Letters & Miscellanies

By Staff
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Chuck Werntz' HP Crown engine, the only one known to date.
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The HP Crown engine as shown in an early Crown catalog.

Crown Motor Works Update

For those of you who missed it, in our last issue Doug Nash
wrote to report the finding of a Crown engine. Doug wrote an
article on the history of Crown Motor Works (see GEM, April

Doug tried to get a photo to us last issue, but wasn’t able
to get it off to us in time. This issue, however, we have a photo,
and it’s of the HP Crown engine belonging to Chuck Werntz of
St. Peters, Mo.

As the photos show, Chuck’s engine is nearly identical to a
HP engine shown in surviving Crown Motor Works literature. With the
discovery of Chuck’s engine, a total of three Crown engines are
now known to have survived.

Shimming Bearings

I appreciated the recent thread on shimming gas engine bearings
(see GEM, July 2002,) and would like to add my two cents.

Some of the old-time California engine builders used a thick
card stock for main bearings. I know this because I was fortunate
enough to find a 5 HP Samson in like-new condition. The main
bearing caps had never been disturbed, and when I removed them I
found the shims had been coated with white lead. When the white
lead hardens it bonds itself to the shims, bearing caps and frame,
creating rigidity in the bearing assembly.

You can use lock washers on main bearing bolts, but only if the
bolts are torqued tight. If the bolts only partially crush the lock
washers the bearing cap will ‘walk’ and the crankshaft
journals will eventually wear out of round.

Also, it’s my experience that connecting rods on small
engines should always be shimmed with a non-compressible material.
Cardboard, rubber or canvas will eventually take a set and loosen,
and when the shims become loose the rod cap floats.Lester
Bowman,175 N. Santa Ana Modesto, CA 95354 (209) 527-4665

HOV Engines

I’m looking to find the origins of a great bit of early gas
engine technology now lost for many years, and I’m hoping
someone out there might be able to help.

Back in about 1906 or so, Fred and Augie Duesenberg started
building their own racing car and marine engines. They had pairs of
cylinders cast en bloc with the heads. These engines were as big as
361-cubic inches and had two camshafts on either side of the block
operating two horizontally opposed valves (HOV) set over the top of
the cylinder bore. Valve motion from cam to valve was by 12-inch
long rocker arms, often called walking beams (after stationary
steam engines?). The 1911 Delage (successful French racing cars
that did well at the Indianapolis 500 in 1914, 1915 and 1916) had
the same HOV arrangement but used a push rod/rocker arm setup
rather than walking beams.

I’ve seen a diagram of an unidentified stationary/industrial
single-cylinder engine in an old Dykes Encyclopedia that
had a similar walking beam for the exhaust valve facing an
atmospheric intake valve.

Can anyone tell me if walking beams and horizontally opposed
valves were ever used on stationary, tractor, marine, automotive,
agricultural or industrial engines? I’m looking for any kind of
data, drawings, photos, advertisements, etc., even if they are only
photocopies. I’d like anything that shows the first emergence
and application of an idea that came and went.Ralph Gustafson ,
2567 Wilcox Terrace Victoria, BC, Canada V8Z 7G5, (250) 652-1864
E-mail: gustr@shaw.ca

Golden Gate Tractor

In regards to the article on the Golden Gate tractor (see GEM,
June 2002): There is a reference to the Golden Gate tractor in the
1917 Cooperative Tractor Catalog, but nothing in the 1916 or 1918
catalogs. The 1917 issue does not include a picture, but provides
the following text:

Golden Gate 10-20 1917 Golden Gate Gas Tractor Co. Berkeley,
Calif. Four wheels, driving from two rear wheels.

Recommended for three 14-inch plows, 20-inch thresher. Length
120 inches, width 50 inches, height 54 inches. Diameter of drive
wheels 54 inches, face 12- inches. Weight 4,500 pounds. Price
$1,750. Four-cylinder vertical motor, cast en bloc, 4- x 5-, rpm
750 normal, L-head. Stromberg distillate carburetor.

Bosch high-tension magneto. Centrifugal pump, fan and Perfex
cellular radiator. Splash Lubrication. Spur gear final drive,
enclosed. Finished hardened alloy steel gearing. Timken roller
transmission bearings.Jack Alexander, 7795 Crews Road Gilroy,
CA 95020

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