Wogaman 4 HP

Ohio-built Sure-Go is a Sure Thing

Wogaman

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This 4 HP Wogaman engine was used on a local farm and was built in approximately 1906. It has a 5-inch bore and 6-inch stroke. The flywheels measure 24-by-2-3/8-inches. It is very unique in that it is made with only one casting, and the cylinder is not a through hole, causing machining problems.

About 26 years ago the farm changed ownership, and this engine was hauled to a local scrap yard along with other old iron that had accumulated on the farm. A friend of ours purchased the engine from the scrap yard, and then sold it to us a few years later.

Condition Assessment

The engine was in very rough condition from sitting out in the weather for so many years – we did a lot of grinding and filling on the cast parts.

The steel parts were badly rusted, and the long pivot arm was badly pitted. I lightly machined all surfaces to alleviate this problem. The valves were badly pitted and unusable, so I machined new ones, along with some of the linkage. I machined new bolts because I wanted them to remain the original 1/2-12 size, instead of the 1/2-13 size that's common today. The piston and cylinder were okay, so I just honed it out, cleaned the piston and installed new rings.

Engine Operation

This is a gearless engine. There is a brass ring on the crankshaft that has a double track that crosses in one spot. One side of the ring has a cam. A follower runs in the track and is attached to a long pivot arm. The follower crosses over to the opposite track on each revolution. The cam operates the exhaust valve. When the follower is on the cam, it acts on the pivot arm, which in turn pushes the exhaust push rod. The ignition is also controlled by this part. A flat tin piece inline with the cam is used for timing, and a piece on the cam strikes it, pushing it back against the rear contact screw, completing the ignition circuit and causing a spark.

There is no fuel pump; this engine draws fuel by way of suction. The original fuel tank is located in the base. The bottom side of the mixer has a spring-loaded flap which creates suction as air is drawn in. A screw just above this flap adjusts the needle valve. This design was later changed, as it proved to be unreliable. Later models were equipped with a Lunkenheimer mixer and the fuel tank was installed above the cooling tank plumbing, directly above the cylinder.

A battery, buzz coil and spark plug make up the ignition, and an inertia governor acting on the brass ring regulates engine speed. The muffler is an original, although it is not original to this particular engine.

A Wee Bit of Wogaman History

Harry Howard started his working life as an ironworker in Brookville, Ohio, in 1885. He built Brookville's first iron bridge and first hydraulic elevator. It was during this time that he came up with the idea to manufacture gas engines. Realizing the practicality to be near a foundry, he, his family and two brothers (Willis and Webster) moved to Greenville, Ohio, in 1902. They called their new company “Wogaman Bros. Co.,” but changed the name after one year, as a stock certificate dated 1903 shows the name as “The Wogaman Mfg. Co.”

I believe he produced four different engines: A 4 HP model like Art Gaier's – we know of only six of these; a similar, larger engine than the aforementioned 4 HP (none known to exist); a six-cycle, air-cooled engine (none known to exist); and the largest model known to be made, of unknown horsepower. It was fairly standard in design and had a 4 1/2-inch bore and 6-inch stroke. Only one of these is known to exist (see photo on page 8). I just acquired it in October of 2004, but once it is restored, I plan to take it to a few shows. Afterwards, it will be on permanent loan to the Garst Museum in Greenville, Ohio.

In 1914, when World War I was starting, Harry stopped making gas engines to machine artillery shells for the war effort. This continued until 1918, when the factory closed for re-tooling. This was not a problem because he had enough inventory to fill the contracts until the end of the year. Of course by then, the War had ended. I don't think he ever reopened. He gave his shop foreman, Connor Miller, all the patterns and molds. Mr. Miller then produced Wogaman replacement parts until sometime in the 1940s.

In 1921 Harry ventured into searching for oil with some associates, forming the Golden Oil Co. Whether or not they were successful is a mystery to me. After this he retired.

H.H. Wogaman died in 1946, at the age of 81. Sometime in the 1920s the factory was turned into an ice-making plant, which remained until sometime in the 1940s.

Contact engine enthusiast Dan Weaver at: 6014 Folkerth Road, Greenville, Ohio 45331; (937) 548-6727.