Michigan Engine

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Box 508, Alliston, Ontario, Canada LOM 1AO

In reply to. D. Andersen's letter in Jan.-Feb. 1980 GEM - perhaps I can help regarding Cockshutt tractors. These, as stated were made in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Models as follows: Model 20 gas from 1952-56; Model 30 gas and diesel from 1946-56; Model 40 gas and diesel from 1949-1957; Model 50 gas and diesel from 1953-1957; the Model '2' 1954-57; the model '3' 1953-56. There is no information on model '4'. Above three models offered for sale in U.S.A. only. I believe called E2, E3, and E4.

Above replaced by models as follows: 540-1958-60; 550-1958-60; 560-1958-60; 570-1958-60. They also sold a Model 35 for one or two years about 1956. Also sold 'Golden Arrow' for a short time about 1956-57. The Model 40 was also offered with a L4 Perkins diesel engine called 40.D4. Model 20 had Continental F124 engine, which I believe sold only a little over 20,000 units. Model 30 had Buda 4B153 engine which was quite popular and sold some 40,000 units. Model 40 had Buda 6B230 engine, also sold some 30,000+ units. Model 50 had Buda 6B273 engine, sold only some 20,000 units. The Models 35, Golden Arrow used Hercules 198 engine, some say as result of Buda motors having been sold to Allis-Chalmers Company.

Then the Model 540 with CMT F162 engine only sold about 4,000 units. Model 550 with Hercules 198 engine, (like the 35 and Golden Arrow) some 3000 units. Model 560 with Perkens L270 diesel engine (I don't believe a gas engine was offered in the 560) some some 6000+ units. Model 570 with Hercules 298 engine (gas or diesel) sold some 7000+ units.

These 500 models sold only in small numbers, but Canada was not a farmer's paradise in those years and perhaps none were exported. Serial numbers on 20 thru 50 located on top of main frame near flywheel housing.

Models 30 thru 50 and all the newer ones had a really good independent PTO (similar to Oliver 77 series). Quite a few are still being used by smaller farmers and had 5 or 6 speeds ahead depending on year made and were economical on fuel. In my opinion, as one being connected with farm equipment sales for some 30 years, they were very good in their time.

The newer models were very similar chassis but motors changed. Power steering leakage was troublesome. The 560 in particular was a good starting tractor in cold weather, but had a bad habit of breaking crankshafts if bearings got too badly worn. I am not familiar with 570, so cannot comment on its operation. I believe it shared same transmission and final drive as 560.

The 40, 50, 560, 570 trans and final drive are favored today for tractor pulls, of course, with souped up engines of all kinds being used.

I do not have permission from publisher to list production by serial number for different years, but if anyone wishes to get his tractor dated, please send 25? and I will date it for him.

I trust this will help those interested in Cockshutt tractors made by a Canadian company in Canada, the only company manufacturing in Canada in recent years except the M H pony and pacer models which were made in Woodstock, Ontario.


Pupils in a British school are working on the restoration of a Michigan 3? HP engine, and their teacher is seeking answers from our readers to guide the work.

Colin Caborn, head of the Creative Design faculty at John Howard School, writes to GEM:

'This is a considerable project because the engine has been greatly modified during its lifetime and many parts are missing. As far as we can find out, this is the only surviving example of this type of engine in England and all attempts to find the information needed to work out what the missing parts should be have failed.'

He saw our ad in Stationary Engine Magazine, and wrote to us since this is an American engine. The engine nameplate says:

The National Engineering Co. Michigan 3? Horse Type 3? H.P. 3? Speed 375 Saginaw, Michigan (The number A298 is stamped on the cylinder casting.)

Caborn reviews the history of the company, which may be of interest to United States collectors. Here it is, with the balance of his letter.

1895 Founded as the Wolcott Windmill Company located at 92 South Niagara, Saginaw, Michigan to build wind pumps.

1903 Windmills discontinued. The company was reorganized as the National Engineering Company manufacturing small gasoline engines for farm use, particularly for pumping well water.

1907 The firm took contracts with several automobile manufacturers to finish crank shafts for car engines.

1908 Engine manufacture discontinued.

1919 Bought by General Motors and renamed Michigan Crankshaft Company.

1920 Renamed Chevrolet Transmission Company.

These engines were imported into England by Messrs. Arthur and Edward Woodward of Rotherhithe New Road, East London who later built their own copy of the Michigan when imports ceased.

As the enclosed photographs show, the piston and connecting rod are missing, as are the original fuel and ignition systems. The present carburetor is a British Zenith type 22HAC (circa 1920) and the present ignition system comprises a German Bosch type DA2 and a plug mounted in a casting which does not appear to be original. The fuel tank was originally in the base of the main casting and the present, rather crude arrangement was obviously used to provide a gravity feed supply without the use of a pump.

We do not know whether this engine ran on petrol (gasoline) or paraffin (kerosene).

I have been told that the earliest Michigan engines had a 'coil and battery ignition system,' but that this was soon changed to a Thompson Bennett oscillating high tension magneto system.' I need to know exactly how these worked and what they looked like before I can work out what is missing from our engine.

I would, therefore, like to ask for any help which you are able to give in finding out the history of our engine, in working out the original specification of it, and in collecting enough information to enable us to make or find replacements for the many missing parts. After two years of searching there appears to be little chance of solving these problems in England.

Thank you.

Caborn's address is: John Howard School, Biddenham Turn, Biddenham, Bedford, MK40 4AZ, England.