How Your Hobby Started Part XVIII

Pump-Jack engine

Courtesy of Mrs. Richard Wendelburg, Tribune, Kansas 67879.

Mrs. Richard Wendelburg

Content Tools

3904-47th Avenue, S., Seattle, Washington 98118

Like the new era of improved living conditions ushered in by the introduction of gasoline engine electric lighting plants for the home, this 1972 New Year's installment will take a look at the various makes and models manufactured by numerous companies from early times to the present.

From the time that de Molyens of Cheltonham, England in 1841 first invented the incandescent lamp by the use of high resistance through a platinum wire, it was evident that light could be generated by means other than burning of candles and stove oil lamps.

In 1845 J. W. Starr of Cincinnati proposed the use of carbon for a lamp filament instead of platinum. In 1880 Edison patented the most practical lamp and the incandescent lamp was then developed for all kinds of use.

These lamps were first rated in candle power. The 16 c.p. lamp was considered a standard for indicating the output of the first gasoline engine driven electric home lighting plants. The specification of such units would state the capacity by the number of 16 c.p. lamps that could be supplied from the generator at full load on the engine. 55 watts of generator capacity at 110 volt was required for each 16 c. p. lamp.

Edison lamps had the type of screw in pockets as we know them today. The Thompson-Houston socket had a smooth base ring. The Sawyer-Man socket had annual rings and a stem at the end for a center contact.

Generators which at first were called dynamos, were mostly direct current. The field coils were usually wound on two vertical poles somewhat resembling two cylinders with an armature turning between these field windings on outboard bearings with commutator all exposed and with the brush rigging entirely in the open. Larger units were built in circular frame much like the early alternators.

It is difficult to say which manufacturer used the first dynamo with a gasoline engine to make a generating or lighting plant.

One of the more popular electric lighting plants was built by the Domestic Engineering Company of Dayton, Ohio under the trade name of Delco. From a 1917 Delco Catalog No. 1019-3000 M, supplied by Broken Kettle Book Service, information regarding this manufacturer's products has been obtained. Besides the electric lighting outfits, they made starting and ignition systems for automobiles.

The 750 watt or ? K.W. 32 volt battery charging Delco Light Plant described in the above catalog was a compact unit consisting of an air-cooled engine single cylinder, vertical engine with overhead valves operating at 1000 rpm. The cylinder had vertical fins with a sheet metal housing to direct the cooling air. The cylinder was bolted to the upper crankcase. The enclosed crankcase and flywheel opposite the generator end of the unit had built-in spokes to form a blower that took air through the cooling spaces around the cylinder and discharge it through the generator. A 32 volt direct current generator was built on an extended crankshaft on the opposite end of the machine.

The crankshaft was fitted with roller main bearings and with a herring bone gear to drive the camshaft. Vertical valve push rods operated from the camshaft in the crankcase to valve rocker arms on the head. The bearings, camshaft and cylinder was lubricated by a splash system. It was necessary to remove the flywheel to get the front cover of the crank off to remove the crankshaft and hearings.

A switchboard was located on the side of the unit. Controls for starting the engine from the storage battery were on the switchboard together with the amper hour meter and other switching gear. Larger capacity units were also built and electrical variations for direct lighting and other modifications to meet the market requirements.

A similar type of Home Light Plant was by the Western Electric Company in about 1920. As you learned from Verne Kindschi's article in the Nov-Dec. 1971 issue of GEM, the engines for the Western Electric electric lighting plants were manufactured by Fuller and Johnson. This was also an air-cooled, single cylinder, four cycle machine operating at 1000 rpm and rated 3 HP for 1500 watt unit, and 2 HP for the smaller unit. These were 32 volt battery charging systems with batteries ranging in capacities of 50 to 360 amp hour. The crankshaft was extended through the generator to accept a pulley for power take off by belt with the generator cut out.

The cylinder was air-cooled by taking air in around the top of cylinder by a fan built into the flywheel and discharging it out through the generator.

A bell crank was used as the crankshaft which extended through the generator to carry the armature and a power take off pulley outside the generator bearing. The camshaft, governor and timing gear were built in a unit and could be removed by taking the crankcase cover opposite the generator end off the unit. From the cams in the enclosed crankcase the valve push rods extended to the overhead valve rocker arms. These were enclosed in a cover over the cylinder head.

A plunger type pump in the crankcase furnished lubricating oil to the main bearings, camshaft and governor assembly. Ignition system used the 32 volt from the storage battery with a high tension coil and spark plug. Switchboard was arranged at the side of the engine and contained the engine starting switch, amp meter, battery charging switch and overcharge cut-out switch, with fuses. Engine could also be started with a crank. Fuel tank was in the base of the engine.

Roy Henry of Elba, New York, inventor of many patents--first of note was the firing of machine gun through propeller of airplane in World War One.

Model trains--'Bus' Longrod, Albion, New York--editor of 'Flywheel' of Western New York Gas and Steam Engine Association.

At the top are some models of Roy Henry. They were exhibited at several New York shows.

1916 Buick, with owner Roger Beall of Lanham, Maryland checking his engine. Picture taken by Roy in October 1965 at the Rockville Antique and Classic Car Show.

Roy Henry of Elba, New York, inventor of many patents--first of note was the firing of machine gun through propeller of airplane in World War One.

Model trains--'Bus' Longrod, Albion, New York--editor of 'Flywheel' of Western New York Gas and Steam Engine Association.

At the top are some models of Roy Henry. They were exhibited at several New York shows.

This is the 20-40 Rumely of Walter James, about 1950, filling silo-South of Grass Lake, Michigan.

Fairbanks Morse started to build electric lighting plants about 1910. The Type 'T' -- or 'Jack-of-all-Trades' engine had gone through years of improvements, and a special electric model was built with a sensitive governor control and extra heavy flywheels for application with dynamos built at the Indianapolis Electrical Works.

In 1889 electric ignition was first used on the Jack-of-all-Trades engines. The system was composed of square glass jars with zinc and carbon electrodes and sal-ammoniac and water electrolyte. Late in 1902 another modification to the Type T was the addition of the throttling governor which greatly improved the engine for use in driving electric generators. In 1904 the Apple ignition dynamo, made by the Dayton Electric Mfg. Co. of Dayton, Ohio was used to supply current for electric ignition on the Type T engines. During 1903 an open steel tank was mounted on and above the cylinder of the Type T which experiment lead to the development of the hopper-cooled gasoline engines.

During the next couple of years Fairbanks Morse purchased the Commercial Electric Company of Indianapolis, Indiana. This company built special three bearing horizontal belt driven dynamos with a flywheel for operation by gasoline engines. The flywheel smoothed out the irregular impulses of the power supplied by bell from gasoline engines. These dynamos were Form 'C' and built in capacities from 1? A to 20 K.W. in 110 volt. A Form 'W' generator in a larger three bearing machine with capacities of 1? to 30 K.W. in 110-120 volt and they could be run at higher speeds to produce 500 volts.

The company changed the name of the Indianapolis factory to Fairbanks, Morse where they built much of the early electrical machinery for many years. In 1906 the Form 'C' and 'W' dynamos were changed to the standard Type 'E' direct current generators. The flywheel design was discontinued and capacities from 5 to 75 K.W. were built. Larger capacity type 'EE' direct current generator in sizes from 20 to 150 K.W. in 125, 250 and 500 were also developed. Direct drive engine generators completed the line with ratings from 50 to 300 K.W.

The first Fairbanks, Morse electric generating plant was installed in 1891. From these factories came the gasoline engines and electrical generating equipment that brought about the special applications of units from 1904 to 1907 when a standard line of residential lighting plants were offered for sale.

The first Home Lighting Plants consisted of the special electric Type T engine with throttling governor and heavy flywheels direct connected to a direct current dynamo and all mounted on a cast-iron sub-base and with a set of batteries and a switchboard. A multiple sight feed oiler mounted on the side of the cylinder lubricated the engine. On stationary installations, a cooling water tank and pump made up the cooling system. Many of these slow speed heavy duty direct current home lighting plants operated in their original locations for over twenty years.

Three general types of Fairbanks, Morse electric plants were offered using the Type T engines that could be operated on either gasoline, petrol, naphtha distillate or natural gas. First, there was the long belt-driven generator, with special electric engine, generator and switchboard, where room was available. Second, was the self contained outfit with engine, generator, cooling tank and switchboard, all assembled on base with a short flat belt drive. Third, was the direct connected engine and Type T special electric engine with the generator on a cast-iron sub-base. On such units a large slow speed generator ran at the engine speed.

The 1907 Fairbanks Morse Electric Plant Specifications were as follows:

SEE CHART A

The long life and dependable service of these early Type 'T' engine powered light plants were very hard to beat. The engine was simple, requiring few repairs and blackouts were uncommon. However, the personal attention to start and stop them, filling oilers and the expensive 110 volt storage batteries were becoming costly, so in 1915 Fairbanks Morse developed a new high speed direct connected compact unit that would be less expensive and lighter in weight and take up less space.

My latest find-a 1905 15 HP. Olds with a serial No. 7, Model Type A. I still have to make a carburetor for it and hook the fuellines up. I've been collecting for eighteen years and have 28 gas engines and a 1925 Fordson.

CHART A

OUTFIT NO.

H.P.

R.P.M.

FLYWHEEL DIA. & FACE

CAPACITY 16 c.p; lamps

K.W.

SHIPPING WEIGHT

134

2

400

28' x 3?'

16

.9

1700

135

3

375

36'x 3?'

30

1.8

2500

136

4

375

36' x 3?'

40

2.5

2800

137

6

350

42' x 4?'

60

3.5

4000

138

9

350

48' x 4?'

90

5.5

5500

139

12

325

54' x 5'

120

7.5

7000

This was known as the 'Mor-Lite' Plant. It was practically automatic. To start it required only to push a button and it would stop when the 32 volt glass jar battery was fully charged. An automatic alarm would sound to tell the operator to start the plant when the battery was in need of charging. The amount of electricity in the battery at any time was shown by a meter dial on the switchboard.

The capacity of this plant would burn 40 lamps for six hours with the engine running and the fully charged battery. Lamps 20 watt, 18 candle power.

The floor space required for the unit was 3 feet by 2 feet and 43 inches high. It was powered by a Fairbanks Morse Type 'VD'--1H.P. vertical single cylinder, four cycle, water-cooled engine. The cooling radiator was used on this engine with an expansion tank mounted above. The heavy electric flywheel contained a built-in fan to force air through the radiator which was mounted above the flywheel.

The heavy two bearing crankshaft with renewable main bearings carried the flywheel at one end and the built on generator at the opposite side. It was 'L' head motor with water-cooled head. The combination fuel and lub. oil pump was outside the crankcase and it supplied lubricating oil to the cylinder and all of the bearings. The fuel pump took gasoline from the tank in the base of the engine to the carburetor with an overflow back to the fuel tank.

The entire unit was simple, self-contained and the electric governor regulated the speed so the engine ran slowly with a light load and an electric coil or solenoid opened up the throttle and speeded up the engine when the voltage was low or closed it and slowed down the engine when it was high. Push button starter caused the generator to act as a motor for cranking. An amper hour meter on the control panel showed the condition of the storage batteries.

The 'Mor-Lite' electric lighting systems were marketed for about five years when the company again offered another slow speed heavy duty engine belted to a high speed efficient direct current generator. This Fairbanks Morse Light and Power Plant was the 40 Light 'F' as covered by bulletin 40A dated 1919. These systems were built in four capacities of 40-65-100 and 200 light units.

The engine of these units is the low speed horizontal water-cooled Type 'Z' engine. Combined in a battery charging outfit, it was self-starting from the 32 volt system storage battery. As with other models, the generator control panel has a reverse current relay to protect the battery when the plant is shut down. The engine has a power take-off pulley to operate other equipment by belt direct from the engine.

These Type 'F' light plants can be recognized by the extended wood sub-base on which the engine and generator were mounted and the early ones had an electrical conduit along the side of the wood base to carry the wiring to the ignition coil mounted on the side of the water hopper of the engine.

Two larger plants were offered at this time, which consisted of the same type of equipment but were not mounted on a common base as a unit. Following are the specifications of the Fairbanks, Morse Type 'F' light plants with Bosch equipped 'Z' engine.

SEE CHART B

The Type 'F' Light Plant was built until 1922 when improvements were again made and the sales literature carried the name of the Fairbanks, Morse Double Duty Home Light Plants. The unit was of the same general appearance with the slow speed heavy duly Type 'Z' engine power belted to the ball bearing direct current generator. The wooden skids were replaced by cast-iron .sub-base on which the engine and generator were mounted.

CHART B

H.P.

R.P.M.

BORE& STROKE-IN.

WATTS

DYNAMO VOLTAGE

R.P.M.

BATTERY AMP. HR.

WEIGHT

1?

500

3?'x5'

600

37?

2100

60

900

3

475

4?' x 6'

900

40

2000

120

1600

3

475

4?' x 6'

1500

40

2000

160

1775

6

450

5?' x 8'

3500

40

1750

200

2600

A new style of cooling system was added to keep the engine operating at a constant temperature for best efficiency. This was the lirst vapor cooling used on gasoline engines. The hopper-cooled engine would operate at the boiling point and the steam would raise into a radiator mounted above the hopper, where by the use of a fan it was placed in the till pipe which would keep the cooling system at atmospheric pressure. When steam could be seen coming out of the vent, it was an indication that more cooling water was required.

The early model of the Double Duty Home Light plant 'Z 'engine was equipped with a Bosch high tension oscillating magneto. Magneto was discontinued in 1922 when the ignition was changed and the storage buttery energy supplied the coil on the side of the hopper.

The switchboard mounted on top of the generator was equipped with an amp meter, starting button and a field discharge switch. This switch controlled the charging rate on the batteries and would cut off the generator so all the engine power of the engine could be used for belt drive on the power take off pulley. This is how this model got its name as the Double Duty Plant. In 1924 there were four different ratings of the Fairbanks Morse Double Duty Light Plant as covered by these specifications:

SEE CHART C

Improvements were made to this model in later years by replacing the original flat generator drive belt by .modern 'V' belts. This same style plant was continued in the larger 6 and 9 HP ratings until about 1948.

During 1926 another high speed direct drive Fairbanks Morse lighting plant was placed on the market. This was Style '11' Home Light and Power Plant. It was made in two sizes of 750 and 1500 watt 32 volt. The two sizes were identical in design, the only difference being the size of the engine and generator.

This was an entirely enclosed unit. The lower part of the frame housed the closed crankcase, governor, timing gears, a counter balanced or overhung or bell crank, crankshaft, heavy flywheel with air circulating fan blade spokes, and the extension shaft on which the direct current generator was mounted. The single cylinder, four cycle, vertical vapor-cooled engine was of the 'L' head type with a flow of air up through the unit which was taken in around the generator housing. A Ricardo type of cylinder head was used to give better fuel consumption and help reduce the formation of carbon in the head and around the valves.

The upper part of the outfit was enclosed with a hinged aluminum cover over the engine, vacuum chamber and vapor condenser horizontal radiator. The outline of the entire unit was streamlined and tapered from the lower base to an oblong shaped top. The radiator, so arranged had two rows of flat copper tubes and one of these tubes is used for a vent to let air out of the radiator. This one tube was not connected to the intake side of the radiator so no steam could go through. Cooling air leaves the flywheel fan at 2000 feet per minute and the plant would operate satisfactory in ambient temperature of over 100° F.

There were many exclusive features in the engine design. While these were small engines, still a provision was made to operate them on kerosene. A small gasoline starting tank was provided so the engine could be started and warmed up on gasoline then changed over to kerosene for fuel. A unique mixing valve takes the fuel by suction from the fuel tank which mounted next to the engine. It has a priming device and a vacuum chamber to assist in the raising of fuel to the carburetor when the tank is nearly empty.

CHART C

HP

R.P.M.

BORE& STROKE

CAPACITY WATTS

VOLTS

AMP HR BATTERY

GEN. RPM

WEIGHT COMPLETE

1?

500

3?' x 5'

600

32-40

60

1750

1030

3

475

4?' x 6'

1500

32-40

120

1750

1620

3

475

4?' x 6'

1500

32-40

160

1750

1810

6

450

5?' x 8'

3500

32-40

200

1750

2790

6

150

5?' x 8'

3500

110

160

1750

4595

Other features of assembly of the plant for easy maintenance is the governor and timing gear assembly which consists of two castings on which these parts are mounted on the crankcase closure opposite the generator end. The ignition coil and timer are enclosed on the crankcase cover where they are protected. All parts in the crankcase could be removed and inspected by the removal of the end plates. A gear pump supplied lubrication under pressure to all working parts and the piston and cylinder walls by splash. The piston displacement of the 750 watt engine was 12 cu. inches and the bore 2?' and the stroke 3?'. On the 1500 watt size the piston displacement was 24 cu. inches and the bore and stroke was 2?' x 4'. The operating speed was 2000 rpm on the small unit and 1800 on the 1500 watt rating.

These style 'H' plants were on the market for a few years until the event of the introduction of Type 'Z' Style D closed crankcase engine in 1928. At that time Fairbanks Morse put on the market an improved compact Home Light Plant that was built around the Type 'Z' relative slow speed long life heavy duty engine driving a direct current generator at the most efficient speed. This was the Type 'A' electric generating plant. It was built in sizes of 750-1500 and 2500 watt capacities. These were sold in the late 1920s and through 1930s. In 1941 the capacities were increased to 3000 watts in the 32 volt and 5000 watts at 110 volts D.C. Larger capacity combinations of the 'Z' engine and belted generators were offered in 2?-3, 5, 7? and 10 K.W. in alternating current and available at either 120 or 240 volt single phase on three phase generators.

The 750 and 1500 watt sizes were assembled with the generators mounted on an adjustable base on top of the water hopper with V belt drive. The drive was protected in a steel housing. The cover on the water hopper carried the base for the condensing radiator and a fan on the generator shaft extension forced air through the condenser.

An electrical control box was on the back of the plant with amp meter to indicate the rate of charge or discharge.

A high-low battery charging switch permitted the proper rate for the condition of the battery. There was also a generator disconnect, so all the engine power could be utilized on the belt pulley.

The Type 'A' Home Light Plants were on the market up to about 1949 and in addition there were numerous high speed direct drive generating systems with automotive type engines in capacities ranging up to 35 K.W. During these years the direct drive units were assembled in capacities from 200 watts at 6--12 and 32 volt battery chargers and up to 5000 watts using Wisconsin, Briggs-Stratton and Onan air-cooled engines. A variety of electrical types were offered in D.C. and A.C. in automatic, remote and manual control modifications.

In 1950 the Model 'B' Light Plant came on the market with the latest model of the Type ''Z' engine driving the top mounted 32 volt generator. It was made in 850 watt on the 2 HP engine and 1800 watt on the 3 HP. Generators of both 32 and 110 volt were standard equipment.

One of the improvements on these generating sets, was the entirely enclosed generator and condensing radiator under one cover, with the central switchboard mounted on the cover at the back. Engine was built on a fabricated steel base with the fuel tank located between the frame.

This Model 'B' Fairbanks Morse gasoline engine Home Light and Power Plant was built until the company discontinued manufacturing the 'Z' engines in this country. Other high speed air-cooled engine models were also available using a 2 cylinder 4 cycle 9.3 H.P. Wisconsin engines on the 3000 watt capacity set and 17 H.P. engine on a 5000 watt unit. These outfits were supplied with manual, remote or automatic type of control and in 32 and 110 volt A.C. and D.C. generators.

As the small diesel engines were developed Fairbanks, Morse offered the single cylinder, four cycle, vertical water cooled Model 45B--DEB direct connected Light and Power Plant with a capacity of 3-6 and 15 K.W. These were available in both D.C. and A.C. current and in both 32 and 110 volts.

A 1935 Chevrolet truck with my son, Guthrie, and a rather rough I. H. C. 10-20 aboard.

CHART D

H.P.

NO. CYLS.

BORE& STROKE

DISPL. CU. IN.

RPM

TORQUE RATED ft. lbs

COMP. RATIO

K.W. 8 P.F.

WEIGHT

5?

1

3 1/8' x 4'

30.7

1800

15

15? to 1

3

820

10?

1

4 1/8' x 4?'

60.14

1800

30

15? to 1

6

970

25

3

4 1/8' x 5?'

140.3

1800

73

16 to 1

15

1495

Harold Cleveland beside Abram E. Johnson's Model C Case belted up to the Baker fan--a very nice day and a great show at the Tioga Early Days in July, 1971.

Dave and Barb with Model C Case of Mr. Johnson's at the Fairville Pioneer Gas Reunion in August of 1971. Dave and Barb had a nice display of gas engines there.

A scene from the Pioneer Gas Show, 1971. Abram E. Johnson was head sawyer and the American sawmill was powered with Model C Case. Picture taken by Dave Angell who was off bearer.

From left--McCormick-Deering, Mogul, Empire and Cushman engines. Beside Harold Norton is Fairbanks-Morse engine and behind Ed Wendelburg is Fuller-Johnson pump-jack engine. Taken at Bird City, Kansas in July 1971.

These engines were of the latest design with renewable cylinder liners, overhead valves in a removable watercooled head with Lanova type combustion chamber. Alloy steel counter balanced crankshaft mounted on Tim-ken roller main bearings, with pressure lubrication in the closed crankcase. Engines and generators were mounted on a cast-iron base which contained the lubricating oil reservoir. A radiator and fan used for cooling was built on the engine base. Air filter was connected to the air intake pipe and lubricating oil fitter was on the side of the engine. Hand hole plates on both sides of the crankcase permitted access to the bearings and flyball governor. Electric starters were mounted flywheel housing and the electrical switchboard was attached to the unit over the generator. The specifications covering the Fairbanks Morse Model 45 generating plants are as follows:

SEE CHART D

While these small diesel units are somewhat out of the category of the gasoline engine, still they take place of the larger Home Light Plants in the modern market. Competitive outfits of these same general specifications were offered by Stover, Onan, Witte, Lister, General Motors and others that were made in small capacities for homes, motels, boats and many other applications for remote locations.

A catalog from Broken Kettle Book Service on the Kohler Company of Kohler, Wisconsin automatic electric plants states that their first patents were obtained in 1908. The company received 19 patents in the U.S., 18 in Canada, four in Great Britain and four in France from 1908 to 1926.

The Kohler electric generating system was different in the basic design than other competitors in that the engine would start automatically when a pre-determined load was placed on the control device, thus starting the plant to supply energy direct to the lighting system. Most of their patents covered the automatic control features. The engine would start when a load of 75 watts was connected to the system.

Another characteristic of the Kohler generating plant was the water-cooled four cylinder, vertical four cycle engine that was direct connected to the generator. These small multi-cylinder engines were precision made and operated with good dependability. The frame of the generator was bolted to the flywheel housing with the radiator attached to the top of the flywheel housing. The switchboard or electric control panel was mounted on top of the generator housing. The lower base of the engine was divided at the crankshaft center line and the timing gear assembly was built in a detachable housing on the end opposite the generator.

The removable cylinder head contained the overhead valves and the lubricating filler hole was in the overhead valve cover. A float type carburetor was used and on the early plants a vacuum tank gasoline system was used. In later years a fuel pump was used to raise the gasoline from an underground supply tank. These engines had two main bearings with a double throw in the middle of the four cylinder crank.

Kohler made many models as developments took place over the years. Some of these were Models A--B--BA-- C-- CA--  D-- DA -- DAV -- DM --DMAV -- DMV -- DP -- DPV -- DV --E-- EA -- EP -- K -- KA -- KP -- KPV --KV -- L -- LA and LP.

Capacities were 1500 and 2000 watt 110 volt D. C. In later years they offered A. C. plants in various voltages and also more recent plants were diesel engine driven.

Some model designations were:

1500 WATT: Model D -- Automatic Gasoline; Model DM -- Automatic Gasoline; Model E -- Manual Gasoline; Model DA -- Automatic Gasoline; Model EA -- Manual Gasoline.

2000 WATT: Model K; Model O; Model L; Model KA; Model LA.

There are many other Kohler details not covered by the catalog at hand, as a complete history of this company would make a long story.