Letters & miscellanies

REO Engines, Termaat & Monahan and Fordson Starting Attachments

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It's a REO

I'd like to respond to John Popovich's query concerning his unidentified engine (query 38/6/3, June 2003, page 4). John's engine was originally a four-cylinder engine and is from a late teens or early 1920s REO Speed wagon truck. It has been cut in half and has a flywheel from a stationary engine mounted on it.

I've enclosed a picture of the engine in my unrestored 1920 Model F REO Speed wagon. The engine and truck serial number should be stamped on the crankcase casting just above the left front, or in his case, left engine mount. The fan is not mounted on my engine in the photo, but it is identical to his. My engine number is A62868.

Alan New 5389 W. 900 S.Pendleton, IN 46064

Termaat & Monahan

I was looking through the September 2002 issue of GEM and noticed the question (query 37/9/1, page 4) about a Battery engine belonging to Chris Jowett.

I don't know what information you might have received, but this sure looks like a Termaat & Monahan as made in Oshkosh, Wis. The flywheel governor is a giveaway, but the water-cooled muffler is the real key as T&M had a patent on this. Detroit also sold marine engines like this, and I believe these were built by T&M or from T&M supplied castings.

I also think that R.J. Duckwall's engine (query 38/6/4, June 2003, page 4) is a Termaat & Monahan. For one, it doesn't have the name 'Gray' cast into the hopper. Also, Gray used a governor on the cam, and while I can't tell from the photo, I imagine R.J.'s has a throw weight on the flywheel. Gray also used four-bolt main caps.

Termaat & Monahan became the Universal Motor Co. marine division in 1914, while still manufacturing the T&M four cycle farm engine, until declaring bankruptcy in 1917 and changing the farm engine line to the Wiscona Pep. These were dropped around 1920, and Universal continued to make marine engines in Oshkosh until 1961 when the engine division was sold to Westerbeke.

The company continued as Universal Foundry until 1985 when they closed. Universal was a large foundry and sold castings of all types, including aluminum pipe connecters for my father's business.

Chad Johnson Omro, Wis. weaseltronius@msn.com

Fordson Attachments

I ran across an article from the long-defunct Ford Life Magazine that I thought might be of interest to GEM readers. Of note are the special attachments to aide in starting Fordson tractors. Were they really that hard to start? Also, in response to Neil Harvey's query in the April 2003 issue (query 38/4/2, page 4), you can get water-slide decal paper for inkjet and laser printers that works very well. If you can trace an old pattern you could make a good decal yourself.

Ken Caris

1241 Clinton St. Fremont, OH 43420

Various aftermarket devices were available for Fordson owners to help start stubborn engines, as these old illustrations show. In all fairness, these were designed to help with starting brand new or freshly rebuilt engines, and were not intended for daily starting chores.

Elto Outboard

During the World War II era, my father had an Elto outboard. It was an opposed two-cylinder, two-stroke with simultaneous firing. It had a nickel-plated flywheel exposed on top, and there was a little knob on the flywheel. To start the engine you pulled the little knob up, grabbed it and gave it a flip. The knob would then snap back with a sharp 'ding.' After any number of these flip-ding moves, it might start. It would either start going forward or backward, or oscillating back and forth, unsure of which way it wanted to go.

The power head did not swivel, it had a rudder, and there was no neutral. The practical way to reverse the boat was with the oars, with the motor off. I was too little to go fishing with dad, but my older brother got acquainted with the Elto in a rented wooden rowboat. The last time my dad took my brother fishing with the Elto my brother rowed the boat while dad flip-dinged the motor. After the day's fishing, dad did get it started, running forward, and then it refused to stop. They did circles at the end of the dock, with the battery disconnected and the cables off the plugs, until it ran out of gas. The Elto sat in the cellar for years, and I have no idea where it went.

John L. Ditman

Adamstown, Md. wygelia@erols.com

Onan Engine

In regards to the Onan generator in the June 2003 issue of GEM (query 38/6/8, page 6), the engine in question is indeed an Onan. That engine was also made in a V-4 configuration, which used the same engine block, heads and pistons as the two-cylinder shown. The two-cylinder version is fairly common, while the V-4 is quite rare. The generator shown is minus its control panel and is also missing its electric starter and 12-volt battery.

As to Bamford diesel engines made in England -some time back C.H. Wendel mentioned acquiring one. Besides the one I have, his is the only other one I have heard of among collectors. Mine is a Type Z-3, 7 HP, rated at 600 rpm. I have never been able to find any information in relation to that engine, even from the Canadians who come down to Lynden, Wash., to watch it run.

One other thing: During World War II, I repaired and operated Southern Cross diesel units for the Australian Army Engineers. I have never seen or heard of one among collectors in the United States.

Wayne Leffler

7924 Soper Hill Road Everett, WA 98205 (425) 334-5459

Send letters to: Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265; rbackus@ogdenpubs.com