15 HP International gas engine

This photo of a 15 HP International gas engine was sent to us by Joseph George, RR 2, Fowler, Michigan 48835, who says to his knowledge there are only four of engines in the state of Michigan.

Joseph George

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The Reflector was most fortunate in recently acquiring a little book on the building of induction coils. Although few of our collectors have actually made spark coils, it is nevertheless, an interesting project. Simple coils, as used on low tension igniters are relatively simple, since only a single winding is used. This is usually of about No. 16 AWG magnet wire, wound over an iron core until it will read about 3 amperes when connected to a 6 volt battery. Short, fat coils will provide a better spark with less battery drain than a long, skinny coil. Thomas Edison found this out a century ago.

Winding a high tension coil presents some very different problems from the simple coil. Two sets of windings are required-a few turns of No. 14 or No. 16 wire perhaps for the primary, and a great many turns of very fine wire, perhaps 36 gauge for the high voltage secondary. Truly high quality coils of olden times were wound with the high voltage side in several sections, each insulated from the primary, and from the adjacent sections with phenolic or some other insulator. The individual sections were then connected, and should one section fail, it was not necessary to discard the entire coil.

Knowing that at least a few of our readers are also interested in early electrical equipment, perhaps we might even have some who would be willing to share some ideas with us in regard to low tension and high tension coils as applied to engine ignition.

Ye olde Reflector stands corrected on a lifelong assumption-we always assumed that 6 volts was standard operating procedure for gas engine ignition coils. Our assumption was probably centered on the fact that early automotive electric systems were of 6 volt design. Quite often though, when looking through an old instruction manual or diagram, six dry cells are illustrated. At 11/2volts per cell, that gives a nine volt system, not the six volt system we had envisioned. Granted, some diagrams show four batteries, and this would yield six volts. Then again, how could we assume that industry standards came as part of the territory? Gas engine builders flourished everywhere in America during the early part of the century, and most of these people gave an entirely new dimension to 'individualist.' In this context then, looking for a semblance of uniform practice was to look for Utopia itself. Only after a developmental period did the gas engine manufacturing industry evolve with certain standards. Even in 1988, standard practice remains a silent partner of innovation and individuality, but we've sure come a long ways in 80 years!

23/3/1 Q. See the pictures (on the next page) of my 2 HP Fairbanks-Morse Type T engine. According to your book, American Gasoline Engines, the extra big 29 inch flywheels are for running an electrical generator. Is this a common engine? Is the color supposed to be green or red? Also see the photo of the oiler. Is this a usual option for these engines? The engine hits every time and runs very smoothly. It has an incredible amount of lugging power. John C. Addengast, Box 160, Ashton, IA 5 1232.

A. The extra large and heavy flywheels on the FBM Type T engines were intended to level out the speed variation common to a single cylinder engine design. Although these engines can be found occasionally, we certainly wouldn't class them as common, either in terms of remaining numbers, or in their original design. Most of the Type T engines we have seen are a very deep, blackish green, in PPG Ditzler, it would be comparable to 43846 green. Some of these could however, be painted red, but our assumption is that the concurrently built Jack-of-All-Trades engines were red. The lubricator mentioned in your letter is standard equipment for these engines.

23/3/2 Q. Are decals available for the Cushman Husky engine? Also, can anyone supply date built, proper color, and service information? We also have a small cultivating tractor, a Model V by B. F. Avery. It has engine No. 1169944, Model 2XB3, 2 5/8 x 3 inch bore and stroke. Any information on this tractor will be appreciated. Jim Schifferer, 9445 Parrish Gap Road, Turner, OR 97392.

A. We have virtually no information on either the Cushman Husky, or on the little Avery cultivator. To our knowledge however, no one is making decals for the Husky. If of course, someone can provide these decals, we will be happy to hear from you.

23/3/3 Q. Mike Ellis, 1020 Old Crystal Bay Road, Wayzata, MN 55391 needs information on a 1917 Phelps engine as illustrated on page 388 of American Gas Engines. Needed is information on original color scheme, type or make of carburetor, type of fuel tank, and mounting location.

A. The Phelps engine is somewhat of a scarcity, and beyond the illustration of page 388 mentioned above, we have seen nothing on this particular engine. Possibly one of our readers might have some early advertising material that will show the parts in question.

23/3/4 Q. I am obtaining a 12 HP engine by Pattin Brother Company of Marietta, Ohio. It powers a direct-drive water pump exactly matching the picture on page 384 of American Gas Engines. The engine is still in the house where it pumped water from a pond through a pipeline to gas engine standard rig oil wells on a large lease. The well engines were cooled with large tanks which were filled with water off the engine house roofs as well as pumped pipeline water. I would appreciate any information or manuals for this water pump engine or similar size Pattin engines. All correspondence will be appreciated and answered. Mark G. Sergent, 316 Market St., PO Box 626, Spencer, WV 25276.

A. The Reflector has no specific information on the Pattin engines, so if any of our readers can help Mr. Sergent, kindly do so.

23/3/5Michael Fuoco, Secretary-Treasurer of the Coolspring Power Museum, PO Box 19, Coolspring, PA 15730 announces that the winner of the 4 HP Bessemer engine in the Coolspring Museum Benefit Raffle was Mr. A. D. Mast of Lancaster, PA. The drawing was held October 18, 1987 at the museum grounds. Mr. Fuoco and the Board of Directors wish to thank everyone who bought tickets.

23/3/6 Q. What are the proper paint colors for a Fairbanks-Morse Type T engine, and for a Stickney 1 ? HP engine? Jerry T. McDowell, I404 Kevin Ln., Greeneville, TN 37743.

A. For the FBM engine, see 23/3/1 above. On the Stickney we suggest DuPont Dulux 93-81501 blue.

23/3/7 Q. As a novice to the gas engine hobby, I need information on two engines I recently acquired. One is an Eclipse vertical 4 HP engine by Myrick Machine Co., and the other is a Stover KA 2 HP, s/n 194942. Parts are needed for this engine. Any information will be appreciated. Kevin A. Manchester, 6I4 E. Main St., Springville, NY 14141.

A. We have no data on the Myrick engine, but the Stover was built in 1928. Since the KA series was rather popular, obtaining the necessary parts should not be terribly difficult.

23/3/8 Q. Did Fairbanks-Morse use serial numbers prior to 1911, and if so, when did they start? Your book, Power in the Past, Vol. 2 illustrates a Type T vertical with a cast iron sub-base. What year did FBM start using this type of base? Also, are all Jack-of-All-Trades engines also Type T engines, and if not, what designates the Type T engine? From a recent issue we see that you are restoring a Fairbanks-Morse Type Y diesel. Our club, Tri-State Gas Engine & Tractor Association at Portland, Indiana has a 100 HP Type Y, Style V engine built in 1924. It was very interesting to restore this engine. Ken Doherty, 505 W. Line St., Geneva, IN 46740.

A. As we can best determine, the Jack-of-All-Trades designation was given to those FBM verticals mounted either on skids or trucks as portable engines. These could be furnished sans cooling tank, with a galvanized steel tank for a packaged unit, or with an old-style cast iron heating radiator as an oil cooled engine. The Type T designation, as gleaned from the company's own advertising, seems to have been applied solely to those engines designated for stationary duty. By adding the sub-base the flywheels would clear the floor. Beyond these designations came the Type T Electric Engines having the extra large fly wheels. Fairbanks-Morse definitely used serial numbers on the pre-1911 engines, and in fact, many of the very early ones also had the completion date stamped on the end of the crankshaft. Possibly some of this information could be positively ascertained from a detailed study of such Fairbanks-Morse records as still exist, but such a study would unquestionably require considerable time and effort.

Regarding the Reflector's acquisition of a Fairbanks-Morse diesel, ours is a Model 32, six-cylinder model with a 14 x 17 inch bore and stroke, and rated at 360 horsepower. The Model 32 followed the 'Y' series and is somewhat different. While the 'Y' engines might properly be considered oil engines due to their lower compression ratio and totally different combustion chamber design, the Model 32 was considered to be a full-fledged diesel using a compression pressure of about 580 psi. Due to the intervention of business and other duties, our completion of the Model 32 is as yet incomplete- we do, however, hope to complete the project in 1988.

23/3/9 Q. I have what is basically a Hart-Parr 12-24 stationary engine. Now we all know about the Hart-Parr stationary engines, but I've seen no reference to one side of the engine as an air compressor, which now makes it a one-cylinder engine. The compressor side has only an intake valve, with a plate and flapper valve on the exhaust valve side. An air intake port is below the normal intake valve with a factory-made vent cover over this with a screen. Also, the plate and flapper valve have factory part numbers. The petcock and spark plug openings have plugs in them. We would like to hear from anyone who can shed some light on this outfit. Bill May, 9152 Hector St., San Diego, CA 92123.

A. This is a new wrinkle for us! Many people are aware of the Smith compressor head that was built for the Ford Model A engine. Our recollection is that the two center cylinders were for pumping air, while the outer two cylinders functioned as always. Of course the Smith compressor head was probably somewhat later than the Hart-Parr 12-24 conversion. We'll be most happy to share any information on this unique engine-compressor combination within the Reflections column.

23/3/10 Q. See photos (on the next page) of an engine made for Duro Pump & Manf. Co., Dayton, Ohio by Stover, s/n IoI,oI5. This one has a Wico EK magneto. The tag on the magneto is stamped, 'Pat'd. in Canada 1920.' All of the engine appears to be original. In your book American Gas Engines you note that the Duro engines were built until about iqi8. Is it possible that this engine was built in 1920 or even later? I can still see some silver paint on the cylinder, but would like to know the proper color for the rest of the engine. Henry Wilks, Rt 2, Box 221, Brinkley, AR 72021.

A. Your letter poses some interesting questions-one of them being that we always assumed that Stover was the only manufacturer of this little engine for Duro. From what has been pieced together of Stover's activities, it does not appear that this company had anything to do with the Duro after about 1918. That leads to the obvious conclusion that someone else, perhaps the Duro Company themselves, continued to build at least a few of these little engines into the early 1920's at least. Since Wico EK magnetos did not come into general use until the early 1920's and since it seems far more likely that the engine came factory-equipped with the Wico magneto rather than a field retrofit job, then it seems logical indeed that someone was building this little engine into the early Twenties. Of a certainty, the serial number of 101,015 of this engine doesn't match anything in the Stover production records.

23/3/11 Q. See a photograph of what I have been told is a 'hot tube ignition' engine. I can see no way whatsoever for it to run from a hot needle-like tube as I have been told. It stands about 20 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds.Turner Kirkland, PO Box 130, Union City, TN 38261.

A. This appears to be a two-cycle inboard marine engine of indeterminate make. The large tapped hole in the side of the crankcase probably held the carburetor-this was like a Model D Schebler or something similar. No governor was used, since the speed was controlled by a hand throttle. The grease cups on the crankshaft bearings were usual practice, since the heavy grease tended to minimize air leakage between the crankshaft and bearings. Although difficult to determine from the photograph submitted, the spark plug probably was fitted either into the head or into the side of the cylinder. Missing entirely is the water pump, usually a plunger pump actuated by an eccentric on the crankshaft. Also missing apparently is the ignition timing mechanism. From the overall appearance, we sincerely doubt that this engine was ever of hot tube design.

23/3/12 Lewis Langer, 12735 W. Lisbon Rd., Brookfield, WI 53005 would like to hear from anyone with a dealer's service manual for the Farmall F-12 or McCormick-Deering 10-20 tractors.

23/3/13 Q. I have a McCormick-Deering Far-mall tractor, s/n T 13804. What is the year, also what is the proper color? Roger Boise, RD 1, Box 12, New Haven, VT 05472.

A. Your tractor is a Farmall Regular of 1927. Being of this vintage it is finished in the usual IHC gray enamel.

23/3/14 Q. What is the proper paint color for the following engines; Gray I? HP, and Woodpecker by Middletown Machine Co. Raymond Deere, 554 E. Ward St., Urbana, OH 43078.

A. We believe the Gray to be a deep red, despite the fact that because of the name, one would assume that a 'gray' finish would be used. Perhaps someone can supply us with a comparable color match on both the Gray and the Woodpecker engines.

23/3/15 Steve Reedy, Box 5I, Norton, KS 67654 would like to have the proper color and year built for an Ottawa 4 HP engine, s/n TE 11354.

A. We don't know of any serial number records still in existence for the Ottawa, but believe the Ottawa log saw engines were finished in a dark green. We do not have a comparable color match however.

23/3/16 Q. I recently bought a two-cylinder Edwards engine, and would appreciate hearing from other Edwards owners. So far I have had absolutely no luck in finding any instructions or other information on it, including the proper color. 1 understand a flat belt was used for starting. I need information on the length and width of the starting belt also. Frederick W. Adams, RD I, Box 136, Taberg, NY 13471.

A. We recollect seeing a printed broadside one time that illustrated the salient features of Edwards engines. Beyond that, we have never seen a single piece of advertising or instructional literature on this most peculiar design.

23/3/17 John R. McDivitt is seeking information, literature, and original color on Franklin valveless engines. Anyone who can help him, please contact John at Box 63, Saxonburg, PA 16056.


Caterpillar serial numbers

In regard to the Caterpillar number codes; while it may be possible to determine the age of the Caterpillar on some models this way, it doesn't mean anything on the models that I have, unless there is something missing in the article. I have several older Caterpillar tractors, including the 10, 15, 20, 22, 30 and also a 28, and a Best 30. So when I read the article I went out to check on my Caterpillar tractors to see what I could learn. The only letters that I could find outside of the part numbers was as follows on the blocks of the 10's and 15's were the letters C W C. On the 20's there were some letters on individual cylinders, one had R U M EC which according to the article would give a date of 4-12-37, which of course is several years later than the 20 was built (1928-31). One '30' had these letters on the cylinders. Two cylinders had U N U O R D, one cylinder had U U O R O and one had U U A R O which would give 1948 as the date. There were no letters that I could find on the blocks. One 22 had the letters: U U M N which according to the 'code' reads 1 1 2 X. Another 22 had letters A U M E O which was the only one that could be a correct date of 5-12-38. So judging from my experience, it would be impossible to get the age of a Caterpillar in this way. If these code letters actually mean a date and if the Caterpillar had the original cylinders you might. The only way is by the serial number stamped on the plate or in some cases directly in the block or transmission casting if a record could be found. A few years ago a man sent me a list of serial numbers on a few models that give the year built. Also, one question, what is the proper shade of gray for the older Caterpillar tractors? Martin Palmer, 10395 Barnett Valley Rd., Sebastopol, CA 95472.

A. Since the Reflector didn't dig out the information in the first place, we would prefer to stand to the side so far as answers are concerned. Besides, we really don't know about the validity of the letter code presented in the December GEM. Perhaps other Caterpillar experts might be of help here so that we can get the story down as it should be. Anyone with a further explanation, kindly let us know.

The Reflector recently came across some material illustrating the general style of the Backus gas engines in the 30 to 100 horsepower class. As the advertisement indicates, the engine was furnished with both a hot tube igniter and an electric ignition system. Gasoline was the fuel for this particular engine, although it could also be furnished for natural gas. This engraving is from an 1898 advertisement.

From 1898 comes this photo of a little Backus gas engine. Rated at ? to 1 horsepower, Backus claimed it to be ideal for running printing presses, ventilating fans, and similar duties. The engine is obviously equipped with a hot tube ignition system. We're curious whether any of these little engines have survived-to our recollection, we have never heard of any still in existence.

The April 26, 1927 issue of 'Power Magazine' illustrates the first four cycle solid-injection diesel engine to be built by Chicago Pneumatic Tool Company of Chicago, Illinois. Chicago Pneumatic appears to have been building semi-diesel engines for some time prior to 1927, but this announcement ushered in an entirely new era for the company. The engine shown here was available in sizes from 80 to 240 horsepower with a rated speed of 327 RPM.

Chicago Pneumatic used a cast iron sub-base into which the crankshaft was bedded. On the sub-base is mounted the supporting frame for the individual engine cylinders. A peculiar feature of these engines was the ability to convert them for use on natural gas by replacing the fuel injection apparatus with a gas mixing valve, magneto, and allied equipment. Additionally, one cylinder could be converted to a compressor cylinder if so desired. By the addition of a simple cam-shifting device the engine could be made reversible. This engine was built by Chicago Pneumatic under license from the Benz Company of Germany.

The 1904 edition of the French title, 'Moteurs & Gaz' by Witz illustrates the Niel engine of 1901. Built in Paris, the Niel was a side-shaft engine with a single flywheel. Magneto-electric ignition is obvious. Both valves are mechanically operated, compared to the early American practice of using an automatic intake valve. A force feed lubricator is provided for the cylinder, and a huge enclosed governor operates from the layshaft.


In making the transition from the Thanksgiving turkey to the Christmas goose, plus all of the time spent in Christmas shopping, shoveling snow, and other duties, our model-makers didn't send in any new information this month. We're curious however about a small blurb we ran across recently in which we understand that a 1:12 scale model of the Allis-Chalmers 'Manhattan pattern' steam engines is in the Smithsonian. This scale model was apparently built by an English firm back in the 1960's. Does anyone have any information on this engine? Perhaps it will be recalled that a couple of years ago the Reflector put out a call for information on model Corliss steam engines other than the design offered by Cole's Power Models of Ventura, California. Despite several pleas, we never received a single response, leading us to conclude that none of our readers knew of another Corliss model except for Cole's.


It's fun to occasionally reminisce, and for the Reflector, some of my favorite legends involve those centered about some of my ancestry.

My great-uncle, Jacob 'Jake' Wendel operated a blacksmith shop at the turn of the century. A few remaining examples of his art with hammer and anvil leave no doubt that he was indeed a master blacksmith.

Uncle Jake was also the community's recognized 'expert' on steam and gas engines, often being called on to coax a recalcitrant engine back to life.

One such incident involved a small engine brought to the shop by a local resident, who after becoming enraged with the engine, took a hammer to it and broke some of the parts. After a suitable cooling-off period, the engine was loaded on the wagon and brought to Uncle Jake's shop for repair. A few days later Uncle Jake phoned out to say that the engine was ready. Well, according to two different eyewitnesses who related this incident to the Reflector at different times, the gentleman came in for the engine, and was informed that the bill was $20. Ready to again explode, the farmer asked why the bill was so terribly high! 'Well,' said Uncle Jake, 'it's $10 for the part, plus $10 for busting it up-and you either pay it, or I'll take the $20 out of your hide!' So far as is known, the hammer was never again used on that particular farm in gas engine repairs.