What Engine Is It?

"What engine is it?" is our spare parts bin, a regular feature where we gather together reader photos and stories that don't fit anywhere else. Sometimes it even answers the title question.


Selected engines from the collection of Bill Snyder  and Jack Hussey. Courtesy of Jack Hussey, Elmira, New York


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There's no single story here. Some readers/engine hobbyists just want you to know what engine(s) they're working or thinking about or trying to identify.

Bill Snyder and I took some engines from our engine collection and put them on a trailer his year. We took them to a Gas-up engine show at George Snyder's last month. Of them there is Bill's pine tree milker, his Fuller and Johnson water pump, a Chicago Air-Matic (which is the best engine and one that we own together), my Oshkosh without the saw, and a little I. H. with gear reduction.

Recently I cranked up my old 1961 Mercedes Benz 190 Gas and took a ride out to visit Mr. Oscar O. Cooke at Decker and Billings, Montana. After a day and a half and 1,043 miles, I arrived at the CX Ranch at Decker. One of the first things I saw as I was going up the road to the ranch house was a steam engine on the rocks.

It was the same little engine as in the July-August 1967 Gas Engine Magazine issue under "What Is It?" I have one just like it. I bought this engine in Great Barrington, Mass, for two dollars from a young fellow that works in a garage there. This is the story he told me. He said the engine was made in Kingston, New York or else Newburgh, N.Y. or Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He said it was used on a lawn mower. Also, that he had one still in use on a larger lawn mower that is the same type and make, except it's a two cylinder. Of course he wouldn't put a price on it or that would also be in my collection. I think he said his father got this engine new.

I have a 75 HP 2 cylinder Fairbanks Morse Diesel made in 1920. The engine starts by compressed air, which is furnished by a 3 HP Fairbanks Morse air compressor. This unit pumps air into the two large tanks mounted beside the main engine. There are two glow plugs at the top of the combustion chamber that are heated by fuel oil burners. When these plugs are red hot and the air pressure is between 140 and 150 pounds, the engine is ready to start. The air enters the cylinders through a timing device which causes it to rotate for a short length of time. At this point the fuel is turned on and combustion begins. The engine is governed at 260 RPM's and runs very smoothly. The engine and trailer weigh about 10 tons.