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Readers Write

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

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!

Model Makers Corner

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

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

The following is a list of the five needed components:

(1)Transistor TIP120
(1) Diode IN4001
(1) Capacitor 2 mfd
(1)Resistor 10K

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

Robert Knipschield, 1527 Sugar Creek Road W., Charlotte, NC

A Closing Word

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?


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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines