Samson Gas Engines

5 HP Samson Horizontal Flyball

Courtesy of Howard E. Shideler, 2803 E. Highway 120, Manteca, California 95336

Howard E. Shideler

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2803 E. Highway 120, Manteca California 95336

Samson gas engines got the top billing at the June 1973 Gas-UP at Mike Giannis, Manteca, California. The Club invited all owners of Samsons for this reunion and thirteen answered the call.

There was plenty of other activity also. One hundred and thirty-three gas engines, over thirty tractors, two steam tractors and many steam engines, historical wrench and spark plug displays all added up to two full busy days.

The Samson deserves a little extra mention. They Were built in Stockton, California from 1897 until 1918 when the plant was sold to G.M.C. The Samsons were manufactured and engineered by J. M. Kroyer, who saw a need for an efficient engine that would be less trouble than the many steam engines that were in use for the agricultural pumping plants at that time. The rich soil had a shallow water supply that was easily tapped with a centrifugal pump. Kroyer designed a centrifugal pump that produced almost a hundred gallons of water per minute per horsepower.

5 HP Samson horizontal flyball governor at the Branch #6 Show in June 1973

The Samson manufacturing plant occupied a full block at Charter Way and Aurora Street just a few blocks South of the old Holt Mfg. Co. The showroom faced Aurora Street and it was right here that DuPont introduced the first 'Frigidaire' in 1918 when G.M.C. took over. G.M.C. soon dropped the truck line entirely as it was competitive with their own, turned over to the Sterling Iron Works, October 12, 1918 the service of the Samson stationary engines, marine engines and centrifugal pumps and transferred the manufacture of the Sieve Grip Tractor to Pontiac, Michigan.

They introduced a new Samson Model M tractor, which sold for $940. - Stockton including platform, fenders, governor and power take-off. In January 1920 they brought out the Samson Iron Horse tractor for $730. - Stockton which was driven with lines like a team of horses by one or two hands with perfect ease. This seemed to be the perfect answer to the farmer who was too proud to work horses and too timid to drive a tractor. There were a few sold, but I have never found anyone that had actually used one, or even had any knowledge of them.

15 HP Samson, No. 3200, 260 R.P.M., 54' x 3-1/2' flywheel, owned by Cliff Campoy, 20458 South Timin Road, Manteca, California.

The original plant was enlarged in l908 and a very modern foundry added. The complete factory was then all at one spot.

Kroyer perfected the 'Sieve Grip' wheels on the Samson tractor. They developed fairly good traction in the sandy and peat soils, but in the heavier clay soil, they were a very effective compacter and made the clay soils impenetrable for water and the headlands were firm enough for the highways.

The old time operators reminisce about the water filled air cleaner that was used on the Sieve Grip. This worked very well on flat ground, but when going downhill the water flowed into the carburetor, flooding it out and necessitating a shutdown and clean out. Soon some started to use oil instead of water, resulting in a smoke cloud instead of a complete shutdown.

The Samson gas engines on display at the Gas-Up ranged in sizes from 2 to 15 HP, mostly horizontal, but included the Campoys 1898 vertical engine. The accompanying chart gives an idea of the specifications on these engines.

The standard electrical equipment furnished when new included - four

Edison Type Q wet cell batteries, complete with stone jars, zinc, carbon, oil and potash, together with spark coil and insulated wire connections and a single pole knife switch. Also included was a fuel tank, exhaust pipes, pulley, oil can and complete set of wrenches.

Or, as a special order, they would ship a magneto with friction pulley (that worked off the flywheel) together with a spark coil, insulated wire and knife switch.

A Daniel Best engine was another very unique California built engine on display. At the October Gas-Up, the 50 HP West Coast was an eye stopper.

No one has ever completely tabulated all of the California built engines, but we have seen over twenty at our Gas-Ups. Just recently I ran across a Skandia Pacific 16 HP engine built in San Francisco. Right now, my conscience won't allow me to say where as I have to get back to talk to the farmer-owner before six other 'spark plugs' beat me.

HORSE POWER

WEIGHT

FLYWHEEL DIAMETER

FLYWHEEL WIDTH

R P ms

2

675

22'

2-1/8'

375

3

750

24

2-1/8'

375

4

910

27

2-1/4'

375

5

1090

29

2-3/8'

375

6

1285

32

2-5/8'

325

8

1490

34

2-5/8'

325

10

1900

38

2-7/8'

300

12

2150

40

2-7/8'

300

15

3200

54

3-1/4'

260

20

4600

58

3-1/2'

250

25

5250

60

3-3/4'

250

30

6000

61

4

250

35

6500

62

4-1/4'

250

STATIONARY VERTICAL

40

50

75

100

6800

7300

8700

100,000

2 cylinder

2 cylinder

3 cylinder

4 cylinder

250

250

250

250

R.P.M.

R.P.M.

R.P.M.

R.P.M.

4 HP Samson, No. 5159 restored and shown by Floyd Mathes, 4328 East Ave., Livermore California at Branch #6 Gas-Up 1973. Floyd says: 'The engines we save today will never have to be saved again.'

The Samson pumped water at Escalon until 1922, then moved to the Richard Myer Ranch at Clements where it powered the line shaft for the blacksmith shop. It was found resting in the barnyard under oak trees in 1972.

The farmer has always responded to the wants of the American consumer, especially in the quality of meat she likes. In 1972, about 65 per cent of all beef produced in the U.S. was either choice or prime. This was nearly four times more prime and choice than was produced in 1952.

Agriculture is America's No. 1 natural resource.

The farmer wants to please the consumer because he is paid by the consumer and because the consumer demand for his products either increases or decreases the price he receives for his products.

Researchers at Sperry New Holland say that feeding farm animals quality hay is one way to cut down on the high cost of protein feeds--and it's better for the health of your cattle.

3 HP Eclipse engine put in show shape by Walt Simonds, 350 Los Ranchitos, San Rafael, California at the Branch #6 Gas-Up in October 1973 at Jim Van Hook Ranch, Turlock, Cal.

3 HP Daniel Best gasoline engine, 240 r.p.m., 10' x 8' pulley, 43' x 16' floor space, No. 1050, Cost $300. in 1892. This photo taken in June 1973 at Branch 6 Gas-Up. Engine was restored by John Faria,Princeton, California. This engine was patented in 1891 and built in six sizes single cylinder and six sizes of duplex cylinders, 2 - 40 HP.

This picture is self-explanatory. I hope Don makes it back again this year on August 2, 3, 4, 1974.

This threshing scene was in 1925 at Vulcan, Alberta. The outfit is a 20-40 Case gas engine and 32' Case separator, and was owned by my Uncle Lew Douglass. Note the size of the straw stack. The girl on the pony is my cousin.