Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Co. Engine

Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine

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R.R.1, Box 28-A, Atkins, Iowa 52206

I bought this engine from an antique dealer several years ago, finally restoring it in 1986. We displayed it at the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion last fall. This engine bears Serial No. 83. Having done considerable research on the company, it seems that this engine must have been built between 1893 and 1896, especially since an 1896 illustration of a similar engine bears the Serial Number 150.

Restoring the engine was rather difficult for several reasons. First of all, the original vaporizer was no longer present. This is easy to understand, since most of the early carburetion devices would not work very well, and when something better came along the vaporizer went to the iron pile. After a great deal of effort we finally were able to give the engine the general appearance it had originally, although we used a fuel mixer that works quite well. All of these parts were gone, so all had to be made, using only a rather poor sketch from an old magazine advertisement.

The cylinder was probably made to a gauge, rather than with micrometers. This cylinder measures approximately 5.105' in diameter. After cleaning up the cylinder bore it was necessary to build up the piston. After sandblasting it we set it in the shop stove atop some pine kindling. Heating the piston this way brought out lots of the embedded oil. Then we set it up in the lathe and took a rough cut about like an amateur would cut his first thread on a lathe. This left a larger surface for the bronze. After this we went to work with the torch and bronze rod, using over two pounds of bronze to build it up. For flux, we used Peterson's low-temp cast iron brazing flux-it comes in two separate envelopes you mix before using. (Not sure if this is still available).

Turning the piston back to size was relatively easy, and then we ordered special rings from Joe Sykes, a GEM advertiser.

We have heard of one or two other W.G.T.E. engines, but would like to hear from anyone having one so we can determine just how many of these rarities are left.