Letters & Miscellanies

Notes and Responses From Readers

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Mery Explosive

I enjoyed your story in the November 2002 issue on the Mery six-cycle engine.

Some time in the 1970s, a Mery showed up at the Vista, Calif., semi-annual show. It must have been the one owned by Bob Patty. I could almost swear it was painted red, but I could be mistaken. I remember hearing that the engine was seriously damaged on its way home, and until your article had never heard of it again.

As you noted, the engine attracts a lot of attention, and a few of us were extremely interested in it. I was thinking of building a model, but we were never sure exactly how it ran - I think we never picked up on the six-cycle bit.

Your article mentions a quarter-scale kit being sold by Roland Morrison, but no address was given. If the flywheel on the original engine is about four feet in diameter, then the overall length must be about 10 feet and the scale around 30 to 36 inches. Just right - a little large, but not too small. Jarvis Williams Berkeley Gardens/Rm. #9 2620 Broadway Santa Monica, CA 90404

You're pretty dose, Jarvis. Including the flywheel, the scale Mery has an overall length of22-5/8 inches. The body and cylinder are 19 inches long. That means the real Mery is just over 7-1/2 feet long, including the flywheel, and just under 6-1/2 feet long, body and cylinder only.

More than a few people called asking for Roland's address after that article ran, so here it is. Roland will be more than happy to answer any other questions about the scale Mery -Editor, Morrison & Martin Engine Works P.O.Box 555 Benton City, WA 99320 rolandmm@earthlink.net

Ford Turbine Tractor

I was discussing Ford tractors with a friend the other day and looking at his Ford book, when I thought that I recalled seeing in a magazine several years ago that Ford had produced an experimental tractor that used a gas turbine engine for power. As I recall, they called it the 'Typhoon.' My friend had never heard of such an animal. This had to be back in the 1950s or 1960s, and it never became a production unit.

Was I dreaming, or does anyone else remember this tractor? Dave Ruark 274 Malone Hill Rd. Pomeroy, WA 99347 E-mail: elephant@pomeroy-wa.com

No, you weren't dreaming, Dave. In 1957 Ford did indeed experiment with a gas turbine-powered tractor, and it was called the Typhoon, as you thought. According to Larry Gay's Guide to Ford, Fordson and New Holland Tractors, the Typhoon was powered by a 100 HP free-piston turbine engine backed by a 10-speed shift-on-the-fly transmission. It also featured faired-ln headlamps, a hood scoop and power steering.

While the Typhoon was never intended for production, it's said that many of its design cues, and some of its technology, were eventually transfered to other Ford tractors.

Just as fun, in 1961 IHC built a wild turbine-powered experimental tractor, the HT-340. Its gas turbine engine was said to produce around 80 HP, while weighing in at a nominal 60 lbs. The operating engine speed was supposedly 57,000 rpm, requiring some interesting gearing to pull it down to a useable level.

In fact, the Illinois and Indiana Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club, Penfield, Ill., had the HT-340 on display during its 13th Annual Red Power Round-Up last July 11-14.

The HT-340 has been in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., since 1967, but I&I has loan of the IHC experimental for the next three years. You can see it at their museum in Penfield, Ill. More pictures of the HT-340 are on the I&I web site (www.antiquefarm.org). To see more experimentals, log on to Danny Bowes' web site at: www.geocities.com/diesel fumes/experimentals.html -Editor

Oil Field History

Walter Taubeneck wrote in recently, telling us about a book published by David L. McKain and Bernard L. Allen, in cooperation with The Oil & Gas Museum, Parkersburg, WV.

The book, Where It All Began, is the story of the early oil and gas industry in West Virginia and southeastern Ohio, and it features many old advertisements from early oil field engine manufacturers such as Pattin Bros., Parkersburg Gas Engine Works and Parkersburg Machine Co.

We haven't had a chance to review a copy, but it looks like a good addition to the library of anyone interested in the oil fields and oil field history.

The book is $36, which includes shipping. The book can be ordered by contacting David L. McKain at: 1225 Ann St. Parkersburg, WV 26101 dlmckain@yahoo.com

Send letters to: Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265, or e-mail: rbackus@ogdenpubs.com

In Memoriam

Don King, 79, passed away Nov. 12, 2001 in Silvis, Ill. Starting in the early 1970s, Don became an integral part of the Antique Engine and Tractor Association, Atkinson, Ill., and served as president from 1973 to 1974.

Along with a 6 HP Mogul, a very nicely restored 15-30 McCormick-Deering and numerous other engine items, Don also owned a 1928 Packard automobile and was a past president of the Antique Automobile Club. Don also liked scale engines, and he had an Ann Arbor block-type baler that would make 5-inch by 8-inch bales 13 inches long.

Don enjoyed the fellowship and interest of others interested in preserving antiques. Don's input and assistance will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

Submitted by John W. Boyens, Antique Engine and Tractor Association Inc.

G. Dick Mason, Norfolk, England, passed away August 2002, after a short illness. Don loved old engines, and especially enjoyed reading about other people's finds and restorations. He enjoyed traveling to many of the engine shows, and will be greatly missed.

Submitted by Betty Mason, Norfolk, England.

Tom Buller, 72, Sardinia,Ohio, died June 11, 2002, after an accident involving a farm tractor rollover at his residence. Tom, a native of Sault St. Marie, Canada, operated Custom Craft Welding in Xenia, Ohio, for several years before moving to Spring Valley Farm in 1974.

He was well known as a welder, machinist and steam engineer. He was active in several organizations, including the Miami Valley Steam Threshers and the Ohio Valley Antique Machinery Inc.

Survivors include his wife, Sirkka; son Terrence Buller; daughters Anne Cornell and Gina Barnett; and eight grandchildren.

His friendship, guidance and soft voice will be greatly missed by many fellow collectors, friends and acquaintances. I am proud to have had Tom Buller as my friend and mentor in the steam engine hobby.

Submitted by Mark L. Rembis, ML Orab, Ohio.

Eldon Coates, Zwingle, Iowa, died Sept. 13, 2002. Eldon, 92, was born July 30, 1910. He married Ruby Albrecht on March 10, 1936, and together they raised two sons on their family farm.

Along with his love for his family and farming, Eldon's main passion in life was old tractors and tractor related activities. Eldon started his collection in 1953 with the acquisition of a Farm Horse, a tractor made in Gutenberg, Iowa, in the late teens. Eldon gathered together quite a few odd and unusual pieces, and his collection included a Samson Iron Horse, a four-wheel-drive Model T and an Indiana Tractor that was previously owned by 'Grandpa Jones' of Hee-Haw fame. His collection even earned him a special article in the local newspaper, The Telegraph Herald, and a picture in the Dupont Agricultural Products Classic Farm Tractor Calendar in 1992. His concern for his collection pushed him to hold an auction in 1992 before he got 'too old,' so he would know where every piece in his collection went.

We'll never forget how Eldon got up so very early so many mornings to go to a tractor show or swap meet. And no matter where he went, there was always someone who knew him. Once, while on vacation in New York, someone recognized him from his picture in the Dupont calendar and asked him for his autograph. Eldon never forgot that day, laughing about his moment of 'fame.'

Eldon is survived by his wife, Ruby; two sons, Paul (Carol) and Dale (Joan); and his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Submitted by Bill, Melissa and Mike Spoerl, Sherrill, Iowa.