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
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,
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
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.