Hit & Miss Governed Engine

Content Tools

1908 Devon Road, Williamsport, Pennsylvania 17701

A few years ago I acquired an engine that has no nameplate, which was one of several I had purchased from Bill Debolt. Bill is the 'bolt' of Star bolt Engine Supplies of Adamstown, Maryland, the well known supplier of gasoline engine parts. Bill is no longer a part of Star-bolt and he and his son, Paul, are now the operators of Debolt Machine of Baltimore, Maryland, who manufacture and sell the Witte and Perkins model gasoline engines. When I acquired the engine from Bill, it was in pieces and I bought it with the usual reservation that it would turn out though there were several missing parts. This spring the engine was assembled by master mechanic and engine collector, J. P. Hackenburg, of Montoursville, Pennsylvania, and much to my amazement, only one part was missing. The only part that should have been in the tin bucket that the small parts were in was the 'spark saver'. This engine carries no nameplate, is one that neither I nor anyone I know has seen before and carries its serial number (5093) on a boss on the top of the water cooled head. I have been told that it is an Ohio engine made in Sandusky, Ohio (the manufacturer of heavy, fine side shaft engines). I have no reason to doubt this identification. In establishing the make of any unmarked non-common engine, in my opinion, it is imperative that the identification be documented by some tangible evidence in the form of a comparable engine which carries an original nameplate, a parts list, operating instructions, advertising, etc. Many engines have been identified by other means and then later it is established that the identification is wrong. The real vice that occurs from this is that the wrong identification gets into print and therefore is accepted as fact. The resultant confusion is most times very difficult to untangle.

What I am really looking for is someone who can from the description of this engine and from the attached photographs provide me with a picture of an identical engine with an original nameplate or an advertisement, parts manual or operating instructions for an identical engine. I would certainly appreciate hearing from anyone who can assist in this search or provide a lead which, if developed, would establish a positive identification of this engine.

The important features of the engine are as follows:

It is hit and miss governed and has high tension ignition. It is a push rod engine with a 6 inch bore and a 7 inch stroke. The flywheels are heavy and 28 inches in diameter. Calculations suggest that it is in the 4-6 HP range.

The engine has several distinguishing features. The mixer is located on the underside of the liquid cooled head and has no needle valve in the mixer. The needle valve is in the head and feeds fuel directly into the intake valve chamber and is controlled by a brass hand wheel. The fuel is raised from the in base gas tank to the needle valve by intake suction assisted by a check valve located at the outlet of the gasoline tank (see photograph number one).

On the off side of the engine (the side opposite the spark plug) the exhaust pipe leaves the head horizontally and is 1? inches in diameter. There are two one-inch pipe threaded openings into the base contained gasoline tank (see photograph number two), which openings are located immediately in front of the flywheel on the side of and at the top of the gas tank and the other is inside the flywheel in the engine frame. I feel that the one in front of the flywheel is intended to have in it a pipe plug with a small hole which acts as a gas tank vent. The other pipe would be a filler pipe; however, this is conjecture on my part. The pipe in the front opening as shown on the picture is probably not original.

Photograph number three is a nearside view of the engine showing its large capacity water hopper of distinctive shape.

Governing is accomplished by two weights attached to the outside of the cam gear which pivots on an axis at right angles to the cam gear. Due to the location of the pivot point, centrifugal force causes the weights to pivot outward and this motion operates a pin passing through the center of the cam shaft which in turn activates the mechanism which locks up the push rod (see photograph number four). I have never seen an identical governing arrangement like this; however, I have seen a Maynard engine made by Jacobson at Warren, Pennsylvania, which has its governing weights on the outside of the cam gear. The weights on this engine are different than the weights on the Jacob Maynard and I believe that excludes any relationship between the two.

The ignition timing on this engine is accomplished by a vertical lever which rotates around the cam shaft and carries an insulated contact which contacts a pin in the cam gear. Speed is controlled by a knurled nut which applies spring pressure to the governor lock up arm. The speed control is immediately above the connecting rod and the timing control lever is immediately above that in photograph number 5. This engine is of heavy construction and therefore runs very smoothly.

If anyone can help in the identification of this engine, please contact me by telephone at (717) 326-5131 in the evening, or by mail at my address as follows: Paul W. Reeder, 1908 Devon Road, Willamsport, Pennsylvania 17701. I will respond to all letters and I am willing to buy or borrow any identifying pictures you may have. I anticipate submitting the results of this inquiry to GEM in a later issue.