An Engine Adventure

Crankshaft engine before restoration


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23941 Strange Crk. Dr. Diamond Bar, California 91765

I would like to share my good fortune with you and your subscribers.

In August I started out for our regular August Date Nail Show in Perry, Iowa this year.

I started out with plenty of time as I was stopping at my nephew's in Wyoming, as he had some good date nailing lined up for us.

For you gentlemen and ladies that are wondering what a Date Nail is, it is a nail 1?' long ? diameter with the date on the head, with the year it was driven into a railroad tie or utility pole, when it was layed in the road bed or put into the ground.

We were looking at all the old ties used as fence parts and in piles at an old abandoned homestead. I noticed this old corn grinder laying upside down by a board and tie pile. I had to get my nephew to turn it over, it was so heavy!

It sat on an angle iron stand and looked in good shape. The auger is 16' long with burr wheels on the end which apparently ground the corn along with the cob, as the auger had rounded fingers on it to apparently chew up corn on the cob. I am guessing.

The pulley is 12'diameter, 4' wide with a flywheel 16' diameter. A job for a tractor. It had green paint on it but no manufacturers name.

Being I was going last to Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, I didn't want to haul it all that way, so I didn't make a deal with the rancher at this time.

I told my nephew I would come back in the fall and see if he would sell the grinder. The first part of October I got a call from my good nailing friend in Cut Bank, Montana. He wanted to do some date nailing before the weather got bad.

After the nail hunt, (my second hobby), I stopped by my nephew's in Wyoming. We went to the rancher who owned the grinder. I asked him if he would sell the grinder and he said he would. I asked him if he had any old gas engines he would sell. He said yes, there was one under the open shed by the barn and I could go look at it. When I found it I couldn't believe what I was looking at!

There mounted on its original skids was this air cooled, upright and open crankshaft engine. Only part missing was the top of the oiler and fan guard. On the name plate read:

'Schmidt's Chilled Cylinder, Type H, No.6750 (8 stamped over the 7), 3 HP, Pat. Aug. 13, 1907, Mfd. By Schmidt Bros. Co. Engine Works, Davenport, Iowa'

I mean I hurried back to the rancher and made a deal on the engine and grinder before he changed his mind.

There was only one fan blade left on the strap on the flywheel and the gas tank was bent up real bad. It has a Lunkenheimer brass carburetor. I believe that is the right name as there is a letter L, within a diamond design, on the carburetor.

The piston is stuck as the muffler was off and let the environment into the cylinder. The exhaust valve is open and a big one, 2' diameter. The skirt of the piston has a piece missing. Hopefully it won't bother the running. It has two insulated contacts. One makes contact each revolution with advance and retard lever with a cute little wood handle. The other makes contact when the exhaust valve closes and the rod comes down. Battery saver, I presume. I don't understand why they have two contacts to ground. Do they 'make' at the same time?

The picture of this engine in Mr. Wendell's book, American Gas Engines Since 1872, page 449, looks different. The oiler on mine is on the flywheel side and the muffler is different. Mine comes apart in the middle with three bolts in three sets of dog ears. The muffler was in bad shape with four cracks but my good friend, Ken Byers, brazed it up like new.

I am anxious to get started on this engine but I must finish my l?HP John Deere and small corn grinder first. I was still looking for a magnet for my low tension magneto before I can get my John Deere running. I hope I have it timed right.

Any information on the Schmidts and corn grinder will be appreciated.

We received a late addition from Melvin about this engine: 'When I tore it down I found 2 3/8' in. square rod bent around studs where cylinder is bolted to base, thus raising the cylinder 3/8 and enlarging the combustion chamber. Would this reduce the HP? The piston, rings & wrist pin is worn but I will try to run it that way for now.' In the after photo, the gas tank was made; everything else is original except fan blades & guard. Flywheels are hollowed out in 2 places on each wheel for balance, on inside-it has a very small handle for cranking.