During the past few months we have again heard of some horror
stories involving vintage engines and tractors. By the time this
issue is in your hands, some of us will be thinking about getting
started again. Thus, we again direct your attention to the use of
We think it is important to remember that when these old engines
and tractors made their appearance, safety was not always a big
priority. Some engines did not have so much as a crank guard, and
others were taken off ages ago. These old engines and tractors were
not built as toys, and were not intended as such! Of course,
we’re not trying to scare anyone away from our wonderful hobby,
but we’re certainly trying to get everyone to exercise due
caution. A few don’ts:
DON’T ever put your face or body in front of an engine
opening. For example, if there is trouble with the igniter or plug,
stay away from the opening when turning the engine over. Remember
you are forcing the explosive mixture out of the hole. Believe us,
it can explode outside the cylinder! A friend of ours was seriously
burned on the face and chest in just this way!
DON’T allow gasoline to leak or drip from your engine,
especially if it has any chance of igniting. Fix the leak or solve
the carburetion problem.
DON’T have a grease rag or wiper, loose shirt sleeves, or
the spout of an oil can anywhere near the moving parts. If the
timing gear catches the spout of the oil can, it will have your
hand drawn into the mechanism before you can let go!
DON’T leave your engine unattended. Some engines are
designed so that if there is a governor failure the engine will
shut down automatically. Most are not so designed, and your
favorite engine could end up sending shrapnel over a wide area.
DON’T set up without a fire extinguisher. Maybe it won’t
be your engine, but that of your neighbor. Having an extinguisher
handy could mean the difference between a minor cleanup or the
complete loss of the engine.
DON’T try to lift or move an engine in any unsafe manner.
Take the time to do it right. Much better to spend a little extra
time than to spend the next few weeks with a backache (or
DON’T forget that this old equipment was built to work, not
to play. Now that we’ve decided to preserve some of our
mechanical past, let’s get some enjoyment from it as well. Ye
olde Reflector can tell you that it takes the edge right off the
enjoyment when you have your hand all garfed up from some stupid
stunt. About 20 years ago we were helping to crank an R&V
Triumph engine. They have a crank handle in the flywheel, but since
we’re afraid of these, we decided to crank it by the flywheel
rim. What we failed to notice was that there is almost no clearance
between the inside of the rim and the push rod bracket pin. Running
two fingers past this pin tore both of them up pretty bad, in
addition to ripping off one fingernail instantaneously. It took
several weeks to get everything healed up, and we have the scars to
prove it. Now this sounds pretty gruesome, but then it is intended
to be… The moral of the story is to keep your hands out of places
where they shouldn’t be!
DON’T use a crank in an unsafe manner. Fold your thumb
inside the palm of your hand when cranking. If the engine kicks, at
least you won’t tear your thumb off at its roots. Try to stand
back a little so that if there is a kick or backfire, the crank
won’t come around backwards and break your arm, your wrist, or
both. And never, never, ever try to start an engine or tractor by
spinning it. Always pull up on the crank, and never try to start by
pushing down. Be sure that when the engine starts, the crank
doesn’t fly out of your hand and stay on the crankshaft. When
it finally does fly off, there’s no telling where it will
DON’T criticize ye olde Reflector in the next issue by
telling us to quit harping about safety. Some of us who should know
better (including yours truly), don’t. Many of our readers have
taken up our hobby in recent years, and perhaps no one has ever
told them of the potential dangers. We think they should have this
Some of our recent mail indicates that there are a great many
American-built engines lurking about in Australia, New Zealand,
Great Britain, and on the European Continent. Curiously, a number
of these are very rare engines here in the U.S. How they made it
thousands of miles across the sea is unknown, since some of these
engines were built in limited numbers, and by companies that did
little advertising. Perhaps it is time that we devote more
attention to some of these rare birds.
Within the next few weeks ye olde Reflector will be completing a
history of J. I. Case Company. After that, it will be a few months
before the editor, publisher, and printer all do their part.
Meanwhile, we’ll begin compiling our vest pocket guide of
engine and tractor information. Thus far, we have come up with no
additional serial number listings or paint colors beyond those
previously published. However, the paint color list keeps growing,
and should provide a reasonably good guide. If anyone has
additional information, kindly send it over to this column.
Several people have contacted us regarding additional books on
sawmills. Some time back we compiled a little book called The
Circular Sawmill. However, there is virtually nothing that we know
of regarding the history of sawmills. If anyone knows of other
books in this regard, please let us know so that we can pass the
information on to others.
During the next few months we’ll be getting further details
on the Great Fuller & Johnson Engine Reunion scheduled for
1992. Mr. Verne W. Kindschi at Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin is
spearheading this expo. We understand this will be a one-shot deal,
and it sounds like a special event that we can look forward to.
Several months ago a group in. Australia attempted to put
together a tour of some shows and other attractions. For several
reasons, the tour was postponed. Due to the present hostilities, it
appears that the tour will again be postponed.
Our first question this month is:
26/4/1 Richards & Steinfeld Engine Q. I
have located an engine built by Richards & Steinfeld in New
York, New York. It is about 1? horsepower. I’m in the military,
and spotted the engine in a little shop in Guatemala City,
Guatemala. The owner of the store wouldn’t sell it, though. She
had it and a few other old items that all were from a coffee
grinding outfit. I’m interested in getting any information on
it. Michael Trotter, 4715 Delores Dr. NE, Olympia, WA98506.
A. We’ve never heard of this one. Without a
photo we can’t give you a lot of information, but it could be a
very old one. On the other hand, it could be a later engine endowed
with the nameplate of the above firm. Send a photo of it, should
you get down that way again.
26/4/2 Stover Engine Q. I have a Stover 4 HP
Type T engine. It has a lever on the cylinder head. The lever is
spring controlled, and moves slightly when the rocker arm touches
it. Can you explain the purpose of this lever? Shoop Hopkins, RR 1,
Box 267, Bonners Ferry, ID 83805.
A. The lever is a fuel-saver lock. It is
intended to drop in place against the intake valve to keep it from
floating on the idle strokes of the engine. Actually, quite a few
engines used this device, although the form of the mechanism varies
greatly. Since the automatic intake valve has a very light spring,
the movement of the piston on the idle strokes can cause the intake
valve to flutter slightly. This wastes fuel, as well as depositing
a substantial amount in the mixer bowl, or as overflow that can be
a potential fire hazard.
26/4/3 Unknown Engine Q. My name is Sam Mende,
and I am twelve years old. I’m restoring a single cylinder two
cycle engine that belonged to my great-grandfather. The Wico
magneto is FG A, and the engine serial number is 013203. Someone
gave me your address and said that you might be able to help me
with information and/or parts for this engine. It uses a Champion
C-7 spark plug. Can you help me to complete my first restoration
project? Sam Mende, 71 Pine Hill Road, Hummelstown, PA 17036.
A. Perhaps some of our readers can tell from
the serial number what kind of engine we are talking about. Is
there anyone who would contact Sam and help a new collector get
26/4/4 C.O.D. Tractor Royce Granlund, Box 88,
Milnor, ND 58060 would like to hear from anyone having any
information on the C.O.D. tractors. He has one, and needs more
26/4/5 Continental Engine Q. I’m 15 years
old, with no gas engine background. I purchased a Continental
engine, Model 406, s/n 376,906. Could anyone help me find the year,
horsepower, color scheme, or other helpful information? See Photo
26/4/5. Peter Brown, 1058 S. Meridian Rd., Mason, MI 48854.
A. Can anyone help Mr. Brown on this
26/4/6 Montgomery Ward Engine Q. I have an
engine purchased from Montgomery Ward, Engine No. 15859, 1? XK. It
differs from the Sattley engines described in American Gas Engines.
It has a throttling governor style and has insert bearings in the
connecting rod. Any information will be appreciated. Wayne D.
Rowell, PO Box 6, Wilmington, VT 05363.
24/4/7 Unidentified Engine Q. I am restoring an
old engine with the nameplate reading, 1? HP E, s/n 25337. There is
no other name on it. Any information would be appreciated. Also
what is the age of a Fairbanks-Morse 1? HP ‘Z’, Style D
engine? Michel E. Buquoi, 353 E. Airport Ave., Baton Rouge, LA
A. Your engine was built somewhere between 1914
and 1923 by Hercules Engine Works, Evansville, Indiana. Having no
photo of it, we would guess that it could have been sold by Sears
& Roebuck or perhaps by Jaeger.
24/4/8 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photos of
an engine I cannot identify. It is on a homemade stand and measures
16? inches high, with a cylinder bore of about 2 inches. The
crankshaft and connecting rod assembly are shown in Photo 8-A. The
outside pulley is gear driven by a gear on the back of the
flywheel. The pulley has a single groove in it. It appears to have
two connecting rods, both running on roller bearings. There is no
apparent oiling method for these bearings. One con rod seems to be
jointed and offset from the other.
At the top of the cylinder is a cone. Around this cone is what
appears to be a burner, which will move up and down on the
cylinder. Attached to the burner is a regulator and fitting.
Judging by the missing screws, some of this engine is not original,
or is missing. There are no numbers or markings of any kind. Any
help will be appreciated. Paul A. Stratton, 3576 Falling Spring
Road, Chambersburg, PA 17201.
26/4/9 Ideal Engine Q. See the photos of an
Ideal 2 HP engine. The shroud and serial plate are missing. I need
to know approximately when this engine was built, also the proper
color. Any information from Ideal owners would be greatly
appreciated. Jack Wynings, 1130 Manitou Rd., Hilton, NY 14468.
26/4/10 Ideal Engine Q. I’m restoring a ?
horsepower Ideal engine. It is identical to the one on page 32 of
the November 1990 GEM. According to the paint listing in a recent
GEM, it is Martin Senour #817 Mercury Outboard Green. After talking
directly to Martin Senour and also directly to the Mercury Outboard
Motor Company, I find this paint is not available anymore. So, can
anyone advise the proper color to use? Also I have a ? horsepower
Duro engine, but have no idea as to its proper color scheme. Ivan
Williams, 3521 Paris Ave., SE, Paris, OH 44669.
A. We’re not sure either, since we have no
Martin Senour listings, new or old. Perhaps there is a matching
number available from Sherwin-Williams, DuPont, Ditzler, or some
other company. Any input will be appreciated.