Rt. 4, Box 379, Easley, South Carolina 29640.
If you were riding along Highway 253 which is a few miles north
of Greenville, S. C. some thirty or forty years ago, you would have
to work your way through the trucks and wagons loaded with cotton
waiting to get into the Lindsey Brothers’ Cotton Gin. If you
were to pass this same route today, you wouldn’t even know when
you passed the cotton gin unless you are the type of person who
lets any old building or barn catch your eye, and your thoughts can
imagine an old engine of some sort in there. What will really catch
an old engine hawk’s eye is an old gin or mill that doesn’t
have any large power lines or transformers close by. This is a
pretty good indication that an old engine was once used there. By
using this kind of strategy, I came across another ‘Sleeping
Giant,’ which happens to be a twin cyl., (2) cycle, 300 II. P.
M., 80 H. P. Fairbanks Morse full-diesel weighing 14 tons. The
engine S/N is 632698 and was built October 29, 1925, in Beloit,
Wisconsin. This well preserved engine has been at rest some 16
years now, but the owner has taken time to keep it oiled and turned
through from time to time.
I would imagine if you could see into some of this old
engine’s dreams over the past years you would see quite a
history. For instance, there was the time when the main part of the
gin caught on fire and she barely escaped with her life, or once
during the height of the cotton season when the injectors were
acting up and she was hard to start. When the mechanic finally got
her started he told the gin owner, Mr. Lindsey, to let it run all
night and in a day or so he would stop back by. For some reason,
the mechanic forgot about his promise and it was three weeks of
continuous running for the engine because the operator was afraid
he couldn’t get it started again. One of the most unforgettable
years was when some new and larger gin equipment was installed and
the 80 H. P. wasn’t enough to carry the load. A small 8 cyl.
diesel that weighed about ? the old monster’s weight and had
more than twice the horsepower was installed, but I am sure it was
a welcome relief. These are just some of the events that belong to
her past that the former owner has passed on to me. I am sure some
of the neighborhood can tell you about her sound on a cold still
morning when the load was heavy.
An engineer would look at the engine in this way. On hot
compression stroke the cyl. builds up to 600 PS1 to ignite the
fuel. This is compared to 250 PSI on a semi-diesel, but I
understand from some old operators the thermal efficiency of the
two engines were about the same. I guess this is the reason the
semi-diesels continued to be built after the full-diesel went into
service. The oil system uses a Madison Force Feed Lubricator for
the rings, piston pins and connecting rod. Each main bearing has a
reservoir under it where a ring around the crankshaft can dip in
the oil bath and lubricate the shaft and bearings. There is no oil
bath in the crankcase because the engine is a (2) cycle and any
excess oil there would be sucked up into the cylinders and burned,
causing the engine to run away. The starting procedure is quite an
operation within itself. The first step is to pump the air tanks up
to at least 200 PSI. Next, a bar is placed in the flywheel when the
No. 2 piston is at the timing point where the injector pump can be
hand operated. After priming the cyls. well, the No. 1 piston is
rotated 10 degrees past TDC and a charge of compressed air is
manually dumped into No. 1 cylinder, driving it down and bringing
No. 2 piston up on the compression stroke. At this point the
‘Sleeping Giant’ will have awakened after its long nap and
as she comes to life and looks around, everything will seem strange
and out of place, because there has been a lot happening the last
Lindsey Brothers’ Old Cotton Gin as it now stands just North
of Greenville, South Carolina. The ‘Sleeping Giant’ is now
‘Sleeping Giant’. It is the Lindsey Brothers’
Old Cotton Gin as it now stands just North of Greenville, South
The top two pictures are two views of my 90 HP 300 rpm, 11 ton,
horizontal twin cylinder semi-diesel, built in 1921 by
Fairbanks-Morse. The engine has a 56′ diameter flywheel
with an 18′ face, weighing 4200 Ibs.-that I removed.
The engine now is mounted on a slab of concrete about the height
of a low-boy. This writer hopes to jack the engine up and slide
some steel I-beams between it and the trailer. After letting the
engine down on some 2′ bar stock for rollers, a come-along will
be used to pull the engine on the trailer. This would save the
expense of a crane and would give one the satisfaction and the
appreciation of moving heavy equipment like it was done years ago.
I guess I have been dreaming about as much as this old engine has,
because this summer 1 hope to make this dream come true.
This article has been prompted by the large response I received
from the article ‘Home of The Giants’ in the Sept.-Oct.
issue. To follow that article up I have now brought the large 90
II. P. 300 R. P. M. horizontal twin cyl. home. It was quite a job
moving this engine and without the use of a crane. 1 am enclosing a
picture of this engine and would appreciate hearing from anyone who
has one or has any information on this type of engine. I have
written Fairbanks-C in Beloit, Wisconsin and they have sent me the
engine history but they were unaware of any still being in
I would like to ask the Gas Boys if they know anything or have
heard anything about the over-sized tractors back in the good old
days, like the 1915 and 1916 Twin City Four and Twin City size 60 x
90 with over-sized piston, size 7?’ x 9′. Also the 1911-1.
H. C. Mogul 45 x 90, 2 cylinder, the 1916 Pioneer Six 45 x 90, the
E. B. Big Six 45 x 90, the 1920 model E Oil pull 30 x 60 rerated to
55 x 75 HP and also the 1922 Case 40 x 72 cross motor. What
horsepower do you boys think these giants would develop on the belt
and what size separator do you think was the largest built?
Clyde ./. Nichols
While I was doing the research on my Trumbull, I actually wrote
all over the world, running down any possible lead I could find.
One of my foreign correspondents was Mr. Allen Rewell (now
deceased) who owned a Trumbull too. He lived in Victoria,
Australia. He was a most interesting letter writer and in one of
his letters, he sent me this picture. Notice the way in which the
wheels were designed so that it actually laid down a plank roadway
for itself. Here is the information that he sent me.
‘This tractor was made in Germany between 1912-1913. It was
powered by a single cylinder semi-diesel engine, having a hot-spot
ignition system. It had a bore of 21′ and a stroke of 32′.
It ran at 800 rpm. Its fuel tank held 4000 gallons of kerosene and
traveled at 1? mph. This tractor was used to haul wood and wheat
over land and to paddle wheel steam boats on the Murray River. It
pulled two trailers with wheels similar to this tractor’s
wheels carrying 100 tons-total load. The engine was removed from
the tractor between 1920-1930 and used for pumping water for
irrigation. It was still in use in 1969.’