While Chuck Wendel is away from home on an engine-lover’s
excursion to… hmm, let’s see, is it Germany, Austria, and
Holland this time? we’ll make an attempt this month to fill his
question and answer shoes. While we don’t have the extensive
knowledge about old engines and so forth that he does, we do have
some sources at hand here at headquarters which we can utilize to
answer those questions we can. On the ones for which we have no
answer, we hope that, in the usual spirit of this column as a forum
for the exchange of information between subscribers, those of you
who are able to shed some light on some of the queries printed here
will do so. That said, we plunge ahead into this month’s
33/10/1 Rock Island Q. I have a 3 HP Rock
Island, serial number A77315, and would like to know the year it
was made. I also need a carburetor and fuel pump linkage. The
engine is the same as the Alamo Blueline 3 HP. Any help would be
greatly appreciated. Please send to: Jason Peterson, 701 – 5th St.
W., Hastings, MM 55033.
A. Well, this one I’m afraid we don’t
have an answer for. What a rousing start we’re off to! Can
anyone lend a hand?
33/10/2 Sattley 7 HP Q. In July of ’97, I
purchased a 7 HP Sattley hit and miss mounted on a steel wheel
wagon with a buzz saw attachment for cutting firewood. The serial
number is 44912. In May of ’98, I was able to purchase a 7 HP
Racine Sattley hit and miss, also mounted on a steel wheel wagon
with a buzz saw attachment for cutting firewood. The serial number
is 29127. Both hit and misses run like a charm. Could you tell me
the year of manufacture for both machines? Also, did Montgomery
Ward actually manufacture these machines?
I also own 10 antique tractors and an antique road grader. A
picture of my road grader and an article about our club we belong
to appeared in GEM, March 1995, page 26. James L. Johnson, 5314 1
Rd., Escanaba, MI 49829.
A. And again we call on our readers who know
all about Sattley.
33/10/3 F-M Eclipse Pumping Engine Q. I
recently acquired a fine little engine about which I need some
information. From the old bam of a friend came a Fairbanks Morse
Eclipse 2 horse water pumping engine, complete with the big bull
gear and all accessories, exactly as shown on the bottom left of
page 164 in Wendel’s fine book on old engines. It is a vertical
hit and miss, with an exhaust valve interrupter driven by a
centrifugal weight on the camshaft. The engine spent its entire
life indoors and is in excellent condition, except that it is caked
with a thin layer of dust, chicken feathers, and horsehair.
My friend says it dates from about 1912 and worked hard until
the 1940s before it was replaced with electricity. The serial
number, B 10981, which is clearly stamped into the top of the water
tank, seems to be a digit short of what one would expect from the
date. Is it possible that the last digit was scratched on or
stamped into the paint when built at the factory? Or perhaps was it
a really early one from before the known serial number records?
The only thing missing from the motor is the ignition system. Is
there anyone out there who could help me work out the appearance
and workings of the battery box, coil, and points, as I have no
clue what they may have looked like? A good photograph of the
complete original or restored engine in the ignition area would be
of tremendous help.
I would appreciate any help I could have in restoring this fine
little engine to original condition. Roy S. Thomley, 22711 NE 16th
St., Camas, WA 98607-9220.
A. Here’s what Wendel has to say about the
F-M No. 2 Eclipse pumping engine in his Fairbanks-Morse: 100 Years
of Engine Technology: ‘This model was capable of pumping from
300 to 2000 gallons per hour, depending on the head. A battery box,
batteries and spark coil were furnished with this engine.’
Existing records still held by F-M don’t give a real clear
picture of the dates of production. Best conclusion is that the
Eclipse pumpers came on the market in 1911 or 1912. Production
ceased officially in 1922, although for several years prior to 1922
the company appears to have only promoted the #2 on a limited
Fairbanks-Morse used a different number series for its Eclipse
engines, at least in the early years of production. The company,
now under the banner of Coltec Industries, retains good records,
and may have early engines on microfiche. Inquiries about older
engines can be sent to: Fairbanks-Morse Engine Division, Attn:
George Ferriter, 701 White Ave., Beloit, Wisconsin 53511.
33/10/4 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photos
of an unidentified small engine I’ve got. I think it was made
in England or someplace like that. You can tell the sizes by
looking at the Model T coil. Photo 4A is what it looked like when I
got it; someone had put a can on top for cooling. Photo 4B is what
it looks like now. I had the engine at the Branch 18 show at
Chowchilla, California, and got all kinds of names. There is no
name or numbers on it. Can somebody help me? Stan Gladney, 273
Riverside Dr., Woodland, CA 95695.
A. You may be on the right track in thinking
that yours is an engine which was made in England, in light of its
curved-spoke flywheels (a British/European design element). Most
American-made engines had straight spokes; those that didn’t
were primarily pre-1900, or were made from designs that had British
‘ancestry,’ mostly by New York City companies.
A scan of Wendel’s Encyclopedia of American Gasoline Engines
Since 1872 brings a few of these curved-spoke manufacturers to
light, among them: Rollas on Gas Engine Co., on page 425, whose
engine base seems similar to yours, and Parsell & Weed.
Parsell &. Weed specialized not so much in selling complete
engines, but rather in promoting its ‘do-it-yourself set of
castings, materials and blueprints for those with mechanical
expertise who wished to build their own engine in the home shop.
Could yours perhaps be one of these?
Any other better-engine-educated guesses out there who can help
on this one?
33/10/5 Dupont Number for Massey Harris Q.
Would you be able to give me a Dupont number or equivalent for
Massey Harris Red and Massey Harris Green paint! Thanks! Jim
A. Here’s one I think we can try to answer,
thanks to the information Mr. Wendel has included in his
Quite a few numbers are listed for Massey-Harris, however,
depending on what piece of machinery you’re talking about.
Plain Massey-Harris Red is Dupont L7947, with a Ditzler match of
70364; pre-1957 Red is Dupont 018, and stationary engine red is
As for green, green metallic is listed as Dupont 14883, but
Challenger green is 27270, as is Model 25 green, with a match of
Martin Senour CROSS 27270.
So, before you pick a color, you might wish to consult the
Notebook (available from the author and from Stemgas), to make sure
you’re getting the right one!
Note that Jim has sent his question by e-mail, rather than the
conventional U.S. Postal Service. We’re getting more and more
of these electronic epistles, and welcome them. To send us a
message, be it a query like this, a subscription renewal, book
order, or even an article, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
33/10/6 Witte, Witte, Witte Q. lam trying to
find out some information about several engines that I have, and
thought you could help. I have three Witte engines, and have been
told that I can find out not only what year they were manufactured,
but also whom they were sold to. You were kind enough to publish
about a year ago my inquiry about the year built of my 12 HP model,
serial number 90507, which was manufactured in June 1930. I have
since acquired two additional Wittes: a 2 HP, serial number B25260,
and an 8 HP, serial number 79401.
Is there a booklet or some information that I can purchase that
would not only indicate the year built, but also who they were sold
to? I would appreciate any information on this that you may have.
Thank you for your help. Tony von User, 6680 N. Alvernon Way,
Tucson, AZ 85718.
A. Again, Wendel’s Notebook comes through!
Your 2 HP B25260 appears to be a 1925 model, and the 8 HP #79401
was built in 1928.
33/10/7 Blair Reel Mower Q. I have an old Blair
reel mower that was built by the Blair Manufacturing Co. of
Springfield, Massachusetts, about 1950. I have not been able to
find any information on this company or its mowers. I would
appreciate any information that can help me. I know that this is
not a real old or a rare machine, but 45-50 years old isn’t new
either. It needs to be preserved too! I will answer all letters.
William Rogers, RR1 Box 8C, Independence Lane, Hanna croix, NY
A. We find no reference to Blair Manufacturing
Company in either Alan C. King’s Lawn Mowers 1948-1962, or Dave
Baas’ Vintage Garden Tractors. Nothing came up when we searched
the World Wide Web looking for ‘Blair Manufacturing,’
although we did find several web sites which featured Springfield,
Massachusetts. The city seems to have an active business community.
Perhaps you might get some information on the company by contacting
Springfield’s chamber of commerce, public library, or
historical society I’d suggest trying the historical society
first, they always seem to be the most helpful bunch in any
33/10/8 Headless Witte Q. I am looking for
information on how to restore and re sleeve a headless Witte 6 HP,
particularly how you keep the sleeve in place. Any information will
be greatly appreciated. No one where I live can do it. Thanks,
Harold L. Mathieu, RR2 Box 279, Chassell, MI 49916-9621.
33/10/9 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photo of
an unidentified engine. It is throttle governed and has a Wico EK
mag. It has U-4 cast on the side of the water jacket, and T-3 cast
on the block. Can anyone advise me of what type of engine it is, or
any other information? Scott Pylman, 936 Greenwood Ave., Hanford,
A. The only guess (and remember, it’s just
that) that we’ll venture is that it could resemble the Nelson
Bros. Engine shown at bottom right of page 333 of Wendel’s
American Gasoline Engines Since 1872. I’ll leave it to the
folks in Engineland to go further with this one.
33/10/10 Witte Abroad Q. I am writing to see if
you can help me with an engine I have acquired. It is a Witte 12 HP
petrol gas with a 5′ bore and 6′ stroke, Model No. B12-rc,
Engine No. 43454, water-cooled beam engine.
An oil company in the United Kingdom bought a number of
secondhand oil pumping engines (one of which was mine) from a
company we believe was based in Oklahoma, and fitted them with
electric motors, making the engines redundant. I would like to
restore the engine to its original condition, but unfortunately the
temperature/engine cut out gauge is broken, and the oil dip stick
and starting handle are both missing, and I can’t find anyone
in this country who has any knowledge of the engine.
It would help me immensely if you or one of your readers could
supply me with the following information.
Is it possible to acquire replacements for the missing and
broken items, and if so, where from? What was the original colour
of the engine? Is a handbook or workshop manual still
At engine rallies in this country, as I suspect in America, we
like to supply as much information as possible about each exhibit
which is always of great interest to the enthusiasts who visit
these shows. Therefore, any help and information that you can give
me, no matter how small, will be much appreciated. C. Holmes,
Station House, White dale, Withernwick, Hull, E. Yorks, UK
A. Wendel’s Notebook indicates that your
engine was most likely manufactured in 1919. The advertising
section of this magazine is a great resource for replacement parts,
both their purchase and/or remanufacture.
33/10/11 Hard to Crank Monarch, Belt Use How-To
Q. I need help with two different inquiries. My first
question: High compression in my 5 HP Monarch makes cranking
difficult and dangerous. The large flywheel with self-contained
crank handle requires tremendous cranking effort to overcome
compression before turning the handle loose and activating the
after market magnetic pickup battery coil ignition. It runs great,
but takes two men and a boy to deal with choke, fuel and ignition
with any degree of safety. My question is, is there a
‘decompression solution’? Could I add another head gasket?
Remote or alter a piston ring? Devise some remote control de
compressor device other than a long reach to vent it through the
intake valve? I messed up my shoulder, back and neck last time, and
it didn’t even backfire!
My second question: Old timers may cringe, but I’m too young
to have seen, much less used, flat belt driven machinery. I have a
number of belt-driven machines I would like to display with my 1 to
5 HP flywheel engines equipped with 4′ to 6′ pulleys.
Belted-up machinery would make my engine display more interesting
to me and to show visitors. However, before I get myself into
trouble, I would like to research operations and safety of using
belted machinery. I suspect it could be dangerous if one didn’t
have at least some basic knowledge. Could someone suggest some
articles or publications on this subject? How about a list of 10
‘do’s’ and 10 ‘don’ts’ regarding belted
Thanks for any help you can give on these problems. Alan P.
Nowell, 7240 SW 130 St., Miami, FL 33J56, telephone 305-270-5200
(office), 305-253-4250 (home).
A. Hurray for thinking safety first! We’re
sure other readers will be glad to steer you right in using belted
machinery the way it should be used. They should have some
suggestions for that first question of yours, too, I hope!
33/10/12 Where to Buy Books Q. Where or how can
I buy the book, Legend of Briggs & Stratton, by Jeffrey
Rodengen? Gerald Shonk, 9709 Saracennia Rd., Pascagoula, MS
A. You’re in luck! This book, along with
quite a few others of interest to engine collectors (both gas and
steam) and enthusiasts of past times, are available by mail order
from Stemgas Publishing Co., publishers of this magazine. Books are
often featured in GEM advertisements, or you can request the full
catalog by writing to Stemgas Publishing Co., P.O. Box 328,
Lancaster, PA 17608-0328, or calling 717-392-0733 between the hours
of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Eastern time.
33/10/13 B&S Model ZL Q. I have a Briggs
& Stratton Model ZL, serial number 5803, Type No. 60851. Could
you tell me the year, HP, and color? David Krueger, Rt. 1 Box 135,
Black-duck, MN 56630.
A. All of the sources we looked into could only
get us this far in dating your engine: all Briggs &. Stratton
Model ZL’s were built approximately from August 1931-1945.
During our search for more information we contacted our B&S
regional sales and service distributor, who confirmed those dates
which we had already learned from printed sources. The distributor
also told us that the ZL was a 5 HP engine.
You may be able to get more specifics by writing directly to
B&S. Their mailing address is: Briggs & Stratton
Corporation, P.O. Box 702, Milwaukee, WI53201.
33/10/14 Homebuilt Garden Tractors Q. I’m
looking for info on homebuilt gar-den tractors. Fo96rd@aol.com.
A. Judging from the mail we receive, garden
tractors seem to be growing in popularity. We know they’re out
there hopefully their creators will be in touch.
33/10/15 Iron Burr Grinder Q. I recently
purchased the two pieces of machinery shown in the photo, from
frequent GEM advertiser Al Fuqua in Tennessee. The Black Hawk hand
grist mill, at left in the photo, is fairly well marked with enough
information to let me know that it was made in Clarksville,
Tennessee. The iron burr corn grinder with pulley at right in the
picture, however, has casting markings (‘C.S. Bell,’
inside), but no markings to help determine who manufactured it.
When I removed the black paint, I found what sure looked like IHC
Red underneath. Anyone have information to share? Ken Warnock, 3056
Waukegan Ave., Simi Valley, CA 96063.
33/10/16 One Cylinder Continental Q. I am a
librarian from Minnesota and have a customer who is looking for-
information on the one cylinder Continental engine: history, use,
and current manufacture. Do you have any information on this or any
ideas where I can go for such? Allan Cotter, Dakota County
Library-Burn-haven, 1101 West County Road 42, Burnsville, MN 55306,
A. We’re sending a photocopy of page 107 of
American Gasoline Engines to Mr. Cotter. Does anyone else have
input for this hardworking librarian?
33/10/17 Thanks! To Bruce Hall, 1611 Rt. 90,
King Ferry, NY 13081, who sent some photocopies of information and
advertisements of the Brennan Engine Company. He notes,
‘Brennan was primarily a marine engine builder, but did dabble
in automotive in the early 1920s and before. They were continuously
in business from 1896 until the 1970s.’
Starting a Stover Saw your article about
starting the 10 HP Stover diesel. A couple of years ago I saw this
problem licked. This was at the ‘Apple Country Show’ in
Asheville, North Carolina. They used a six or eight inch pneumatic
tire and wheel. This was powered by a small gas engine. Both were
on a hinge with a handle to push the tire against the large
flywheel for starting. Perhaps someone in the Apple Country club
could put you in contact with the owner of this rig. Raymond L.
Gray, 2135 Little Valley Rd., Sevierville, TN 37862.
Starting Device With reference to your article
in the August 1998 issue, page 2, you asked if anyone had come up
with a starting device for engines. Several years ago I had read in
the magazine about starting engines with a 12V Ford starter and a
V-belt. I thought it was an old man’s toy until my 8 to 13 HP
Fairmont railroad engine kicked me, then the starter seemed like a
I built mine with a long shaft 12V Ford starter motor. I made a
cart to haul my battery and charger and the starter motor. On each
of my engines I have put a ‘ pin that will line up the starter
motor V-belt with the flywheel. There is a pin on the cart to move
the whole thing around from engine to engine. I made a spring
quick-release to get the starter off the cart. It takes several
V-belts to have the right one for all engines. In order to know
which V-belt goes with each engine, I painted the back of the belts
a different color. I painted the pin on the skid of the engine the
same color of the belt that fit each. I have enough battery charge
to start six or eight engines at a three-day show.
I’ve enclosed two pictures of my starter. Thank you for the
Reflections column it is very helpful. Russell H. Snyder, Rt 1 Box
685, Point Blank, TX 77364.
To Restore Or Not To Restore This commentary
comes from Lester Bowman, 2440 Thomas St., Ceres, CA 95307:
I’ve been very interested in the recent articles concerning
‘to restore or not to restore’ our engines and artifacts
connected with our hobby. It seems we are more aware of the value
of originality in our restorations. I’m glad this is the case
and hope this trend continues.
Some of us collect items that come our way because they were
free or given to us. They fill our barns and fields with no care or
preservation at all; the joy is strictly in the ownership. They
won’t be sold for any price, yet will rot into the ground for
lack of care.
Others collect because we want the best, as we see it. We have a
competitive nature which results in gold plating and paint jobs
which are works of art. Beautiful expressions of personal ability
become showpieces of which we are most proud.
Some collect because of the ‘hunt.’ The process of doing
the impossible, the challenge of acquiring something no one else
has. The pride of owning something unique.
But in my opinion, the noblest collector is the one who
maintains an engine with its original character. The chipped paint,
the iron fuel lines, the original skids are kept original as
possible. Rust removed as far as possible, paint waxed or oiled to
bring out its shine. If the engine is halfway decent to begin with,
we can work with its existing qualities to bring back its early day
charm. Any history connected with it should be preserved along with
the engine, for it provides interest and personality. If it has an
early repair and is done well, leave it to show the skills of our
forefathers who had no welders or machine shops, it all translates
You see, our hobby is made up of all types, all kinds of people
who think differently. Each of us must make the best decision for
the best type of restoration.
A rust bucket Fairbanks should be treated differently than a
similar engine found in the original pump house. Not every engine
should be repainted , but some need repainting quite badly. It is
up to us to make wise decisions concerning our restorations.
Why is it an issue? My engines will be here long after I’m
gone. Long after I’ve turned to dust, there will still be
people who want these engines, perhaps my children, perhaps yours.
It is not too farfetched to imagine that they too will appreciate
the beauty of the original engine in its authentic state. So they
too can feel the era of the simple time and see for themselves how
it was done by the people who built the machines.
Also, don’t limit yourself to just the engine. There are
many aspects which give it life. The history of its production, the
history of its use, the changes which occurred because of its
existence, etc. It is profound the joy these engines bring to us.
Let us pass this same joy to our children so they too can pass it
to theirs. This is our responsibility and only wise decisions now
can survive through the years to touch their lives. Who knows? May
be they will even thank us in this life!
A Closing Word
Now here’s a question from me to you: who was the subscriber
who called our offices several weeks ago in search of information
on Lauson-Lawton? We might have a few references to back issues,
etc., that we could share, but I’ve misplaced the shred of
paper I scribbled his address onto. If you’re out there, please
call back, or drop us a note. I promise this doesn’t happen
Well, we’ve done our best with some tough questions. We came
up with some answers, by golly! Nonetheless, we’re glad to say
that the Olde Reflector, Chuck Wendel, should be back stateside by
the time you read this, and he’ll be doing the answering next
time around. We look forward to hearing all about the great and
greasy things he saw on his trip around ‘The
Vintage 1920’s South Bend Catalog
Pages from a 1920’s vintage South Bend catalog give instructions for mounting con-rods in a lathe and boring the bearing.
Low-Tension Ignition System
Bringing some understanding in a nontechnical way as to how the simple battery and coil and the low-tension rotary magneto ignition systems work.
Weidenhoff Model 818 Magnet Charger
David Cave creates his own documentation through this internal and external examination of his Weidenhoff model 818 magnet charger.