Looking for Clues to Unknown Engines
How could we have known of the events of Sept. 11th? All of our worst fears were realized. Not since Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, has anything approaching this horror happened to our country. In retrospect, we agree with our President and many others in telling us that it is time for us as a nation to return to normal life. Isn't it strange that we also hear echoes of Franklin D. Roosevelt at another time in our history, telling us that 'the only thing we have to fear is fear itself!'
We are still moving forward with plans for a tour to Germany and Switzerland next July, although a bit cautiously. On the positive side, several people have called us to report that they are still planning to go on the tour, despite the horror of Sept. 11th.
This issue should be in your hands in early November. Once again we ask, 'Have you drained your engines and tractors? Are you sure that you opened those petcocks beneath the water pump, or the plugs at the bottom of the cylinder jacket?
Ye olde Reflector is still working in the construction trades, having done so now for nearly 45 years. The past few months have been extremely busy, so there hasn't been much time for extra articles such as the one we began on early machine tools. Hopefully, we'll be able to resume these articles during the winter months. Maybe we'll even be able to build up a backlog of articles that can be included occasionally during the year. We also have our new book on tools and machinery coming out about Jan. 1, and in its pages you will find many of those elusive tools that you've often wondered about. There will also be many pages of early machine tools, including some foot-powered lathes.
In the next few months we also plan to move forward with our book on magnetos and carburetors. We have accumulated lots of resource materials, but it takes many hours to compile, edit, print, and assemble a book like this. I suppose that an economist would call it vertical integration, but this book, and several others will be compiled, edited, printed, bound and shipped all from our basement print shop.
In cooperation with Jim Horton, a fine wood engraver from Michigan, we are also planning a limited-edition book that will feature wood engravings of the Rumely OilPull tractors. Generally, books like this are limited to about 300 copies, and are printed by letterpress on fine paper. The type is all handset, or perhaps we'll be able to fire up the Linotype and use machine-set slugs.
We begin this month with:
36/12/1: Allis-Chalmers Spreaders Herb Mann, 2588 W CR 250S, Warsaw, IN 46580 sends two photos of a front-unloading manure spreader. He would like to know if it is an Allis-Chalmers, or was built by someone else. If you can be of help, please contact Herb at the above address.
36/12/2: Novo Engine Q: What is the year built for a Novo Rollr engine, s/n CWR1332086? Also note that the engine is mounted to a Niagara Citrus Duster. What is the year built for the engine and the proper paint color? Also I would like information on the duster, and where I might find decals. I have the operators and parts book for the engine, and would be happy to share this information. Dean L. Mitchell, PO Box 1665, La Feria, TX 78559.
A: Your engine was built in 1940. Assuming that it was mounted to the duster at the factory, that would also date the latter. We don't know where you might find further information on the duster. Can anyone help?
36/12/3: Information Needed Q: See photos 36/12/3A and 36/12/3B of an unidentified machine. It has Maxwell Mfg. Co. Wichita, Kan., molded in the base and the patent date of August 23, 192(?). So far I haven't found anything on this device except that it might have been used some way in making harnesses. Any information would be appreciated. In photo 36/12/3C is an old Curtis air compressor made in St. Louis. I need to know what type of dipper was used for lubrication, the direction of rotation, and how the centrifugal unloader value worked. There was a linkage that operated from the disc on the shaft up to the air intake valve. Any help would be appreciated. Ralph R. Look, 8006 Watson Lane, Wichita, KS 67207.
A: We have no information on either query. Can anyone be of help?
26/12/4: Information Needed Donald 'Red' Goodburn, 1803 Candi Lane, North Mankato, MN 56003 needs information on a hay press made in Kansas City, and a 4 team horsepower, plus a large St. Marys Oil engine that was in Missouri about 10 years ago. He also needs information on a diesel boat motor made in Italy.
26/12/5: Information Needed
Q: I have a one-row potato digger with a Novo gas engine. It is Model B4, s/n 1234. Can you tell me when it was made? O.K. Blackstone, Box 355, Fort Fairfield Rd., Caribou, ME 04736.
A: We can't be totally certain of the manufacturing date for your engine, but believe it to have been built in 1923.
26/12/6: Unidentified Engine See the photos of an unidentified marine engine. It has a 6-inch bore and stroke. The cylinder head and the water jacket are separate castings from the cylinder. I would like to hear from someone having one of these engines so as to determine the required ignition parts. I also would like to contact the person who had a twin cylinder opposed air cooled engine with 'What Am I?' written on it. Michael Bond, 3594 Tust Rd., Richmond, IN 47374.
36/12/7: Nelson Bros. Engine Ronald Williams, RD 1, Box 642, Morrisdale, PA 16858 needs information on a Nelson Bros. Model T, 1 HP engine, s/n 17093. He needs the paint color, year built, and whether decals are available. We have DuPont 2015 Green listed as the color, but we don't know of any way to precisely date these engines, nor do we know of any decals. Can anyone be of help?
36/12/8: Stover and Witte Questions Q: See the photos of a 1 HP Stover vertical engine, just like the one pictured on page 490 of American Gas Engines. According to your book, only 613 of these engines were made, and mine has s/n 128. The engine is one solid casting resembling a steam engine. The nameplate says Woodin & Little, San Francisco. The mixer is missing, so I would like to hear from anyone having one of these engines so I could get photos and dimensions. The engine appears to have been red in color, but is this correct for a 1902 model? I also would like to know the year built for a Witte engine with a s/n of 20240. Ron Martin, PO Box 621, Weaverville, CA 96093.
A: First of all, the Witte was built in 1915, but we do not know to whom it was shipped.
Regarding the Stover, this is likely one of the oldest Stover engines still in existence. The very early ones were cast in one piece, but this idea was abandoned, since it probably presented the company with all kinds of machining problems. Besides, if there was a machining error, it was necessary to scrap the entire frame, base, and cylinder. Likewise, if the water jacket was broken from freezing, it was necessary to buy virtually the entire engine. Woodin & Little was a jobbing house that sold a great many Stover engines. Also, as you probably know, the earliest Stover records were lost sometime in the past, so we can't provide you with any detailed manufacturing or shipping information, nor can we even tell you with certainty about the original color. Red seems the most likely possibility, since the horizontals up to about s/n 80000 were dark red. We wish you every success in this project, and hope you will send us a series of photos once the restoration is completed. If anyone can help with dimensions, etc., on the mixer, please contact Ron at the above address.
36/12/9: Unidentified Tractor Eugene Christopherson, 24225 Rangeline Rd., Grantsburg, WI 54840 sends a photo of an unidentified small tractor. If you can be of help, please contact him at the above address.
36/12/10: Ideal Engine Andrew R. Snook, RR1, Box 83, McClure, PA 17841 sends us a photo of his 3 HP Ideal engine, s/n 5049. He would like to know when this engine was built, original color (s), and where he might seek parts. We don't know when the engine was built, nor do we know the original color. Looking for parts might best be done through the classifieds right here in GEM. If you can be of any assistance to Mr. Snook, please contact him directly.
36/12/11: Bohon Engine Garry Wilson, 70 Ward Cemetery Rd., Corbin, KY 40701 sends along a photo of a Bohon 3 HP engine, Model 6240. It came from D. T. Bohon Company, Harrodsburg, Ky. If you can supply further information on this engine, please contact Garry at the above address.
36/12/12: Novo Information Bert Harding, 90 Centre Dr., Rock, NY 14623 writes concerning a Novo Rollr engine, Model TU, s/n 28267, and would like to know when it was built and the correct color. We know the engine was made in May 1934, but we don't know the color. Novo often painted their engines to suit a specific customer, and so they are often seen in orange, green, red, and perhaps other colors as well. However, green was the choice when it was shipped direct from the company.
We hear from our new GEM editor that various changes will occur to the magazine in the coming months. Of course all these changes will be aimed at making the magazine more informative, more interesting, and more enjoyable than ever! We'll allow that there might be a few rough edges on things for awhile, but we're also confident that all our GEM readers will give the 'new kid on the block' a chance to strut his stuff.
Of course, we also wish each and all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. Even though Sept. 11, 2001 is a day none of us will ever forget, we'll have to say that despite this horrific tragedy, we all have a lot for which to be thankful! We'll see you next month, as we address Volume 37, the first issue of 2002!
C.H. Wendel is a noted authority on antique engines and tractors. His books constitute a vital reference resource for collectors and hobbyists. If you have a query for C.H. Wendel, send it along to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265.