HI! May you all have a wonderful summer! We certainly haven't to this date had much spring, but we're all keeping our fingers crossed for a great show season. Perhaps we'll have good weather for the reunions since we have already had so much rain. Oh well, rain or shine, you'll have a good time! I have many letters so we'll just jump right into them
This is an interesting letter from R. F. DURIG, 1364 Eileen Drive, Xenia, Ohio 45385: 'I recently acquired a 'Gas Engine Handbook' by E. W. Roberts, published by the Gas Engine Publishing Co. of Cincinnati in 1900. In the back of the book there are some advertising fly leafs, common in old publications. One advertisement is for a monthly publication called the 'Gas Engine Magazine'. Any relation in your history?
I am a recent (1977) enthusiast and have subscribed to your magazine since I became aware of it, but have no idea how it was started, when and by whom. I am sure it would be of interest to many of your readers to find out the history and origin of your magazine.'
In reference to the above letter I will give you some answers. In July, 1946, Rev. Elmer L. Ritzman, Millerstown, Pennsylvania wrote a three page letter to soiree steam farm engine enthusiasts he had visited across the country. From that first letter, he saw a need for a magazine and the first issue of The Farm Album came out in the winter of 1946. From that time it grew steadily in pages and later into six issues a year, it was renamed The Iron-Men Album Magazine beginning with the Sept.-October 1950 issue. Over the years, growth continued and as more subscribers were brought in, Elmer started to use at least a page an issue just for gas engines, tractors and related items. As the gas interest continued, Elmer realized the market for a magazine geared only to gas engines and at the age of 76, in 1966, he published the Gas Engine Magazine. His foresight proved correct as circulation of this magazine has grown to over 18,000. When Elmer died in 1971, the office was based in Enola, Pennsylvania. His wife, Earlene, took over until 1973 when the company was moved to Lancaster under the leadership of Gerald Lestz. As for there being another Gas Engine Magazine, we have not heard of one published either now or previously. Both the Iron-Men Album Magazine and Gas Engine Magazine are still bimonthly and both are under the ownership of Gerald S. Lestz. We hope they will both continue for a long time preserving the present and past for the future.
The following comes from B. W. HEINRICHS, Box 1553, Altono, Manitoba R0G 0B0, Canada 324-6676'I would like any kind of information on a Cushman Husky Model M8-1, 2% x 23/4, RPM 1600-3200, HP 2.8-50. I am interested in knowing anything about the governor. The engine is air-cooled.'
'In answer to the two letters on the General which appeared in the March-April issue, we submit the following,' write WM. AND HELEN WINKELMAN, Arenzville, Illinois 62611: The General GG-In 1980, we bought a General G. G. tractor made by the Cleveland Tractor Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, makers of Cletrac. The serial number on our tractor is A-256. It was manufactured in 1939. The company built 386 tractors that year, but there are no known records to indicate the total number built over the years.
'For a time, we thought ours was an Avery, but some Avery fans put that idea to rest. The most obvious feature to distinguish a GG from an Avery is the grill. So then, the hunt for the serial number began. By the way, it is stamped in the frame.
'According to information we received from the company, the General GG was manufactured from 1939 through 1942 and sold only with a single front wheel. The same tractor could have been purchased from your Montgomery Ward farm store in 1941, with the name Ward's Twin Row on the hood. The Twin Row also had a line of implements for their tractor namely, a two-row mounted corn planter, a two-row cultivator, a two-row rear-mounted weeder, and a rear-mounted mower.
In 1945, General was purchased by B. F. Avery and Sons Co. of Louisville, Kentucky. At this time it could be purchased from Sears Roebuck and Co. as well as your Avery dealer. The tractor could be purchased with either single or dual front wheels.
'Then in 1951 it was sold again, this time to Minneapolis Moline who used the Avery line a bit longer. As an M.M. product it was sold as a single-wheeled, dual-wheeled or wide front end. It is interesting to note that each time the 'rights' to this tractor were sold, a new front wheel option was added.
'We were not able to find any material on sales or price literature, but did get a long line of specifications; some of which are included here: air cleaner Vortox, oil bath; carburetor-Tillotson 7/8' clutch-long, single plate, dry; governor-Hercules-Handy, flyball; ignition-Wico, magneto; lighting-Auto Lite, Oil filter-Michiana; radiator-McCord tube and fin; spark plugs, 1 com., 7/8', starting-Auto Lite.
More data-HP Neb. Test No. 323 with 3 x 4 engine-Max, belt 19.29 Max. D .B. 14.26 Max pounds pull 1699 at 1.86 mph. Weight as tested with operator, 3115 lbs. Number of plows recommended one 14'.
'Engine, Hercules, 1 x 3 1/8 x 4, 1400 RPM, 4 cylinders, L head without removable sleeves. Pulley 8 1/2 x 6 1/2, 1308 RPM and 2300 FPM at 1700 engine speeds; MPH forward 2, 3 , 6 and 2 reverse. Rear wheel widths changeable from 48' to 76' by steps of 4'.
'While the General GG is unusual, here in West Central Illinois we can name 3-66's and a Ward's Twin Row within a 200 mile radius. Good luck in putting yours back together, and we're glad to see more of you have them.'
'As a new subscriber, I am very pleased with the G.E.M. I was told about your magazine by a visitor to my antique tractor show in February. I am a life-long farmer near Mission, Texas, in the lower Rio Grande Valley at the very southern tip of Texas, a popular place for refugees from cold northern winters.
'I have always used John Deere equipment and gradually began to collect old John Deere tractors, specializing in 2-cylinder models. I now have all the 2-cylinder tractors in the alphabet series, from the smallest to the largest. All have been restored and are in running order in fact, several of them I use in my daily operation. In the collection are an LA, M, MT, H, B, 3 A's, AO, G, D, R, a 1931 GP and a 1958 720 Diesel.
'During February for the last two years I have had a free showing of the 'Two-Banger Museum' at my farm and invited all Winter Texans and local people to come see the tractors, visit and enjoy refreshments. Many people who had retired from the John Deere factory came by. Enclosed is a snapshot of part of the line-up. In addition to the tractors in the picture, I had the 1931 GP parked near the road and the 720 Diesel at the back.' (Sounds great don't forget to send your show dates in for our Steam and Gas Show Directory any show or Museum gets a listing free). Letter comes from C. K. KOELLE, 1206 N. Main, McAllen, Texas 78501.
Two questions come from WARREN THOMPSON, 1623 W. Central, Missoula, Montana 59801: 'I recently purchased a John Deere W Power Unit. I am wondering if anyone out there can tell me how to find the year it was built. It is a Type 113 and after a little work is running now. Also, how rare is it? Thank you for your time.' (Don't let him down, Guys)!
'I have been a reader of G.E.M. for several years and enjoy it very much don't know where we would go for some of the information without it,' says EVERETT JOHNSON, Glyndon, Minnesota 56547.
He continues: 'Last winter my son found this engine in a dumping ground in Nevada. We have not been able to identify it yet hope some reader will write us and give us the answer. It is a 2 cyl. opposing design no nameplate anywhere but has the number OTC 9190 on intake parts and numbers OTC 19214 on exhaust parts. A number 237079 appears to be a serial and is indented in block. It seems to have been green in color with a red base. Dipstick is on top.'
Sending a short editorial comment is PRESTON FOSTER, 3231 Randolph Street, N.W. Warren, Ohio 44485: 'In the Sept.-October 1983 issue of G.E.M., American Gasoline Engines Since 1872 by C. H. Wendel was reviewed in a thorough and professional manner. This book is now reaching the eager hands of gas engine collectors and with much excitement and furor the wealth of information contained therein is being assimilated. Mr. Wendel in his book has given credit to many individuals whose loan of material and information forwarded to him has made this gas engine encyclopedia possible.
'As a minor contributor to this monumental undertaking I feel it necessary to speak hopefully on behalf of hundreds, possibly thousands of gas engine collectors. To C. H. Wendel, I say 'Thanks' for a job exceptionally well done. Your dedication to this task will serve to further and promote the hobby. I hope you will continue your research and publications and I say thanks on behalf of the gas engine community for giving us a research tool that is long overdue.'
'I have been in love with engines all my life,' states LYLE L. COLE, 7808 Danby Street, Whittier, California 90606. It's only in the last few years that I have enjoyed the sounds and smells of early gas and steam. Of all the hobbies I have had in my life, I have never enjoyed anything more.
'I have built several small steam engines and am now building an Associated 'Hired Hand' by Paul Breisch. The interesting thing about this is, that the kit for this engine was ordered and received in 1941 and never built.
'As for full size engines I have a 1917 Fairbanks Morse 1 1/2 HP fully restored and running very well; a 1940 Fairmont from a Santa Fe railroad track car and last, but not least, a 1919?? Sattley 1 HP!
'Now, comes a plea for help. My Sattley is in the worst condition. When I removed the head, it and the cylinder were packed with dirt, the crankshaft was bent so bad you couldn't turn it. The rod was bent and broken. So far I have had the cylinder bored and sleeved, made a rod from two model T rods and a piston from a Model T. Any information on the cam gear assembly would be most appreciated.'
(I must caution you folks many times, so once again I will remind you that I cannot put anything about wanting special parts or literature m the column. That must go in the Want ad section and should be mailed to our ad department. I feel you do understand this policy to be fair to everyone.)
Data of a new organization comes to us from over the waters as RICHARD M. SCOTT, 21, Alvington Manor View, Carisbrooke, Newport, Isle of Wight ENGLAND P030 5NY. Tel. (0983) 525954 tells us: 'We have recently formed on the Isle of Wight the Vectis Stationary Engine Preservation Society. In my capacity as secretary of this society, I have been charged to write to all engine manufacturers still in existence, and ask them if they would donate a couple of posters or wall-charts of modern models to decorate the walls of our static display of old engines which we are building at our club house. Tracing some of the British companies was difficult enough, but when it came to the American ones most of them seem to have disappeared completely, on this side of the Atlantic at least. Could you possibly help us as it has come to be more than an operation in scrounging but more of a quest for the missing engine makers. Surely they can't all have faded away? The companies we are most interested in at this time are Amanco, Ingeco, Piker, Stover, Fairbanks Morse, Fuller and Johnson, Emerson & Brantingham and Detroit, although any information you can give us or help us to find would be welcome.' (How about it Fellas? Do you have any data or know where to find the history on these companies? If so, please let us hear from you as well as writing Richardit will be most appreciated and I believe our fans would enjoy reading same).
Look at this novel decoration that adds interest to the home of DENNIS JOKSCH, 689C Mayer Road, Marysville, California 95901: 'I am enclosing picture of my hearth ornament in hopes that someone is able to help me identify and fuel it. There are no numbers on any part and a pair of small holes seem to indicate that a nameplate was removed. It is 23' tall with 15' flywheels, 3' bore and 3Vi' stroke, no water hopper, a round brass connecting rod and two external 'faucets' which house the valve. The exhaust valve is actuated by a pushrod from the crankshaft.
'Ignition is rotary make and break operated by external bevel gears driven from the crank up the side to the top of the cylinder. The carb is missing, but a ' Lukenheimer looks as if it could work.
'Could it be a vapor engine? kit? European? Any information would be greatly appreciated and all letters answered.' (Perhaps someone can help you out Dennisit's mighty attractive though.)
'I am enclosing a picture of a 'What is it?' engine,' says ANDY MILLER, R.R.I, Belmond, Iowa 50421: 'It is a 2 cycle engine with grease cups on each bearing, a brass carburetor, timing lever on left side in picture will run either direction. Buzz coil and battery ignition. It is 12' tall. It could have used either a flat belt or a small round one. It has no name or number on it. This little engine runs beautifully, but I am curious as to what kind it is, when it was made and for what it was used.
I enjoy the Gas Engine Magazine thoroughly.'
A subject that merits discussion has been brought to our attention. A subscriber wrote to tell to us that he had placed an ad in a recent G.E.M. and received good response. However, he felt that some people were simply picture collectors. Some of the respondents asked for pictures, which he sent them with a request that they be returned. He sent pictures to nine people and has received none back. As he noted, it gets expensive to continue this so how about it Guys? Let's reimburse these cooperative folks or return the pictures as requested. Nuff said!
'We really enjoy the G.E.M. magazine,' says LeROY WONDER, R.R.2, Danbury, Iowa 51019. He continues: 'I say we, because my wife is as much of an old tractor nut as I am, so she enjoys it also. I think she gets more carried away than I do like last fall, I was bidding on an old tractor and I thought it was high enough, so I stopped bidding. Then someone behind me started bidding and after running it up another hundred dollars, got the prize. Then the auctioneer wanted my bidding number and I found my wife was behind me, doing the bidding! I am glad she got it though as it is a real nice B.F. M .M. with wide front and 3-point hitch. (I'd say that's a story with a BID of difference).
'Getting back to the reason for my letter, I am sending a picture of this 'little Cat'. It is a Windolph modern Portland, Model B made in Portland, Oregon in the late '40s. It has a Wisconsin Model AHH single cylinder engine of 9.2 HP. Shipping weight 1400 lbs. without blade or plow. Speeds 1-2 -6 MPH, reverse 2 MPH. Wheel base 66' height 49' width 39' with blade 48'. They also made a Model C which was the same except for 2 cylinder Wisconsin engine of 13.2 HP.
We entered this in our hometown parade last year billed as 'smallest CAT in the world' Ha!! It is a cute little thing!'
This short letter comes from JACK HARRELL, Box 142, Roanoke, Indiana 46783: 'I have a Wards sheep shearing engine and I would like to know who manufactured it. Also, I recently bought a Jacobson type mower. The tag has #2609 and pat. date April 24, 1923. I would like to know when it was built no number or tag on engine.
I collect Briggs and garden tractors and literature. I belong to the Forks of the Wabash Gas Engine &. Tractor Club, Huntington, Indiana. Thanks for help!'
JOE MORRIS, 112 Irwin Road, Powell, Tennessee 37849 says: 'I am enclosing a little poem I wrote about old iron in the hopes you can use it. Thanks to your fine magazine and all the readers who responded to my letter in the Mar-Apr, issue concerning the McClean Garden Tractor. I now know that there are four of them still around and I answered each letter.'
NEW LIFE FOR OLD IRON
It sat in a shed out back of the barn,
An old engine all covered with dust.
Its flywheels that once turned with power and pride
Now only turned slowly to rust.
The oiler was missing and the grease cups were dry.
The piston stuck tight as could be.
The magneto and mixer were still in their place,
and the valves and the push rod were free.
The wasps had a nest in the hopper so dry,
That once cooled the piston so well.
This old engine had once done its part on the farm.
With one look it was easy to tell.
For years it had sat there in silence,
The exhaust that once barked out its song.
But I knew that again those flywheels could spin
And once more go humming along.
The owner, an elderly gentlemen,
Said 'I'll sell it if you'll promise one thing,
That you'll keep me posted on the progress you make,
'T would be good to hear it running again.'
I said 'I can fix it. I promise you that.
Though it might take a while, that is true.
But with good luck and love for an old iron machine,
Some day it will be good as new.'
So with long hours of labor and help from my friends,
Our labor paid off. It was running again.
And today at a show in a cool shady glen,
The old engine ran proud as it had way back when.
But I didn't go down to the gas engine show alone.
I took someone along.
I took the old gent who had sold it to me,
And together we heard a new song.
T' was a hit and miss engine in very good tune,
Singly proudly in a key oh so fine.
There were smiles everywhere, but three very broad ones,
The old gentlemen's, the engine's, and mine.
HOMER BOLEN, Box 1376, Bandera, Texas 78003 writes: 'If anyone can give me any information on make, horsepower, color or what ever it would be a great help: BNZ on top of water tank, BMX on head, BNW on rocker arm, ELR on engine frame, BPB on main bearing cap, 8-19, NE, D202126all on mag. 5' cylinder and 27' flywheel. See picture!'
An interesting tale comes from ANDY MICHELS, 302 Highland Ave., Plentywood, Montana: 'All the stories about restoring flywheelers prompted me to write about a 2. HP Renfrew, manufactured by Christen-son Bros., Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I found this engine in a scrap pile near Raymore, Sask. It was necessary to take the flywheels off to get it in the trunk. When I got home, I discovered a great deal of modification had been made. The connecting rod was lengthened almost an inch. An old Essex carburetor had been adapted and governor hooked so it was throttle governed, and half the governor weights were sawed off. It had been counter counter-weighted to run at a much faster speed. A mechanical oiler on top. Holes in the cooling tank indicated it had had auxiliary cooling. I estimated that they were getting about 15 HP, and had been run a lot.
Now for the funny part! I had been hounded to sell it and turned down all offers, since it was the only sideshaft I had and a small one to boot. One party that was interested in buying the engine asked if I would be at the farm the next day, and I said 'probably'. I stayed away from the farm the following day. About 4:00 this person came to my house and told my wife he had bought the engine from me but couldn't find me, and was wondering about leaving the money and taking the engine. He got the engine, Ruth got the money, and I got the shaft (not the sideshaft). Yes, she kept the money! 'It's all in the family anyway,' she explained. (Andy sounds like a good sport, who loves his wife.)