As is usual in the summer months, we all are busy playing with our engines and tractors, so of course, writing about them becomes relatively unimportant. On Friday, June 8, we ventured down to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, to look at the IHC Red Power Roundup. We were totally amazed at the vast number of IHC tractors and equipment, as well as by the quality of many restorations.
International Harvester Company was of course, one of the leading figures in the farm mechanization that began in the early 1900s. Unlike any other company, IH was committed to spending vast amounts of money on research and development . . . this notion was new to the industry at the time. These efforts paid off handsomely for IH, and within a short time, IH was the company to emulate.
Henry Ford saw the IH successes and attempted to capitalize on them by presenting the Fordson tractor. By 1915 Ford was highly regarded (primarily because of his Model T) especially in the rural areas. Ford was likely aware of his deification, and proposed building a 'cheap' tractor for the masses. Although the Fordson tractor was highly popular, it was not the moneymaker that Ford had hoped for. In fact, like the Samson from GMC, it lost money. Ford seems to have directed his competitive efforts primarily toward International Harvester. However, the IH product line was sold through an extensive dealer network that provided excellent service after the sale. IH dealers were specialists in farm equipment, including their tractor line. Fordson tractors were sold through Ford car dealers. Many of them weren't interested in selling tractors (their profit margins on tractors were extremely low) and most car dealers had automotive mechanics, not tractor mechanics.
The price war between Ford and IH continued for some years, and finally Ford capitulated, moving the entire tractor operation overseas. Several books have been written on this subject. Notable among these is the title, The Legend of Henry Ford. Written by Keith Sward, it was published by Rinehart & Company, New York in 1948. So far as we know, it is now out of print, but might be found in an antiquarian book store, or by a book search on the net.
Speaking of International Harvester, we stand impressed by the number of IH engines and tractors to be found in Australia and New Zealand. Early on, IH set up a plant at Geelong in Australia. To avoid the excessive import duties, IH shipped boatloads of parts to Geelong, where they were assembled into the finished products. Thus, it is possible today to find a substantial number of IH engines and tractors. The IH Mogul line of engines and tractors seems to be especially evident; it is not at all difficult to find them almost anywhere in Australia.
We don't have a whole lot of letters this month, but there goes:
36/8/1 Crabb Engines Q. Bill Brack, 2454 SW 2nd Ave., Ontario, OR 97914 writes: Regarding the Crabb engine, I recently met Ferd Fleming. He is a (retired) master machinist. He told me his first shop was the Crabb Gas Engine Co. He showed me pictures and drawings of the engine and explained to me that the copper water jacket was meant to keep the block from freezing if the water was left in. Ferd is in his 80s and is getting kind of frail, but he still goes to his machine shop in the backyard.
A. As many of you know, ye olde Reflector has the foundry patterns for the Crabb 5 HP engine. We acquired these about 30 years ago from Milo Schnoor (deceased) who bought out the old company back in the 1950s. Milo was a saw mechanic who worked for Mr. Crabb, and after the latter retired, Milo bought him out. Subsequently the old company was vacated and the buildings abandoned. One summer morning Milo and I took along a ladder to get into the attic of the old building (long since destroyed) to retrieve the patterns. They had been there for decades and were completely covered in dirt and soot. By the time we recovered them it was getting mighty warm in that old attic and the mud daubers (wasps) were also getting pretty active.
Crabb first built the engine at West Union, Iowa, about 1910. Production of the engines continued until about 1918, when the company moved to Independence, Iowa. No engines were built at Independence. In the eight year production period at West Union, at best, only a few dozen Crabb engines were made. The patterns were brought along to Independence and placed in that attic we previously referred to.
After about a half century, we acquired the patterns, always with the hope of actually building one or two of the engines. However, the changes in the foundry industry have largely eliminated the small foundries, and having a couple sets of castings made today, would no doubt be very costly. So we dream . . .
36/8/2 IHC Nonpareil Q. Does anyone have a 2 or 3 HP IHC Nonpareil vertical engine? I bought a 2 HP and it is missing the mixer and a few other parts. I would like to hear from anyone having one of these engines for dimensions and photos. Also, at an auction I bought a Service Drill Pointer made by Service R & D, Union, New Jersey. It has a number of DG71694. Does anyone know anything about this instrument? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Dale Nickerson, 8670 Glasgow Rd., Cassadaga, New York.
A. The only Nonpareil I can think of is a nicely restored example owned by Alan Bellinger at Westbury, Tasmania (but of course there might be some Nonpareil owners here in the U.S.). Alan and Peter Bellinger have some of the finest engines we've seen, and their restorations are second to none.
36/8/3 Worthington Q. See the photo of a valve that is 24 inches long, with a stem diameter of 1 inches and a head of 5 inches. It was out of a Worthington eight-cylinder inline engine with 16-inch pistons. The engine block was 20 feet long, and the flywheel was 6 feet in diameter with a 9-inch face. The engine ran on natural gas and the crankshaft was 12 inches in diameter. It lifted water from the Rio Grande River at 69,000 gpm. Is anyone familiar with this engine who could provide additional information? Ray C. Armstrong, PO Box 317, Roanoke, IL 61561.
A. When we completed our book, American Gas Engines some twenty years ago, we intentionally left out the 'big' engines, mainly to leave space for the farm engines, and because we also were at 584 pages the largest Crestline book ever! Besides, at that time, there was very little interest in the larger engines, so they were the easiest thing on which to apply the editor's scissors. In retrospect, we wish we had included them. Should we ever get the chance to redo the 'engine book' we will certainly include these big engines as well. If you can help Ray with his specific question, please drop him a line.
36/8/4 Adams Launch & Engine Mfg. Co. Q. See the photos of a marine engine from Adams Launch & Engine Mfg. Co., Penetang, Ontario. There are no numbers. The lower case seems to be a Palmer. I am looking for any information such as ignition details, lubrication, original color(s) and vintage. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Christopher L. Mann, 9 Centre St., Bath, ME 04530.
36/8/5 Madison-Kipp Q. I recently bought a Madison-Kipp two-line lubricator. Cast on the cover is Mason Kipp Mfg. Co., Madison, Wis.Is this a casting error, or was there a Mason Kipp company? Ray Turner, 2225 Bullock Rd., Bay City, MI 48708.
A. We suggest that this was a casting error. On top of that, we would suppose that the fur was flying when someone discovered the error, given that it would have gone through approval by the pattern making department, the foundry, the machine department, final assembly and painting, all without being noticed!
36/8/6 Adams Road Patrol Q. I am restoring an Adams Road Patrol #41 made by J. D. Adams Mfg. Company at Indianapolis. I would like to know more about the year (s) built, literature, etc. Tom Gregory, PO Box 33, Bethany, IL 61914
A. The only information we can find is that the color is a dark brewster green, something like DuPont GS064.
36/8/7 Rivett Lathes Q. Do you have any information on the Rivett lathes? I have one, but no paper work. Henry E. Haley, 10 Baptist Common Rd., Templeton, MA 01468-1410.
A. We have no information on the Rivett, aside from old magazine advertisements. However, we know that the Rivett was a machine of high precision and much used by instrument makers, jewelers, and the like.
36/8/8 3 HP Sattley Q. I have a Sattley 3 HP throttle governed engine with a Wico magneto. I used page 8 of King's book to make adjustments to the magneto timing, etc. The valve timing was also verified. However, the engine speed oscillates badly. I do not have anything about the throttle adjustment, and it appears my engine is missing a spring on the bottom of the mixer which would provide a balancing force against the governor action. Any information would be appreciated. C. J. Leighton, 1359 Liggates Rd., Lynchburg, VA 24502.
A. We're not familiar with the Sattley governing system. However, there likely is some means of settling the throttle system down. Fuller & Johnson once did this by putting an oil-filled dashpot on the throttle rod. Fairbanks-Morse Z engines did it by putting a flat buffer spring on one side of the governor assembly. If any Sattley owners have run into this problem, please contact Mr. Leighton.
36/8/9 Novo Engines Q. What is the year built of a 1 HP Novo engine, s/n 21587? Paul Speer, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A. There are no s/n listings prior to #40,000 of 1918.
36/8/10 Empire Garden Tractor Q. I have an Empire Garden Tractor, No. b.s.AZZ with a 3 HP Villiers engine. Does anyone have any pictures of this model or other information? Murray Coulson, Box 4, St. Williams, ONT Canada N0E 1P0
36/8/11 Loading Engines See the photos of a simple rig I use at home. It is made of inch steel shaft. A l piece of steel inch thick is used to connect the V4 inch steel cross piece to a come along. A chain goes through a piece of 1-inch pipe welded to the upright l inch strap. The chain is automobile ice/snow connecting side link about 31 inches long. To use, the shaft goes through the flywheels. The chain goes under the water jacket or cylinder part with an old bicycle inner tube to cover the chain. The come along is hooked to a 5/8 inch eye hook on the garage door header. Three safety lugs welded onto the inch shaft prevent any slip off. All the engines I lift weigh less than 500 pounds. Loading at home is easy. Raise the engine, back the truck or trailer under, and lower. A simple tool, light weight and ease to use, a real back saver. Most shows I got to I get good help unloading and loading up at the end of the day. Dave Irey, 6348 Mildred Avenue, Edina, MN 55439.
As this copy comes to you sometime in July, we'll be headed into the thick of the 2001 show season. Every year we are amazed at the fine newly restored engines that come into view. We're always thinking that the so-called rare engines are all picked up by now, but such is not the case. Hats off to those enterprising folks who keep digging up those nice old engines and bring them back to life.
Sometimes though, finding an old engine and buying it are two different things. A couple of years ago, we came across a very rare tractor, under cover in an open shed. After finally (months later) tracking down the owner, we discovered that the tractor isn't for sale at any price, although it has sat in the same spot for years, and will continue to sit there for how many years to come. In these situations one can only hope there will be a change of heart! Folding green is sometimes helpful, but one must be judicious in this method, since sometimes the prospective seller thinks that the buyer is trying to take him for a ride by showing him a wad of folding money.
Ye olde Reflector is also busy at assembling a planned trip to Germany and Switzerland in July 2002 (next year). We've got a lot of details put together, and when we have something to report we'll pass it along. We can tell you for one thing though, that there will be plenty of nice iron all along the way, plus some nice scenery, and a bit of culture too!
We'll see you here next month!