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Circa 1898 10 HP Watkins Engine

Author Photo
By Gas Engine Magazine | Dec 17, 2012

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This 10 HP Watkins was built around 1898 and incorporated many unique design features for its time.
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The Watkins features a gear-driven, low-tension magneto that's driven from the crankshaft.
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The governor on the Watkins is belt-driven from the crankshaft.

Manufacturer: Watkins Engine Mfg. Co., Cincinnati, OH
Year: Circa 1898
Serial Number: 101
HP: 10
Bore: 7-inch
Stroke: 12-inch
Ignition: Gear-driven, low-tension magneto
Governing: Throttle with belt-driven flyball

This is a circa 1898 10 HP Watkins gas engine made by the Frank M. Watkins Engine Mfg. Co. in Cincinnati, Ohio. As its nameplate states, the engine was manufactured expressly for Stephen B. Church of Seymour, Conn.

The Watkins Co. seems to have gone into business in 1898, and this engine looks like one of the early versions they produced.

The Watkins engine had a lot of unique design features for its time. “It didn’t use a sideshaft but instead used some fairly dainty pushrods to operate the valves and the igniter,” Coolspring President Clark Colby says. It also has a very delicately designed and manufactured governor that’s belt-driven from the crankshaft.

“Perhaps one of the most interesting features is the gear-driven, low-tension magneto built into the crankcase that’s driven from the crankshaft,” Colby adds. “This is one of the earliest engines to incorporate the magneto directly into the design of the basic engine.”

Read more about this engine and 38 others in Coolspring, published by Gas Engine Magazine. Order this book from the Gas Engine Magazine store: Coolspring.

Gas Engine Magazine

Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines