears to be one of a kind, since Mr. Griggs received not a single response to his query in GEM over a year ago. The engine is now restored and has been out to a few shows.

23/4/44Q. I have a Challenge 1? HP engine and would like to know when it was built, also the proper colors. Tom B. Schwartz, 6572 Falstaff Terrace, Woodbury, MN 55125.

A. Somewhere in our files we have some information on an individual, somewhere in Illinois I believe, with information, decals, etc. on the Challenge engines. Perhaps he, or another reader might be able to get you this information, since we are presently at a loss to tell you.

23/4/45Q. I ' m restoring a Sears-Roebuck 'Economy' tractor with a Model A Ford motor, Model No. 220-25, s/n 1227, and would like to know the year built, proper shade of red, etc. on this unit. Bruce Atkinson, P.O. Box 65, Monrovia, IN 46157.

A. These are indeed scarce judging from the very few we've ever heard about. We recollect an old neighbor with one of these many years ago, and judging from his comments, there were probably some better tractors around the area.

23/4/46Q. I'm looking for any information on a 1934 Plymouth tractor made by Fate-Root-Heath Company, Plymouth, OH. The tractor has a wide front end, uses a Hercules IXA engine, and is s/n A180BM1. All castings begin with 'PTA'. Daniel Reeve, 331 Norton Road, Kensington, CT 06037.

A. Can any of our readers help Mr. Reeve? We have virtually no information on F-R-H.

23/4/47John McDivitt, Box 62, Saxonburg, PA 16056 needs information on the Franklin valveless gas engines.

23/4/48I have a Mall Tool Company chain saw that has a leaky gas tank that cannot be repaired. I have taken it to the best shop in the country. They say that no repair is possible. I ordered gas tank sealant, that did not stop it. Where can I buy an old saw with no leaks? The nameplate reads: Mall Tool Co.; Model 12A; Assembly No. 35250; Serial No. 808534. Any help will be appreciated. Howard Metcalfe, RR 1, Box 25, Durham, OK 73642.

23/4/49Q. I would like some help in determining the application for a Dixie Type H magneto. The plate contains this data: Pat. Nov. 1, 1904; Feb. 12, 1913; Dec. 16, 1913; July 28, 1914, etc. It is a gear-type magneto, one cylinder, and has a hinged cover to adjust the points. Any help will be appreciated. Wes Hrydziusko, RR 1, Box 165, Windsor, VT 05089.

A. From the general description, this magneto was quite possibly used on a Cushman one cylinder vertical engine. However, these magnetos were available with the necessary brackets, chain, etc. to work on many different makes of engines, being sold by Dixie as a complete kit.

23/4/50Q. I'm getting ready to refinish a John Deere Model B, 1936 model and would like to color match it to the green as used at that time, but the dealers want me to go with present-day John Deeere green, and say they can't help me with the original color. Any assistance in this regard will be appreciated. William Yant, 5996 Horseshoe Road, Delaware, OH 43015.

A. We've gone through all of our files on this matter, and can find nothing. Since this question has come up before, and probably will come up again, can any of our John Deere collectors furnish the correct color match for the John Deere Green as used in the 1920's and 1930's? OR, has it remained the same through the years? Let's hear from you!

23/4/51Q. I have a Case Model C tractor, s/n 313971, and would like to know the year built. Also when I paint this tractor, how do I get a good shiny finish? Eric Blazek, 8007 Cry. A West, Lena, WI 54139.

A. Our information gained from back issues of the Red Tractor Book indicates that the Case tractors from 1938 to 1953 can be dated from the first two digits of the serial number, minus four to get the year. In other words a tractor with the number 421072 would then be a 1938 model. This rule obviously doesn't hold true in this case, since 31 minus 4 would leave 1927 as the date, and the C wasn't tested at Nebraska until August, 1929. Perhaps some of our readers might have a listing of Case serial numbers. Getting a good finish requires getting a good base. That's done with thorough cleaning, perhaps even sandblasting, and then using the proper primer and sanding it out. A good finish might require several applications of the color, sanding it out between coats.


23/2/40 Lawn mower engine The engine on the mower appears to be a Cushman 'Husky', built by the Cushman Company, Lincoln, Neb. These engines were very similar to those used on the Cushman Motor Scooters.

23/2/44 Sattley engine The location of the fuel tank for this Sattley engine is between the skids under the engine. Also see drawings of the tank and skids for this engine. This and the previous one submitted by R.D. Hamp, 1772 Conrad Ave., San Jose, CA 95124.

Witte Engine serial number updateWe are informed by Dick Hamp (see address above) that additional Witte records have been located, and although it may take considerable time, the company seems most accommodating in dating early Witte engines and supplying the needed information. Once again, their address is: National Oilwell, McAlester Works, P.O. Box 1328, McAlester, OK 74502. When sending in for information, be sure to enclose entire nameplate information. Also helpful for their records would be front and side color pictures of the engine(s).

Color for Woodpecker engines Daniel Reeve, 331 Norton Rd., Kensington, CT 06037, reports he has learned that the proper color for these engines is DuPont Centari #7498AH, also called 'National Fleet Green'.

Cold manifoldsRegarding 22/12/2, the 10-20 McCormick-Deering cold manifolds were also used on the P-30 and U-10 power units when operating on natural gas. I would also like to see a history of the Wico Magneto Company in GEM. When did they change the name from Witherbee Igniter Company to Wico Electric Company?

We've gotten a number of additional letters on the subject of cold manifolds, with many people indicating that similar conversions were available for tractors other than McCormick-Deering. We at GEM agree that a history of Wico would be most interesting. Who has enough data and information to get this project underway? Let us know!

23/1/7Rubber tracks on CletracI was born and raised in Cletrac country in Eastern Pennsylvania. This was a concentrated potato raising area from shortly before World War I to about 1970. During that same period of time there was a dealer in Neffs, PA, J.M. Snyder &Son; that had the IHC agency, and also sold Hart-Parr and Cletrac tractors. In 1929 when the Oliver Corporation was formed by merger of Oliver, Hart-Parr, Nichols & Shepard, and American Seeding Machine Co., Snyder's went exclusively with Oliver, dropping IHC completely. In about 1936 Oliver came out with the 70 Row-Crop tractor complete with rubber tires, electric starter and lights, PTO, belt pulley, and power implement lift. About the same time Cletrac came out with the Model E, a 3-plow tractor available in various track gauges from 38 to 72 inches. The most popular was the E-68 gas model, as it would straddle 2 potato or corn rows, and also was very stable on hillsides. It was also available in a high-clearance model and with a Buda Diesel, but very few diesels were sold in this area. The Snyder Oliver agency also took on Silver King tractors and handled John Bean sprayers. Between the Oliver 70 and the Cletrac Model E, there were at least 40 of each of these tractors on farms of 100 acres each, within a 10-mile radius of their dealership.

Now to the rubber tracks on crawlers. About 1939 Cletrac sold the rubber tired General, and several years later this General was put on tracks, being known as the HG Cletrac. The Model E was discontinued in 1942, due to the war, and especially since two of the HG crawlers could be made with about the same amount of metal that it took to make one Model E. Incidentally, the Model E used the same Hercules OOC engine as used in their previous Model 15 crawler, and also used by Massey-Harris in their 4-wheel-drive tractors.

During World War II, in 1944 I believe, Oliver bought the Cletrac line. Cletrac was heavily into war production. They made a large crawler with rubber tracks for the Air Force for use on paved runways, and a few of them were sold in this area as war surplus in the late 1940's. They were soon abandoned somewhere, for the tracks soon stretched to the point of not staying on the tractor, or tearing up completely, with no replacement available except at a great expense. Evidently Oliver-Cletrac decided to build a few of the HG crawlers, or the OC-3 as it was later called, with rubber tracks. A few of these were sold new from Snyder's at Neffs, PA, but it developed the same stretching and tearing problems as before. To my knowledge, the Oliver Corporation replaced all of these rubber tracks free of charge, with the regular metal tracks and the necessary drive sprockets. So, the answer is-Yes, Oliver had rubber tracks!

When Oliver came out with the 77 Row-Crop tractor, they also experimented with an OC-6 crawler, which was really a 77 mounted on tracks. By the time it was perfected, the White company was in the picture, and potato farmers were getting scarce in this area. There were very, few OC-6 crawlers sold, as most farmers were still wearing out the Model E and HG crawlers by retirement time. Farm equipment dealers in this area are few and far between. The Oliver Co. and Snyder's no longer exist, and the potato farms are real estate developments in this part of Pennsylvania. David C. Semmel, Box 385, RD 1, Pine Street, Slatington, PA 18080.

Majestic Engine on January 1988 GEM In the December 1986 GEM I asked a question about an engine I had just restored (21/12/24). On the cover of the January 1988 GEM there is a photo of the same engine; the owner said it is a 'Majestic' engine. Did Sandy McManus manufacture engines for Majestic? Did Sears-Roebuck sell 'Majestic' engines? Fred Marineau, RR 1, Box 180, Wallace, MI 49893.

First of all, Sandy McManus Company did not manufacture any engines at all-they simply put on a brass tag with their name and went to selling engines. Instead, the Majestic title is but one of many, including the Sandow engines of Sandy McManus that emerged from Waterloo, Iowa. There are strong indications that the foundry and machine work was done in the plant of Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company. Since this firm had the foundry and machine capacity, it was probably good business to utilize them rather than raise the tremendous amount of capital for a foundry and machine shop. Quite a number of distinct engine 'makes' bear the same general appearance, and were undoubtedly from the Waterloo factories, even though the nameplate suggested a place far, far away.

23/1/40Aermotor windmills Aermotor Co. was located at Chicago, Illinois until labor unions demands would force them into bankruptcy. They closed up in Chicago and moved to some southern state and operated from there. Then they were induced to move someplace in South America where they are still manufacturing windmills and parts. I know, because I purchased some new parts in 1985 from a windmill service man.

From 1944 to 1948 I owned and operated a hardware, implement, and pump & windmill, plumbing and heating business and Aermotor could not meet union demands without increasing the price of the windmills by 50% and their competition were not being forced to raise their price. I live just 30 miles from where the Dempster windmills were made. Windmills use the cheapest form of energy utilized by the American farmer.

At 76 I erected my 30 foot windmill to use to pump water for livestock. The tallest I ever sold was a 60 foot tower with an 8 foot wheel. Edwin Bredemeier, Route 1, Box 13, Steinauer, NE 68441.

22/12/21Goodhue corn husker In the 1930 FIN Buyer's Guide, it shows a U.S. Goodhue manufactured by U.S. Wind Engine & Pump Co., Batavia, IL. In the 1946 Millard's Directory it is listed under Corn Harvester Corporation, Milwaukee, WI (Corn Harvester and Rosenthal were the same company). This listing remained in effect, parts only, until 1952. The 1958 Buyer's Guide shows parts available from Rosenthal Corn Husker Co., Mukwonago, WI. A 1934 model featured Timken bearings but still used wood construction, and looks just about like the old original Goodhue. Wayne D. Jacobs, 220 N. Water St., Pinconning, MI 48650.

Recharging magnets on AB-33 or AB-34 The American Bosch AB-33 and AB-34 ED 1 magnetos need special charging blocks. Make a set of two charging blocks as follows: Cut two pieces of bar stock, ? x 1? and 17/8 inches long. Cut two more pieces ? x 1? x 5/8 inch long. Drill and tap, or weld one short piece to a long piece, finally ending up with two L-shaped blocks that will fit in between the four stud bolts that hold the magnets to the magneto. Be sure the blocks fit up nicely to get the maximum mating surface between the magnets and the charger poles.

When you get ready to charge, do not take the magnets off of the magneto-always charge the magnets while they are on the magneto.

You can't charge magnets with a Mickey Mouse charger. The best ones I have ever seen are homemade, and made by someone who really understands what he is doing.

I like to charge magnets three times, and count to five each time the charger is turned on. I use a small ball peen hammer the first time I turn the charger on to tap the magnets to set the molecules in the magnets.

Some additional instructions on the AB-33 and AB-34: When you are ready to charge, take a compass and have the magneto with the trip lever facing you. The pointer on the compass should point to the left side magnet when you hold the compass on the left side of the magneto. If the 'S' on the compass points toward the left magnet, reverse the magnets on the magneto so the pointer on the compass points toward the left magnet on the left side of the magneto. This is very important, as I have had two AB-33 magnetos I have tried to make work and they won't work right if you don't have the magnets right. There seems to be some relationship between the magnet poles and the direction of the coil wires on these magnetos. Hope this information might be of help to someone working with these units. Some of this was shown to me by a man 85 years old who has worked with magnetos all his life. William C- Kuhl, 464 S. 5 St., Sebewaing, MI 48759.

IHC LA colorsIn the January 1988 issue, page 20, you note that the IHC LA engines are simply IHC red. Mine has the original paint. It is a 1936 LA and is dark gray with IHC red on the flywheel and pulley only. Herman Tomah Jr., RR 1, Box 135, Morgan, MN 56266.


Some of our readers would like to see more articles on model building, especially by some of the model builders that have been at it for quite a few years with model kits, etc. Reader preference seems to vary too, with some preferring true scale models of original designs, while other builders prefer a freelance design and/or a modified scale model. We here at GEM would certainly hope that more of our model builders, both the old hands and the neophytes, would share their activities with us. Realizing that true-to-life modeling and freelance modeling both have their partisans, we're content to let things go at that in the hope that regardless of which style suits your fancy, we can all learn from each other!

Small steam engine, February 1988 GEMWendell Allen, RR 3, Box 383, Eldorado Springs, MO 64744, writes concerning his scale model steam engine in the above issue: This engine was bought at an estate sale years ago in totally locked up condition, although it is free now. Could it have been an old circus popcorn engine?

You mention steam admission and exhaust ports. The cylinder has 1? inch pipe hole in the center at top and bottom. The valves are operated from a cam action on the crankshaft by way of two cast rods that rock the valves back and forth. At the present time we have them set so that two valves are open and two are closed; they can be set in any position by means of setscrews. Also, can you tell me year built on McCormick-Deering engine, AW78993.

The engine above was built in 1929.Regarding the little steam engine, several possibilities exist, including the definite possibility that the real truth may never be known, since this engine might well have been the product of the late inventor's own imagination. For all we know, even had he been able to complete the engine, it may not have performed with any great success.

We do, however, lean toward the possibility that the engine was intended to be a model of the Corliss, due to the wrist plate and radius rods. Missing, however, is the knock-off lever, hook, and other parts required for the admission valves. A major feature of the Corliss design was that it permitted the steam admission to vary by direct governor control without altering the exhaust valve settings-a feature impossible to achieve with the common slide valve. Thus, for this model to work, it seems to us that it might be necessary to 'finish' the engine by adding these parts, plus the governor, and other required mechanisms. We suggest talking with someone who perhaps has built a scale model Corliss engine, show this person your engine, and perhaps determine from there what the original builder intended. Let us know how everything works out!

Modeling farm equipmentI'm writing to see if anyone can provide some advice on modeling several different antique tractors, implements, crawlers, etc., but so far I can find no source of detailed drawings that include dimensions, etc., to help me scale the full-size counterpart. Any information on scale model building and related subjects will be appreciated. Bruce Gregory, 325 N. Iowa, P.O. Box 778, Atwood, IL 61913.

We think the camera is a good place to start, taking lots of different views, and meanwhile jotting down dimensions of various components in a notebook. Later on, it's not so hard to interpolate the figures and get a pretty close idea of the scale. Old advertising catalogs and parts books are especially helpful, as they often show individual parts and also illustrate various part assemblies. We really don't know of much in the way of finished drawings for models, except perhaps for a few engine models. Perhaps some of our readers might wish to contribute their methodology to the Modelmaker's Comer.

Aermotor style model Norman D. Brockelsby, 909 W. North Front St., Grand Island, NE 68801, sends a photo (MM-1) of a Norman engine in the fluted hopper style. The little magneto is nonworking, but is an attractive little accessory that can be built from shop stock. The one in hand will drop into a 35mm film canister.  

A new model engine Eddie Mittelstadt, Box 957, Eldorado, Iowa 52175, sends us a couple of photos (MM-2 and MM-3) illustrating a freelance model constructed this winter. Eddie used two of the Hired Man casting kits supplied by Paul Breisch. So far Eddie has built 42 model engines, with 12 of them being hot air engines. He really enjoys model making as a hobby after spending 50 years as an auto and tractor mechanic. The last thirty of these years were spent in his own shop at Eldorado, Iowa, population 125.  


This past summer ye olde Reflector set up shop here in Iowa's Amana Colonies, but continuing to use our old business name of Old Iron Book Company. Now that we're operating from Amana, Iowa, the Reflections column and other duties are put together each month right here at our office. Amana is a fascinating village in which to work, especially since history seems to peek out from every crack and corner. Any time you are traveling Interstate 80 through Iowa, stop in and see us during business hours. We're proud to be goodwill ambassadors for the people at Stem-gas, and be assured, the welcome mat is always out!

The purpose of the Reflections column is to provide a forum for the exchange of all useful information among subscribers to GEM. Inquiries or responses should be addressed to: REFLECTIONS, Gas Engine Magazine, P.O. Box 328, Lancaster, PA 17603.