Nowadays gray iron castings are not used nearly so much as formerly. Welded steel sections have replaced them in many instances. Awhile back we were glancing through a little book by Simpson Bolland, called The Iron Founder. Printed in 1892, it details most of the major processes in the practice of iron founding.
In those days the art of casting iron was already highly developed, and patternmakers were wont to display their skill with exceedingly intricate designs. A case in point is a cast iron corn planter seat from the old George W. Brown planter made at Galesburg, Illinois. This casting likely goes back to the 1880s or before, and its intricate design is indeed a marvel. While we're at it, take a look at some of the castings used in the average engine. In many instances they are a living tribute to the patternmaker's art, as well as a monument to the skills of the men in the foundry.
Make no mistake about it... foundry work was dirty, it was also strenuous, hot, and dangerous. Accidents frequently happened, and many times the consequences were tragic indeed. Yet, those durable and sometimes intricate castings remain, and sometimes we marvel at the talent of generations gone by!
Through some of our friends in Germany we received several different calendars of German collector tractors this year. Of course they're on the wall, along with several others. When comparing an American tractor of say, 1950 with a German tractor of the same vintage , one sometimes wonders who influenced whom in the design thereof. For instance, there's no doubt that the front-wheel-assist (FWA) system was being used extensively in Europe before becoming popular in the United States.
Diesel engines were very popular in Europe long before achieving dominance here. On the other hand, the modern look and the streamlined design had its strongest roots here in the U.S., starting already in the late 1930s. By comparison, European designs still sported that chunky, blocky look which seemed to be a compromise with the old and the new.
Another interesting comparison is that European collectors seem more prone to work their tractors than do most American collectors. Granted, many of the European restorations are of the highest quality, but that seems to be little deterrent when it comes to entering a tractor pull or a plowing con -test. Those of us going with ye olde Reflector to this year's H.M.T. Show in Holland will hopefully get to see some of these interesting tractors in action. From all reports we've gotten, the H. M. T. is a fantastic show with everything from tractors to engines to cars, plus lots of parts and accessories offered for sale. Time is running short, so if you plan to accompany us on our tour of Germany, Austria, and Holland, you'd best be contacting C. H. Wendel's 1998 Tour at PO Box 257, Amana, IA 52203 right away!
33/3/1 Witte Engine Q. What is the year of manufacture and the correct color for a Witte engine, s/n 47022? Mike Goodman, 2987 Algerine St., Stanley, NY 14561.
A. Your engine was built in 1920. The engine is a Forest Green, comparable to DuPont 5204.
33/3/2 The Gray Line Thresher Q. 1 have a wooden thresher that was purchased in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1915. The only identifying marks on it are, 'The Gray Line.' Could anyone tell me who built this machine, and where? O. K. Blackstone, Fort Fairfield Road, Box 355, Caribou, Maine 04736.
33/3/3 IHC Mogul Engine Q. Regarding a 2 HP IHC Mogul engine, I would like to know the striping design, the color used, and how the skids were lettered. Donald R. Conner, 1407 Spring Garden Ave., Berwick, PA 18603.
A. We think the striping was a deep yellow, and followed the same general pattern as shown for the Mogul engines on page 130 of our book, 150 Years of International Harvester. A close look at the illustrations on page 247 of American Gas Engines.
33/3/4 Wizard Engine Q. See the two photos of a 1 HP Wizard engine. However, that's all that is on the nameplate. There is no manufacturer's name or address, and the only Wizard given in Wendel's Gas Engine Trademarks book is for the engine made by Temple Pump Company of Chicago. This engine is equipped with a Wico EK magneto but it has wick oilers on the main bearings. Any information on this engine would be appreciated. Russ Rieder, Newhall, Iowa 52315.
Thanks to the many people who sent cards and greetings during the Christmas season. We were especially happy with some original artwork from Richard Sabol, a regular GEM subscriber and advertiser. It is gratifying to see some of our agricultural past preserved with pen-and-ink drawings, especially when they accurately depict 'the way it was.'
In a machinist's book of the 1890s we noted that at the time 'There are still shops which have twist drills and sockets of the old 'American' taper ...' The latter had a taper of 9/16 inch per foot, while the Morse taper with which we're all familiar uses a taper of ? inch per foot. Thus, drills of one style would not interchange with drills of the other. Knowing that a lot of ancient machine tools still survive, we'd be interested in hearing from anyone knowing about or having any drills or equipment with the old American taper.
Our queries are a bit thin this month, undoubtedly due to the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holidays. However, we begin with:
Jerry Lester, 645 Freedom Rd., Freedom, NY 14065 sends along some photos and also has some questions:
33/3/6 Unidentified Engine Q. See the two photos of an unidentified engine. There is no nameplate nor any identifying numbers. I would like to know more about the engine, especially the make, the horsepower, and when it was built. There appears to be some failed green paint, similar to IHC Green. The base shown in the photos probably does not go with this engine.
I would like to give all the credit of restoring this engine to Ed Filmore of Osage City, Kansas. Earl Ficklin, 3220SE69th, Berryton, KS 66409.
A. Mr. Ficklin brought this engine along to last year's Old Threshers Reunion and left it with our display for several days. Numerous people came by and looked at the engine, but no one had a clue as to its identity. Although quite heavy, we would guess this engine to be 1 or 2 horsepower. We too would surely like to know the make of this unusual design.
33/3/7 Novo Engine Q. I have a Novo engine, Model RU, Type RU58A, and s/n 25292. Can you tell me more about this engine? James E. Westbrook, 4601 Miller Rd., Sheridan, MI 48884-9382.
A. Your engine was shipped to Godwin Heights Plumbers at Grand Rapids, Michigan on 09/11/1933.
33/3/8 Unidentified Engine 33/1/5
In the January 1998 GEM, this engine appears to be either a Viking or a Standard Twin engine. Derek Watt, 4429 Hallet St., Rockville, MD 20853. Email Dwatt@tracor-es.com.
33/3/9 Galloway Handy Andy Q. I have a Galloway Handy Andy 1 HP engine but can find no serial number. I would like to correspond with someone for information regarding the correct color scheme and other information on this engine. Raymond Wickham, Box 402, Du-mont, IA 50625.
A. This engine came out about 1926 and was only built for a few years.
33/3/10 Bernard Engine Q. See the photo of a Bernard engine, built by Bucher Geyer, Niederwennigen, Zurich (Switzerland). It is Type W1, s/n 331913. Any information would be appreciated. Joe Scott, 25209 - 45th Place South, Kent, WA 98032.
33/3/11 Engine Information
Thanks to A. DeKalb, Van Alstyne Drive, Pulaski, NY 13142 for sending along a series of interesting photocopies from Modern Engine & Supply Co., Chicago, Illinois. Dated 1920, their catalog includes numerous interesting items including the original Maytag Multi-Motor priced at $40 in the HP size, or $50 for the 1 HP model. Several other engines are included, such as several models of the Sieverkropp. For instance, their 2-cylinder vertical engine of 1 HP was priced at $60 for 1920.
A. 1924 Modern Engine catalog shows an unidentified HP horizontal engine, totally unlike anything we've seen. Since we only have a photocopy we didn't think it would reproduce very well here is the column. This engine was priced at $35, including the spark plug and the coil.
A Closing Word Although we're short on letters and queries this month, we're including a number of engines and tractors that may be of interest. Photos 33/3/12A and B illustrate the 1916 model of the Independent Harvester Co. Engines. Both views are of the 1 HP model; apparently the Webster magneto was preferred equipment, although it is likely that this feature added $5-$8 to the total cost.
Photo 33/3/12C shows an Avery four-cylinder portable engine of about 10 horsepower. This little engine weighed 375 pounds and used a 3 x 4 inch bore and stroke. Avery added this small engine to their line in 1921, but we've never heard of one in captivity. Given the fact that this was about the same time that Avery took bankruptcy, we would guess that production was very limited.
Occasionally one can find a small LeRoi engine as shown here. This one from 1921 had a fully enclosed house over the engine to protect it from the elements. The unique muffler design is typical of LeRoi at the time, and the dual right-angle and straight-away pulley drive, together with an over-center clutch represent other unique features. This engine is shown at 33/3/12D.
At 33/3/12E is shown a good illustration of the Brillion gas engine of 1912. At the time the company was offering these engines in 1 , 2, and 6 HP sizes. To date, ye olde Reflector has never heard of anyone owning a Brillion engine or ever having seen one. Are there any Brillion engines left?
Among the very rare engines must be the Vaughn engine of 33/3/12F. Built in sizes from 2 to 24 horsepower, this elusive model is one too, that we doubt remains in existence. If you can prove us wrong, we'll be glad to hear about it!. The Vaughn was made by Star Mfg. Co., Wabash, Indiana.
See the photo of a Harris Power Horse at the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory in 1952. This little tractor was equipped with a 250 cubic inch Chrysler Industrial engine and was capable of nearly 40 drawbar horsepower. For reasons unknown the Power Horse never saw the production figures that it probably should have . . . perhaps the design was too much ahead of its time, or perhaps the design was such that its use on the farm was somewhat limited.
Recently we received a most interesting letter from Gerd Maier, Krummer Weg 24, D-88400 Biberach, Germany. Mr. Maier is an architect of 55 years, and has taken a great interest in engines. By the time this issue of GEM is in your hands, it is likely that his first volume of a comprehensive book on German patents for hot air engines will be available. Mr. Maier writes a most interesting letter, and in fact, conversations are now under way for him to accompany our 1998 German tour! By the way, Mr. Maier's book is entitled, Alte Heissluftmaschinen which easily translates into Vintage Hot Air Engines.
Did you know that in 1911 Deere & Company was offering some 1,600 different kinds of plows to the public? Sometimes of course the variations were slight, but nevertheless, this is an astounding number! The nearby Rock Island Plow Company was offering about 50 distinct models of plows at that time, but with various options, and numerous sizes, their total offering came up to nearly 1,000 different plows available either from stock or on a few days notice.