35640 Avenue F, Zucaipa, California 92399.
This strangest of gas animals appeared at the Early Day Gasoline
Engine and Tractor Association festival at Santee, California on
16-17 June this year. Information was to the effect that it had
been designed and constructed by Mr. Darwin W. Keys of Dover,
Minnesota in 1906. He farmed around Milnor, North Dakota about
1915. After his death, the engine finally came into the hands of
Mr. Ed Dotzenrod of 6933 Lime Avenue, Long Beach, Ca. 90805, who
has had it in operation a few ‘crank-ups.’
What makes this engine so unusual, and might be described as
‘Doing it the Hard Way,’ is as follows: It may be noted
that four cylinders and pistons are involved in the
four-stroke-cycle pattern. The cylinders are opposed in pairs, but
all four pistons are connected together and work in unison through
one boss and wristpin connection to the one connecting rod. The rod
then acts in push-pull fashion to the one crank throw. An overhead
chain-driven camshaft is seen to drive the four opposed exhaust
What about the intake valves? Well, this is where the real
impossibility sets in and is remindful of the Gnome rotary airplane
engine. The wristpin is hollow, and through the trombone sliding
tube connects to the carburetor, somewhat after the fashion of a
cross-head water pump. So the gas mixture is fed from the
carburetor through the wristpin to openings to all four pistons
which have their respective intake valves located within their
heads, much like in refrigeration compressors and again like the
Gnome engine. The above description can be followed in Fig. One
photo. Figure 2 photo shows the chain driven camshaft and also the
low tension distributor to the four buzzer spark coils, similar to
the first model T Fords. In fact, it appears that the coils are in
fact of that manufacture. Four dripolators, sight feed, lubricated
the cylinders, while the rod-crank-end was lubricated by grease
cup. It may also be stated that there was no provision, other than
air, for cooling this monster.
Now, by today’s standards, what might be said of this attack
on an engineering problem? Well, the vibration would be quite
horrendous, since all pistons fly together. A great loss of gas
condensation would result from the long passages from carburetor to
cylinders, and severe stuffing box losses would result at the
trombone tube joint. Cooling by water could have been provided in
follow up to this prototype model. But it appears that Avery and
several other manufacturers had a much better approach to the four
cylinder gas engine design problem. One can say, however, that very
difficult fitting problems must have been surmounted in the
mechanical turnout of this engine, and a great deal of labor and
brainwork went into its conception. While this may be a
‘one-of-a-kind’, it can take its place in the hall of fame
among a myriad of other mechanical monstrosities in this ,
gallery–some of the worst of which appeared in the railroad field.
It all reflects the glory of the Good Old Days, when a fellow could
embark on any sort of idea which might arrest his imagination. And
we are very happy for having witnessed those days!
Does anyone know what make and year this truck is? Some say a
Lozier, some say a White. If you know, please write me.
1905 Jacobson, 4 h.p., owned by Bob Clise of Geneva, New
A Five-Horse Alamo; called the All in One.
It has Wizard friction drive mag
A picture of three types of Power, Steam–Gas–Water.
These pictures are of a Hummer gas engine made in Jackson,
Michigan. It has a throttle governor with a 3-HP rating at 550 rpm.
The serial No. is 26,449 and is painted in the original colors, the
engine dark green and the wood bright red. The unusual feature of
this engine is that the fuel pump and the carburetor are all built
together as one unit.
I would greatly appreciate any information your readers could
give me. The fellow I bought it from said he had no idea where it
came from; all he knew was that his brother was going to sell it
for junk. I am sure if it could talk, it could tell some
interesting stories. You can see where it was welded at several
places and times, as some of the welds are brass and some electric.
But it runs like new.