Reflections

A BRIEF WORD


| February/March 1988



Popular Mechanics articles Engines

23/2/1

Gene Brady

Here we are into 1988 already. This column is being written in early December, 1987. The Reflector is quite comfortable in his office at Amana, Iowa despite the fact that today we are seeing our first dose of freezing rain-the fine, misty stuff that sticks to everything, including the roads! When this issue reaches you in early 1988, we will be well into the winter season again-far enough in fact, to start thinking about spring! During the winter months we hope that a lot of new model projects are underway. We hope to see and hear about them in '88.

The Reflector's continuing perusal of old trade journals and books as part of continuing research projects constantly reminds us of the talent displayed by our ancestors. Many of the gasoline engines now in the hands of collectors are approaching the century mark, and looking back 100 years we see not even a fraction of the machine tool development that we have today. Even with these obstacles however, many of the early engines and other mechanical appliances displayed a quality of workmanship that is seldom equaled today. Were it not for our alloy steels, carbide tool bits, flame-hardened lathe beds, and a multitude of easy methods for difficult jobs, the Reflector wonders how some of our contemporary work would compare. The bottom line is that for this writer, one of the greatest fascinations we have with early engines and other machines is looking at the quality of workmanship and ingenuity of design. While long ago departed, we suspect that most of them would be very happy that our hobby is preserving at least a portion of their work for the future!

23/2/1 Gene Brady, 1460 Colchester Drive East, Port Orchard, WA 98366 sends some photocopies of early Popular Mechanics articles with many of showing engines previously unheard of-engines like the ? horsepower model from Junior Engine Works of Chicago and offered in 1905. Unfortunately, photocopies do not reproduce very well, so we can't reprint them. Gene also sends along a photo showing part of his immense brass collection that includes many different lubricators, steam whistles, and other bronze items. Thanks Gene!

23/2/2 Q. Can anyone supply any information on building a brass casting furnace capable of a 25 pound melt, and burning fuel oil? I need a design of a burner I can build in a standard machine shop, or a source where I can get a burner at a reasonable price. It could use an electric blower or compressed air to atomize the fuel. I'm not interested in using gas or coal. Thomas Schoderbek, 1208 Arbor Ct., Mountain View, CA 94040.

A. We believe it is entirely possible to build such a furnace, but suspect it will be necessary to have a substantial volume of air, and probably some method of preheating the air before it enters the combustion chamber. Achieving the proper air/fuel balance will probably be the biggest challenge. The Reflector has no specific data on an oil-fired foundry furnace, although we have seen a catalog advertisement of such a unit, circa 1920.

23/2/3Q. I need information on a Fairmont engine, s/n 54521 (see photo). Any help will be appreciated. Russell Lamp, 5231 Wasena Ave., Brooklyn Park, MD 21225.