BOOK Reviews

New Book on Allis Chalmers


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Richard A. Day, Jr. has published two more books on Palmer engines.

Once again, the team of Charles Wendel and Crestline Publishing have taken on an extensive corporate history-this time the firm is Allis Chalmers and the emphasis is on the farming products.

Because of the nature of the corporation (which is one that ultimately involves a conglomeration of over fifty separate companies) is so complex, and diverse it has been a challenge to organize the various products manufactured between 1847 and today. Wendel has met this challenge by treating both the products and the individual company histories all as entries in one long alphabetically organized series. A one-page diagram of the companies with their years of acquisition and history of their own acquisitions is of great assistance to the reader.

Thus, we have significant histories of such A-C components as Advance -Rumely Thresher Co. (which had acquired such notables as Gaar-Scott, Aultman-Taylor and Universal Tractor Co. among others) as well as shorter entries on firms such as Fraser & Chalmers, a 1901 acquisition which manufactured mining equipment and was best known for its development of the frue vanner, a machine designed for concentrating high grade fine material.

As for the products, their diversity goes far beyond farm machinery and includes such major endeavors as the hydraulics division (major installations of A-C turbine installations include Hoover Dam and the Tennessee Valley Authority) and minor products such as the post hole digger made during the 1960s. There are a-bout 66 pages devoted to the A-C tractor line-not including those associated with the Rumely acquisition, which are covered separately. At the end of the 372-page volume are 24 pages of serial number lists.

Allis-Chalmers began in 1847 with the establishment of a firm called Decker &. Seville (and known as the Reliance Works), manufacturers of saw mills and other products. In 1861, the Milwaukee firm was purchased by Edward P. Allis. What followed is a very interesting history including the 1901 merger with Fraser & Chalmers, numerous acquisitions including the 1931 purchase of Advance Rumely Thresher Co. and Birdsell Co., and ultimately the sale on March 25, 1985 to Kockner-Humboldt-Deutz AG of West Germany.

As with previous books, Wendel's emphasis has been on the products, their development and the features which map their evolution. There are pages and pages of photographs with detailed descriptions of the Allis-Chalmers products. Fascinating reading, and another excellent reference for the collector.

The Allis Chalmers Story by C. H. Wendel retails for $29.95.

New Palmer Engine Books

The first, The Palmer Engine Company Models BH, BHT, BHW, BH-25, and PW-27, is a 70 page book which includes 10 pages of Dick's writing, 3 of old Palmer factory photos arid' the, rest are reprints of Palmer, Zenith carburetor and Wico magneto manuals. The book is published by the author and is available for $6.00 postpaid from Richard Day at 6 Windward Dr., Severna Park, MD 21146. . The BH (for Baby Husky) is a 6 HP single cylinder marine engine, introduced just after WWII. It replaced the model YT engine which had been in production since 1921. The BH was entirely designed and built by Palmer except for its Ford V8 piston.

In 1957, Palmer replaced the BH with an engine of almost identical performance that was a water-cooled marine version of a Wisconsin industrial engine, calling it the P.W.27. This means Palmer-Wisconsin, 27 cu. inches. No doubt it was less costly to build, thanks to the high production quantities of the Wisconsin parts.

Dick Day's book covers both engines in detail. Besides presenting very complete service information, he tells some interesting tales of the design and development of these engines and the reasons for their variations.

Another recently published book from Day is Palmer Gas Engine Hand Book, published by Heritage Engine Collection, 6 Windward Drive, Severna Park, MD 21146, which also sells for $6.00 postpaid-Maryland residents add 5% sales tax.

Subtitled 'Restoration and Maintenance Notes for Two and Four Cycle Antique Marine Engines, Circa 1900-1940,' the book is another in the Palmer engine series and has 80 pages.

Palmer Brothers published the original Hand Book in 1911 in pocket book format, then revised it in 1923. Dick Day has reset the book for easy reading and inserted notes throughout to include modern knowledge.

The Hand Book is interesting reading as history; Palmer is instructing men who are meeting an engine for the first time. This new edition will also be useful to collectors who are restoring marine engines of any make.