Rare and Beautiful from Coolspring Power Museum

The only surviving artifact in an abandoned air compressing plant near Lewis Run, Pennsylvania.

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by Gas Engine Magazine Staff

Robert Longtine patented a gas engine in 1901 that featured dual intake valves; one for gas and one for air. He assigned his engine to the Bradford Gas Engine Co., and some were built; an early one being displayed at Coolspring. However, in 1902, William W. Flickinger moved his firm from Cochranton, Pennsylvania, to Bradford, Pennsylvania, and purchased the Bradford Gas Engine Co. After some changes in design, a Flickinger catalog shows a wide offering; the largest being 200hp.

In 1912, Flickinger left his firm to become an independent mechanical engineer and oil producer. Bankruptcy soon followed for the older firm, and it was re-organized as the Combination Engine and Compressor Co. The name was changed to Petroleum Engineering Corp. in 1927, and the company appears to have dissolved in 1930.

bronze plate reading flickinger iron works

Features

Probably the most aesthetically pleasing of all the little engine/compressors built in Bradford, the Flickinger was used to supply compressed air to start larger engines. Ignition is by hot tube, although a magneto was also offered. It features an open cross-head design, and a pendulum, hit-and-miss governor. It can produce 150psi air pressure.

close up of the area behind the flywheel of a black and bronze air pressure gas engine

History

This unit was the only surviving artifact in an abandoned air compressing plant near Lewis Run, Pennsylvania. The compressed air had been used to pump a group of nearby oil wells, each equipped with individual casinghead-mounted “air-heads.” It was brought to Coolspring in the early 1970s.

overhead view of a flickinger compressed air gas engine

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