The late Elmer J. Baker Jr. spent a lifetime in the offices of Farm Implement News Magazine. Elmer was well known in the farm equipment business-his editorials heaped praise or derision as best fit the situation, and did so in plain English! Elmer's understanding of and firsthand knowledge about the farm equipment industry made him a veritable walking encyclopedia.
After selling Farm Implement News to Implement & Tractor, Elmer continued with a regular column entitled Reflections for several years. We have always seen Mr. Baker's writings and his style as something to emulate, even though we find ourselves hardly capable of the task.
After visiting with the present editor of Implement & Tractor we have concluded that our new 'Question &. Answer' column might well carry the name of 'Relfections', not as a plagiarism of Elmer's chosen title, but as an enduring tribute to a man who dutifully recorded the formative years of agricultural technology.
Beginning with this issue, we will attempt to answer as many questions as possible, and do so as accurately as we can. Although we claim no special expertise in this field, the extensive research of the past few years has given us some background of historical engines and tractors. We hope that this will be of value to the column as well as to the reader. Don't expect us to have answers to ALL questions-we once heard it said that 'The guy who thinks he knows it all has the most to learn.'
May we strongly encourage you to respond with your comments and answers directly to GEM. By so doing, you can be of great help to thousands of other collectors as well. The regional nature of many engine and tractor builders often enables a single individual to become 'expert' on a specific company. Through this column, we hope that much of this hidden data can become public information to the great benefit of our hobby.
Q. I need help in identifying this engine, along with any information regarding paint color, or other data. G. F. Harvey, 2421 Coley Forest Pl., Raleigh, NC 27612.
A. From Page 213 of American Gas Engines it would appear this is a Gray, built by Gray Motor Co., Detroit, Michigan. Perhaps someone could tell us the original color(s). By the way, when specifying paint colors, please use DuPont, Sherwin-Williams, or other commonly found paint numbers so that other collectors can get an accurate color match.
Q. What are the proper colors for a 2 HP Root & Vandervoort? Proper color for an Emerson-Brantingham? I have a John Deere GP, s/n 200408. Are there any GP's older than this? How about paint color and year built for the Nelson Bros. 5/8 HP horizontal air cooled engine? John D. Wangen, RR3, Viroqua, WI 54665.
A. R & V engines are green, comparable to DuPont Dulux 93-5316. E-B engines are deep red, comparable to DuPont Dulux 93-26550-H. Believe Nelson Bros. 5/8 HP engine to be green, but no data on exact color or years built.
Q. I have two Fairmont railroad section handcar engines. No identification tags, and there don't seem to be any references in GEM. Need information on the engines and the company. Is the company still operating? AS. Rorick, RR 1, Box 524, Clebume, TX 76031.
A. The GEM Cumulative Index, 1966-77 notes several Fairmont references-also American Gas Engines illustrates and very briefly describes it. However, we are not sure if Fairmont is still in operation, nor do we know whether parts or instruction manuals are still available. The 1977 Thomas Register still lists the company at Fairmont, Minnesota.
Q. I have a 4 HP headless engine and nothing I have tried so far will loosen it. Referring to the March-April, 1968 issue of GEM, page 22, I would like to try cyclohexane as noted in that article, but cannot find any, or find anyone who knows what it is. Can anyone tell me how to loosen this piston? Robert O. Wilson, RR I, Box 1381, Allentown, NJ 08501.
A. A check of the Thomas Register indicates that cyclohexane is a chro-matography solvent, and is apparently also sold as cyclohexyl chloride or as dimethanol by Eastman Chemical Products. We don't now how effective this material is in loosening a frozen piston, nor do we now if there are special hazards involved. With this and other exotic chemicals, it is wise to check out the safety of the product FIRST! We have heard of countless recipes for freeing a stuck piston-in his letter, Mr. Wilson alludes to a combination of penetrating oil and automatic transmission fluid. Several commercial products seem to work quite well, including the well-known WD-40 and a lesser known but very effective penetrant by the name of Kroil, available from Kano Laboratories, 1000 Thompson Lane, Nashville, TN 37211. We know of one individual who in desperation, finally placed the entire cylinder in the blacksmith forge, and by slowly bringing the entire mass up to a black heat, was able to so disintegrate the accumulated rust that it was possible to remove the piston. Having restored a good many engines, and having encountered many of these same problems, this writer will be quite interested in hearing from those with a solution to this puzzlesome problem!
Q. We would like to know the original colors and decals for the Aermotor engines. This one is a 3 HP model of 1910. How many left and what is the value? We have trouble getting the engine to run smoothly, and would like to correspond with anyone who can help us. ]ohn Noakes, 7380 Mosherville Rd., Litchfield, MI 49252.
A. Currently restored Aermotor engines seem to run the gamut from red to maroon in color, and so far we haven't heard of anyone who has one painted as it should be, although we would bet that somebody has it right and would share their knowledge with this column. Regarding how many are left, and their value-these are subjective judgements that depend entirely on who's doing the talking! One man's junk is another's treasure. Certiainly, the Aermotor engines can be deemed to be scarce.
Q. Can you supply the date of manufacture, etc., on the New Way 1 HP engine shown here? It has maroon flywheels and crank guard, silver cylinder, black cowling and crankcase. Also need information on an IHC Titan 1 HP engine. It has no nameplate, but has G7532 cast in the cylinder, G-6526 on crankcase, and has a battery/coil ignition with a Wizard generator. Neil Harvey, 9 Ford Street, Ararat, 3327, Victoria, Australia.
A. Mr. Harvey's color photograph of this engine indicates that he did an excellent restoration job. American Gas Engines indicates that this engine was built about 1915, although no precise manufacturing dates are available. A check of International's Parts Book No. 9 indicates that the G-6526 engine frame was built from 1911-1917. Also indicated is -7537 as the cylinder number, built during the same period. By the way, the cylinder, complete with piston and rings, listed at $22.65.
Q. What is the correct color for a Model T.A. Monarch engine, built by Royal Engine Co., Saginaw, Michigan? Are instruction manuals, decals, etc. available for this engine? Charles K. Coon, 812 Garfield St., Port Huron, MI 48060.
A. Most of the Royal engines we have seen were painted deep blue, but we do not have a matching number in DuPont or other enamel. Perhaps some of our readers have this data. We don't know of any literature or decals being available for these engines, but if it exists, perhaps the fortunate owner might share it with Mr. Coon and this column.
Q. I recently obtained an old 1-bag cement mixer. It has a tag 'The Lansing Co., Lansing, Mich.' s/n 563-A. The engine tag reads: 'The Lauson', s/n 8oo96, Type W-611, 2 HP, 525 rpm. A close picture of this engine is found on page 122 of American Gas Engines. Since I have this history of this unit from first sale, (1928-29) until the present, I would like more information on Lansing Co., as well as info on the engine's original colors, magneto style, striping, etc. James N. Oster, 4 Julia Ave., Chicopee, MA 01020.
A. We don't now anything about the Lansing Company, but the Lauson engine you describe appears to have been a deep olive green color-once again, we do not have a matching number. If the engine you describe is like the one shown on Page 122 of American Gas Engines, the magneto in question is a fairly common style-the Wico EK.
Q. Here's a generator we recently purchased, but except for the 'Instructions' nameplate, there is no identification on the engine. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who can identify it. Greg Mosley, 220 W. 10th, Wayne, NE 68787.
A. We would judge this one to be a Kohler, built by Kohler Co., Kohler, Wisconsin. Since there are many questions sent in on electric lighting plants, we would appreciate duplicate or unused catalogs, literature, etc. on these units for research purposes. Kindly send any materials to REFLECTIONS, c/o Gas Engine Magazine, Box 328, Lancaster, PA 17603.