Oil field engines

| October/November 2004

The Internet is now a huge part of our lives, and it's a wonderful asset to any hobby.

There is the research aspect - using the Internet as a vast library of frequently obscure information, available through the courtesy of those who share their knowledge about history and restoration. There are online auctions and sale pages where collections and parts can be bought and sold. Communication between like-minded individuals around the world is possible through a variety of discussion pages and forums, such as the Stationary Engine Mailing List from which the material for this column is taken. Finally, there is the vicarious enjoyment of shows, museums and collections as related by people using the Internet.

I contribute to this last section by taking photographs wherever we go and posting them on a web page so enthusiasts around the world can see British engine rallies and collections. Last weekend, we made a trip out to the Welsh coast to visit the Internal Fire Museum - a round trip of about 400 miles. To my horror, halfway there I remembered I had forgotten my camera. It felt like I'd left home without an arm!

The upside, however, is that we'll have to make another visit, and I'll try to take some photographs that I'll be sure to share with readers of Gas Engine Magazine of this excellent, little museum that celebrates the internal-combustion engine.

One of the main functions of this mailing list is problem solving, but it's also interesting when someone asks a more philosophical question, such as this one that recently came up.

- What exactly defines an engine as an oil field engine? It's not the number of cycles -I've seen a few four-cycle oil field engines. It's not the horsepower - I've seen oil field engines in the 4 HP range. Some have sideshafts and some don't. Some have hot-tube ignition and some are magneto-fired.