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Bates & Edmonds Air Compressor Questions

Flywheel Forum

This early vertical Bates & Edmonds has been converted into an air-compressor, but was it done by the factory?

Flywheel Forum

Cylinder head has been unplugged.

Flywheel Forum

Numbers stamped on flywheel.

Reader Jim Brown writes in about an early vertical Bates & Edmonds engine that’s been converted for air compressor duty. Jim writes: “John Barrong recently acquired what may be a Bates & Edmonds factory-built air compressor. The flywheels are 20 inches in diameter. You can see where the igniter was supposed to be and the rocker arm is gone. Both flywheels show the same sets of numbers, with the number 10 stamped on the outside edge of the flywheel (a separate number 0 is stamped above and sideways) and the number 88 on the inside edge.” Ted also has a “standard” vertical Bates & Edmonds, and says that engine features the number 59 stamped on the inside edge and the number 1 on the outside edge of the flywheels. “I would appreciate if anyone knows the significance of the numbering scheme,” Jim writes, “as well as to whether the engine was converted to an air compressor at the factory or by a prior owner.” 

The “compressor” engine, if indeed that’s what it is, carries a build plate identifying it as an “Imperial Gasoline Engine Manufactured for Monroe & Shelton By Bates & Edmonds Motor Co.” The June/July 2009 GEM included a photo and specifications for reader Mike Thomas’ 1905 4 hp Imperial. Also built by Bates & Edmonds, that engine’s build plate did not list Monroe, only Shelton, but it did include the engine’s horsepower rating and serial number at the bottom, a feature not found on Jim’s “compressor” engine’s tag. If anyone can shed any light on this we’d love to hear from you, as would Jim.

Jim Brown

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Rough & Tumble Gas Engine School

Rough and Tumble

Graduates of the 2017 class line up for a group photo.

Readers of our sister publication Farm Collector are familiar with that magazine’s annual listing of steam schools held by clubs across the country. Now word comes of a new school teaching newcomers to the hobby how to operate vintage gas engines. Offered by Rough & Tumble and held at the club’s Kinzers, Pennsylvania, show grounds, the R&T Gas Engine School is the first of its kind offered anywhere in the U.S. and focuses on gas engine safety, care and operation. The first school was held June 24-25, 2017. In addition to classroom instruction, students got hands-on experience with R&T’s 3 hp Mietz & Weiss, the 1867 Otto Langen, the 1913 6 hp Otto, R&T’s 1900 Williamson, and more – including the club’s huge 485 hp Cooper! The 2018 school will be held June 23-24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Saturday will be devoted to classroom and engine running basics and students will run engines on Sunday. The school is limited to 18 students. Tuition is $40. 

For more information,contact Rough & Tumble at (717) 442-4249 or email

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Unidentified Walk-Behind Garden Tractor in Australia


GEM reader Ted Domeney in Australia sends in a photo of a walk-behind garden tractor, with hopes someone might help identify the manufacturer. Ted writes: “The David Bradley machine, if indeed that is what it is, is not seen in Australia very often. Certainly, this is the only one we have seen. It has a small air-cooled single-cylinder gas engine labelled as a Wallis. There is a belt drive to the wheels and the clutch is a pulley that tightens down onto the belt. There are no gears, so speed is managed by the throttle. There is no power take-off for power-driven attachments, but it did come with a tiller cultivator and the drawbar could be used to tow a small trailer. Steering is by steering clutches, one to each wheel, and there is no reverse gear. When disconnected from the tiller, the machine needs a stand to hold it balanced on its two wheels. The grille is different to any seen on the internet, but is very similar to them. What can you or your readers tell us about this machine please? What is known about the Wallis motor?”

Ted Domeney
Tasmania, Australia

Update: Ted wrote in again shortly before we went to publication, letting us know he found a tag on the engine reading “Montgomery Ward & Co.” We can’t say for certain what the tractor is, but it’s definitely not a David Bradley. It does, however, look similar to a Montgomery Ward & Co. Plow-Trac, but we’ve only seen photos of a Plow-Trac and then only with rubber tires and a slightly different front grill. Montgomery Ward did market a 4-wheel mini-tractor called the Team Trac that featured a grill very similar to that on Ted’s machine. Ward most certainly bought the tractors from an established manufacturer, but who that manufacturer was is unknown. From what we can find, the Plow-Trac and Team Trac tractors all used Wisconsin engines and we can find no information concerning a Wallis engine.

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Possible Identity for a Sears Briggs & Stratton Engine


Reader Carl Davis sent photos for the October/November 2017 issue, asking if anyone could positively identify a Sears-branded Briggs & Stratton engine he owns. Recently, we heard from reader Warren Landis, who writes: “It looks like a Briggs Model ZZ. I had one like it on a Shaw Du-All tractor.” 

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

United Type A Engine Igniter and Fuel Tank

United type A. 

Reader Bill Gingerich writes in looking for information on a United Type A engine he has. Bill writes: “I need information on a United Type A 1-3/4 hp, serial number 104065. It originally had an igniter, now changed to spark plug. The original mixer is gone and it now appears to have a Briggs & Stratton float-type carb. I wish to change it back to igniter, or a better spark plug setup. The fuel tank is gone; was it in the base? 

Bill Gingerich
24491 Cemetery Road
Spartansburg, PA 16434
(814) 654-7254

A look at Dick Webber’s excellent web site devoted to  United engines ( suggests your engine was probably built in the 1916-1918 time frame and that the fuel tank should indeed have been in the base. Looking at two Type A engines on Dick’s site, one built prior to yours (the engine in the photo at left, which has serial number 103637) and one built after, both have fuel tanks in the base. One has an igniter and the other has clearly been converted to spark plug. The mixers are different on both engines.

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Jacobsen Mower Engine Identification

 Jacobsen mower engine.

Somehow we missed a letter from regular contributor Andrew Mackey, who wrote in several months ago about an engine reader Ron Martin has (GEM, Flywheel Forum 51/4/2). Ron was looking for positive identification for the 2-stroke, 2-cylinder engine he’d come across, telling us he’d been told by a few people that it might be a Jacobsen. 

Andrew’s letter included a photocopy of a Jacobsen ad from the December 1939 issue of National Geographic Magazine. The photocopy won’t print well here, but Ron’s engine and the engine used in the Jacobsen ad are without question one and the same. The ad specifies a 32-inch reel mower and 2-speed transmission. It looks like a really interesting mower. If anyone has an original copy of the ad, we’d love to see it.

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Hercules/John Deere Combine Engine

Hercules John Deer engine

Reader Shawn Burns wrote in for the August/September issue, asking about the original purpose of a skid-mounted engine that belonged to his late father. The engine was a Hercules, but confusing matters was the John Deere radiator. As we learned from readers, the Hercules engine was used by John Deere on different combines, including at least the Model 45, the early version of the Model 55 and the pull-type Model 65.

Quite a few readers responded, including George Stringam, who wrote: “I'm certain this was used in the early version of the 55 combine, up to serial number 55-57000. The 55 came out in the late Forties. John Deere didn’t have its Dubuque Engine Works up and running by then and it needed a compact power plant to power the newest line of combines. Hercules stepped up to the plate and sold engines to Deere until the mid-Fifties.” Ex-John Deere parts man Dick Denney also wrote in, agreeing it was from a Model 55 and noting that in the late Forties and early Fifties John Deere was only building 2-cylinder engines.

And if anyone has any doubts, we’d imagine there’s no higher authority on the subject than the John Deere company itself. Reader Al Smemo, a John Deere Fellow and an engineer for John Deere in Dubuque, Iowa, wrote to tell us: “The Hercules engine was used on the John Deere 55 self-propelled and 65 pull-type combines well into the mid-1950s, when it was replaced by the 217-cubic-inch engine produced at JD Dubuque. The flat belt pulley on the flywheel end indicates it was a combine engine, as does the tall radiator.”

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email