THE DAYTON ENGINE

Restored Dayton Engine

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806 Briarwood Ct. Lake Saint Louis, MO 63367

C. George Lynn of  806 Briarwood Court, Lake Saint Louis, Missouri 63367 tells about his Dayton engine restoration and the company history.

The Dayton Globe Iron Works was founded in 1853 under the name of Stout, Mills, and Temple Company. Initially located in Middletown, Ohio, the company moved to Dayton and retained the original name until 1890 when it reorganized under the Dayton Globe Iron Works Company.

The Dayton Company was primarily engaged in the production of flour mill and water wheel machinery, and in 1859 they acquired the first of many patents for their mechanical designs. From time to time the Dayton Globe Iron Works branched out into other lines including paper mill machinery, pulp grinders, sugar beet machinery, and gasoline engines. The water power department remained the most profitable line of equipment, manufacturing the New American Turbine water wheel which was sold around the world. The 1909 History of Dayton reports that 150 or 200 men were employed in the various departments under the direction of president C. P. Folsum, vice-president F. W. Huber, and secretary A. G Daugherty.

What little information exists about gas engine production indicates this department only operated from about 1895 to 1900. Patents were granted to C. J. Weinman and E. E. Euchenhofer in 1895 and 1896 for a variety of carburetor, governor, and ignitor designs. The Dayton Globe Iron Works remained in operation until 1938 when the company went out of business after 85 years of production.

I first encountered my Dayton engine while traveling near Salem, Missouri in the spring of 1982. On the way to work one morning, I noticed a pair of flywheels under a canopy of rusty sheet metal not far off the highway. After introducing myself to the renter of the farmhouse, I learned that I was not the first to inquire about the engine. The owner, however, lived elsewhere in Missouri and had no intentions of selling the machine. I was afforded the opportunity to look under the sheet metal and saw a rusty but well-preserved engine with an unknown array of rods and valves, and a brass name plate labelled 'The Dayton Gas and Gasoline Engine'.

The unusual character of the engine spurred my interest and with some diligence I was able to locate the owner. He told me the engine was purchased second-hand in 1915 and used on the saw rig it sat on to cut firewood for the neighbors. In 1940 the Dayton was parked in its present location along a fencerow where it has remained idle ever since. The only thing that kept the engine from total destruction was the cover of sheet metal and tile for which I will always be grateful.

The owner, now in his mid-nineties, had offers from several people but he thought he would get the engine working again so he refused to sell. Having grown up in Ohio, I felt a close association to the Dayton and after several months of negotiations, a deal was struck! On a sunny Saturday in September, my wife, six-month-old daughter and I drove to Salem to pick up the engine. When we returned home I went to work sandblasting off the years of rust, wasps' nest, and chicken feathers. I took several pictures from all sides to be sure that I could reassemble the numerous parts after cleaning. Then began the process of restoring and rebuilding the engine from top to bottom.

A drawing from Patent No. 555,717 dated March 3, 1896, which was obtained from the U.S. Patent Bureau in Washington, D.C. The Dayton pictured here is a vertical engine.

Overall the Dayton was in good condition. The piston was not stuck, although new rings had to be ordered. I had a new gas tank made, and while fishing in Canada, I found a solid copper water tank at an antique shop which, when polished, proved to be a perfect union with the rest of the engine.

The large cast nameplate carries a 'C' of unknown significance in one corner and a serial number of 406 in the other. Even more important are the four patent numbers stamped on the plate which were valuable for restoration and operation. By submitting these numbers to the U.S. Patent Bureau with the nominal fee of $ 1.00 per number, I was able to obtain complete copies of each patent with appropriate sketches. This yielded a wealth of information about the design and function of the Dayton engine.

After hours of cleaning, polishing, and rebuilding, I was able to reassemble my engine in preparation for running and apply several coats of navy blue paint. This was the only faded remnant of color to be found anywhere on the engine when I first got it.

The Dayton engine is characterized by several unique features not found on other engines. Most notable among these is the positioning of valves, ignitor, and carburetor in a valve chamber on top of the main cylinder. A rotary shaft geared into the main shaft, rotating counter clockwise and at half the speed of the flywheels, carries three eccentric cams for operation of the valve and ignitor rods.

Essentially, when the piston rotates into position to receive fuel, the cam lifts a roller on the rock shaft which in turn opens the long-stemmed intake valve, while simultaneously causing the trip arm to open a valve in the carburetor for gasoline. On the compression stroke the ignitor points are closed by a similar cam/roller movement, and when tripped the resulting explosion is followed by opening and closing of the exhaust valve. This seemingly complex procedure is repeated continuously, but movement of the governor weights allows the trip arm to only admit gasoline when needed to maintain speed.

The entire operation of the Dayton engine relies on the careful adjustment of numerous springs, gears, valves, and rollers. After over 40 years sitting idle and a year and a half of restoration, my Dayton ran for the first time on July 14th, 1984, at the Illinois-Missouri Tractor and Engine Show in St. Peters, Missouri.

The action of all the valves and gears, accompanied by the deep bark of the exhaust, made all the long hours of cleaning and fixing worthwhile. As is often the case when rebuilding an engine, the assistance from fellow 'engineers' cannot be overemphasized. Several friends, especially Jim Philips and John Zalabak, provided much-needed help throughout the restoration. My wife, Nancy, deserves special credit for her appreciation of my hobby and realizing the need for 'engine therapy'.

By the time this issue was being sent to press, we were notified that George had moved to 4922 W. Becker Lane, Glendale, Arizona 85304.

An overhead view of the valve chamber (top), rods (center), and rock shaft with rollers against the cam gear (bottom). From left to right, the rods include a gas valve, intake valve, ignitor rod, and exhaust valve.

Above is Arthur L. Crabille on his homemade tractor. Crabille writes, 'I mentioned that I was building a tractor using a Crosley engine. I now have completed the 'FUN' tractor, which I started in June, '82 and finished in a year's time.

'In the construction I used a golf cart rear end, cut-down Model T Ford front end, 12' trailer front wheels, 13' rear wheels (721 Firestone steel belted tires, no less), Toyota steering, seat from a single bed, sheet metal and chrome bumper from an old commercial refrigerator, a Johnson outboard gas tank.

'Total cost was under $300.00.

Surely, this is a unique tractor!

Crabille, who lives at 2704 Sunshine Drive, Lakeland, Florida 33801, is a member of the growing Florida Flywheelers Club.

Ron and Vicki Shipman of Route #1, Oak Ridge, Missouri 63769 are the owners of the outfit on the bottom of our back cover. Both tractors are 1936 CC Cases. Ron has owned one of the tractors since childhood, restoring it completely in 1981. The other CC was purchased in central Illinois in 1982. Ron worked a full winter bringing it up to shape.

The truck, a 1947 2 ton Dodge, was restored over three months in 1982. Ron decided, 'If you're going to haul antique tractors, you need an antique truck to do the hauling.'

Ron belongs to the Egypt Mills Antique Tractor Club of Egypt Mills, Missouri. He and his wife Vicki travel extensively to shows in Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee and Kentucky. Ron shows tractors and pulls competitively, as well.

Ron's first tractor restoration, in 1980, was a 1935 Montgomery Ward Twin Row. It goes to local shows, but because of its rarity usually stays shedded at home!