Stolen Name Plates
Here is one way to minimize the problem with stolen nameplates. Record all of your nameplates, or better yet, take photographs of them. Then, if one ends up missing, and later shows up on another engine, that person might have some explaining to do to the sheriff. Edwin H. Bredemeier, Route 1, Box 13, Steinauer, NE 68441.
We agree that if enough of our collectors would do this, then the risk to the thieves would increase somewhat. These might be a deterrent. For several other reasons, it is wise to have a photographic, or at least a written record of your engines and tractors. Then if something is lost or stolen, this information and/or photograph could be published so that collectors everywhere could be aware of these items. It sure would be tough to explain how a nameplate off of an engine out in Ohio ended up on some engine in Oregon, as an example. If we all get busy and exercise a little vigilance, perhaps this dishonorable habit might get nipped in the bud!
Although not truly a model, but an old original engine, we put this one with the models because of its small size. See Photos MM-1 and MM-2. This is a small engine with the patent date of November 20, 1900. It is in perfect running condition, and I have been told that it is a Geda Flame Licker, but cannot verify this. It is 5 inches high and 7 inches long. Can anyone supply any information on this engine? David Rieso, P.O. Box 462, West Kingston, RI 02892.
Photos MM-3 and MM-4 are of a hand-carved model engine. It is a 1/3 scale of a John Deere 1? HP engine (6-inch flywheels). It uses a combination of cherry, redwood, ironwood, cedar, oak, and some others. It was carved by my neighbor, Jim Foy, and received two blue ribbons at recent wood carving shows. Photos MM-5 and MM-6 illustrate a scale model Witte engine that I finished this past year. M. Moyers, 37301 28th Ave S., #31, Federal Way, WA 98003.
Miniature Ignition for Model Engines
After building a model hit-and-miss engine, I needed to add an ignition system. Most model engine builders use a wooden box to hide a lantern battery, automotive ignition coil, and gas tank. This works, but I felt it would be nice to make it look like the original full-sized engine. To achieve this look, I wanted to mount the engine on two hand trucks. The problem then was the need for an ignition system that could be hidden.
I built my 'Little Brother' engine and mounted it on oak hand trucks, with a small brass gas tank. It looked good, but the ignition posed a problem.
The first attempt to solve the problem was to mount a model airplane ignition coil inside the crankcase and install batteries under the engine. That looked good but the problem was that the output from the coil was too weak for hit-and-miss operation.
The engine needed a really hot spark. Therefore, I went searching for a 'better mousetrap.'
The solution was simple! Well, almost. I purchased a 'stun gun' like those intended to immobilize an attacker. I took it home, opened the case, and there it was. These units can shoot an arc about 1.25 inches using a 9 volt battery. The circuit board is small and simple. The only thing was that its function is to run continuous when powered, which is not good for ignition systems. Therefore, I needed a firing circuit.
The firing circuit I designed is small, simple, and parts are easy to obtain; using a transistor, and several other components, the unit will put out a spark when the points open. (See Diagram MM-7.)
The following is a list of the five needed components:
(1) Diode IN4001
(1) Capacitor 2 mfd
All these components are available through Radio Shack. Stun guns are typically found in sporting goods stores.
Don't get excited about not being able to assemble this. If you are unsure about it ask a friend who works in electronics, or contact me. The circuit can be assembled on a corner of the circuit board and the board cut down to make it very small.
The circuit should be connected to the leads that power the stun gun. Do away with the stun gun switch and reconnect the battery connector if you use the 9 volt battery supplied with the stun gun. Install a new on/off switch coming from the battery. The points work to ground.
Note! Be careful when powering it up, as this unit can give a nasty jolt!
Add the leads to the coil and mount it at some convenient spot. Cover the printed circuit with a piece of plastic, glue it into the crankcase with RTV. There is a spark gap on the printed circuit board that must stay clean. Do not put RTV on the spark gap, and protect it from grease and oil.
There is some time delay from when the points open until the spark occurs; you may want to re-time the engine slightly. The good point is that when the engine is under load the unit will have less delay, giving you a built-in advance.
Do not hold the ignition wire in your hand to test the spark. Just position it close to the plug, or get someone else to hold it!
Robert Knipschield, 1527 Sugar Creek Road W., Charlotte, NC 28262.
The other day we got a letter from our old friend Alex Edgar at Ayr, Ontario. Alex tells us he has a four-wheel Happy Farmer identical to the one discussed on page 8 of the July 1990 issue of GEM. Perhaps some of you will recall that ye olde Reflector opined that there were probably some better tractors built than the Happy Farmer. Of course we didn't know Alex had one, but in our usual disjointed way, that probably wouldn't have made much difference, even though Alex likes his Happy Farmer!
Like many of the early tractors, the Happy Farmer had its own advanced features. During the 1920's many of these ideas came together in new tractor designs. Thus, there is really no one company responsible for present-day tractor development...today's tractors are simply an evolvement of past designs. Likewise, today's tractors have their good and bad points, just like those of decades past.
The last twenty years have seen the almost exclusive use of diesel engines in farm tractors. During the 1920's Edward A. Rumely envisioned exactly such a design. In fact, Rumely had this vision even before the introduction of the famous OilPull tractors. Unfortunately, the high-speed diesel was some time off, and Rumely had to settle for the spark-fired kerosene burner called the Oil-Pull. Again we ask the question we raised in a recent issue, What is really new?