A brief rundown of some of the unusual engines that made an appearance at the Coolspring Engine Show this past June.
Tractor displayed by Nick Rowland and his father, Ed.
The June 2016 Coolspring Engine Show was perfect! The weather was great, and despite an evening shower we did not have the usual mud and dismal skies. Our theme this year was “One of a Kind Engines.” There were many unusual and unique designs. I certainly learned a lot, seeing machines I had never been aware of. This is just a sample of what was on hand.
This amazing tractor (Photo 1) was displayed by Nick Rowland and his dad, Ed. Built by the Sexauer brothers of Sulfur Springs, Ohio, about 1904, it shows both extremely crude as well as very sophisticated design. Its main use was to buzz saw wood. It could be driven to its work location, and then back home again. The Rowlands found it preserved in a corn crib, where it had rested for many years. The engine is Sexauer’s own design and features desmodromic valve motion, meaning the valves are both opened and closed mechanically. Ignition is by a Goodson magneto and spark plug, and it operates beautifully.
Most of us are familiar with the Bates & Edmonds line, made in Lansing, Michigan, but this one (Photo 2) owned by Woody Sins is most unusual. It has an overhung power cylinder and flywheel crank shaft. Many familiar features are seen on close inspection. It actually makes sense, being a compact design for small power applications, and most all parts are easily accessed for repair and adjustment.
Stiles Bradley brought his diminutive 1-1/2 hp inverted Webster (Photo 3). It features two sets of timing gears: one to operate the exhaust valve and the other to power the igniter. It ran great and attracted a lot of attention.
Photo 4 is a squat little engine that has to be described as “cute.” It is a 4-cycle made as a stationary engine, but has an appearance suggesting marine usage. It was built by Gleason & Bailey & Sciple of Seneca Falls, New York. Yes, the name plate has an “&” between each name! Note that the head, cylinder and base are all one casting – a machinist’s nightmare!
Charles Stickney built many unusual engines, and Photo 5 is no exception. This little engine was built to power a water pump. Notice the forked rod that lifted the well plunger up and down. It features an overhung cylinder and all the complicated valve motion that was typical of Stickney. Note the gasoline tank mounted on the very top of the engine.
Photo 6 is an engine with an oscillating cylinder to permit the intake and exhaust functions. Displayed by Dave Deardorff, it is absolutely fascinating to watch run, with the cylinder oscillating back and forth in its mountings. This design was used in steam engines, but never before have I seen it in a gas engine. It was made by Henry Philomen LaTour of Copper Cliff, Ontario, Canada, for marine use.
The Lutz opposed-piston engine is shown in Photo 7. It was built by Thomas J. Lutz, Mansfield, Ohio, as a model to obtain his 1906 patent. It appears crude at first glance, but it is very intricate and operates beautifully. He obtained a patent, but never produced any engines for sale. This one powered his small machine shop faithfully for many years.
Photo 8 shows a nice little 4 hp engine that was labeled “unknown.” I had no idea of its identity, either. It is a vertical with a rounded but open crankcase and hit-and-miss governing. It has since been identified as a Witte vertical made for them by the Star Mfg. Company.
“The Earl” is a pleasantly proportioned sideshaft engine with a vertical governor (Photo 9). It was built by the Earl Machine Works of Burlington, New Jersey. Noted as 6 hp, it has serial number 37.
An unusual 4-cylinder marine engine is seen in Photo 10. Displayed by Dieter Lund, it was built by the Standard Motor Construction Co. of Jersey City, New Jersey. It has a unique valve motion, as well as electric igniters. Note the reversing clutch on the left side. Standards are very rare and this is the first large one I have seen.
I hope the reader enjoys this tour of Coolspring’s June 2016 show and a few of the great engines displayed. There were so many more …
Contact the museum at PO Box 19, Coolspring, PA 15730 • (814) 549-6883 • www.coolspringpowermuseum.org