Letters & Miscellanies

Homemade Tractors, Cooper-Bessemer Engines and an Alma Engine Registry

Bulls Eye Gasoline Engine

Jerry Toews

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Homemade Tractors

I was interested to read the short article on homemade tractors that appeared on page 4 of the April 2004 issue. If the information I've heard is correct, there were companies that offered wheels, axles, differentials and a steering mechanism for making your own tractor. From there, you did the rest. The one I have uses timbers for the framework and a 7 HP Economy engine for power. It really is nicely done and a lot of fun to drive.

Jerry Toews, Goessel, Kan, jtoews@mtelco.net

Twin Cooper-Bessemer Engines

I have been an avid reader of GEM for many years, and for some time I even had a respectable collection of old engines of my own. Today, although I do not have the wherewithal to pursue the hobby as I would like to, I still stay on the lookout for any restorable engine or piece of equipment. Not long ago, I was doing some repair work on a lift at the PetroFac fabrication plant in Tyler, Texas, when I noticed a large engine hidden back in the far corner of the building. Closer inspection yielded a pair of Cooper-Bessemer engine/generator units of huge proportions. At the time, the engines were safely covered in the back corner of the building, so I made a note of them and went about my business.

The company has since sold out, the building has been torn down around the engines, and the new owners do not know what to do with the units. As far as I can tell, both assemblies are complete, although they are partially dismantled.

I was wondering if any individual or entity within the engine community could acquire and restore these machines? I would hate to see this pair go to the scrap yard.

The first unit is a Cooper-Bessemer Type JS-8-SG, serial no. 6921, 13-inch by 16-inch bore and stroke, 450 rpm, 1,420 HP, firing order 1-4-7-6-8-5-2-3. It's coupled to a Westinghouse Model E56F2W generator, serial no. 1S89P857, 1,250 KVA, 1,508 amp, 180/277-volt. The other unit is identical, bearing serial nos. 6922 and 2S-89P857, respectively. These engines are turbocharged (and possibly inter-cooled) natural gas units. I can put interested parties in touch with the owners.

B. J. Benton, 13326 County Road 3104, Gladewater, TX 75647, (903) 986-1859

Of Belts and Blades

Some 50 years ago, we used a Farmall H to run a paper ensilage cutter. Due to the building's configurations, the tractor was parked a distance away, so we used a long belt with a twist in it.

One day when we stopped for lunch, someone decided to put sharp blades on the cutter while everything was shut down. They laid the old ones and a large wrench in the feed trough and then had their dinner. Of course, once we were done eating it was time to go back to work. Someone started up the H and in a few seconds all hell broke loose. Yes, they forgot the old blades and wrench, and they got fed into the cutter.

The day's work was over. The ensilage cutter came apart, and it took the steering wheel off the H. The moral, of course, is that one can never be too careful.

Albert Harris, 23 Howard St., Franklinville, NY 14737

Of Mice and Men

It's time to start getting ready for show season, so I pulled my 3-5 HP IHC LA out of the garage for cleaning. I smelled something funny, and in the water hopper I found a mouse nest. That made me wonder if the head was plugged, and I discovered it sure was. But what was this stuff inside it? It wasn't grass, paper or leaves.

My fishing boat is parked at the other end of the garage, and taking a closer look I found one seat cushion with a hole in it and half the stuffing gone. I wonder how many miles that mouse put on building that nest, running 110 feet every trip?

Well, it cost me two hours labor, one head gasket and one seat cushion. So remember, cover your water hoppers in the fall when you drain them!

Dean Warrington, P.O. Box 477, Hampshire, IL 60140

Alma Engine Registry

Serial Number 

Type 

Horsepower  

8666

Alma Jr.

1-1/2

10215

Alma Jr.

1-1/2

N.A.

Alma Jr.

1-1/2

9770

Clipper

1-1/2

9935

Clipper

1-1/2

9955

Clipper

1-1/2

10136

Clipper

1-1/2

2685 (TC)

7B

2

5510 (TC)

1A

2

6077

1AA

2

6095

3AA

2

6715

2AA

2

7013

3AA

2

7939

3AA

2

7971

3AA

2

11321

N.A.

2

11459

3AA

2

7940

3ZZ

3

8019

3ZZ

3

752

N.A.

4

6252

1DD

4

7794

4DD

4

1835

5F

5

2271

6F

5

2852

6F

5

3333 (TC)

7E

5

521

N.A.

6 or 7

7907

3EE

6

N.A.

N.A.

6

4598

1S

30

Alma Serial Numbers

I've put together a list of serial numbers for engines made by Alma Manufacturing Co., Alma, Mich. The engine models were the Mc Vicker, the Alma Jr. and the Clipper (the Clipper was aircooled). I also have a list of owners, with the exception of serial no. 7971 and serial no. 4598. I saw engine no. 7971 at the swap meet in Portland, Ind., but failed to get the owner's name. The engine may have been sold by now. David Babcock, Cass City, Mich., once owned engine no. 4598, which was sold to someone in Ohio, I believe.

If you don't see your serial number on this list, please contact me with the following information: name, address, phone number (optional), engine serial number, type and horsepower. I will then add your information to my register. If you would like a list of owners, please send a large SASE to me.

Roger Eldred, 10750 S. Vroman Road, Shepherd, MI 48883, roaks35@aol.com

Belt Dressing Woes

I read the request for belt dressing and thought I'd pass along my experience.

My brother and I live on a dairy farm in northeastern Wisconsin, and we still use some belt-operated equipment, including an Allis-Chalmers long-hopper belt blower for blowing oats and straw up in the barn, and a belt-driven hammer mill for grinding cattle feed, to name a few.

It's been a few years since I've seen the stick-type belt dressing around, and in recent years we used 'Pullmore' liquid belt treatment that came in a pint can. The store where we used to buy it no longer carries the product, so I called the phone number on the label. I was informed they had discontinued the Pullmore brand, but they had liquid belt dressing available under another brand name.

They gave me the number of a store where it could be bought, but when I contacted the store I was informed they no longer did business with the belt-dressing supplier. The store then gave me the number of yet another outfit, but they had belt dressing in little spray cans only.

My dad used to say that old threshermen would use steam cylinder oil for belt dressing. That might be okay for large belts like on a sawmill or thresher. So, I too am interested in finding some kind of belt dressing.

Nathan Larson, W. 7280 Johnson Road, Shiocton, WI 54170

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