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This month we’re including a couple of unusual things in our
column. The first is a wood wool making machine as they called it
in England, or an excelsior machine as we would call it here in the
U.S. The illustration is from the September 26, 1924 issue of
Machinery Market published in London. It shows the new ‘XL’
machine of Haighs Ltd., Oldham.

We’ve often wondered how these machines were built, and in
fact, one of our readers inquired a couple of years ago about them.
A heavy frame, working in wide and specially built slides, carries
a grooving knife at each end. Behind this is a planing knife driven
by the connecting rod. A series of grooves are cut into the block
by the grooving iron, and the ridges are then cut off by the
planing knife.

The pieces of timber are clamped between fluted rollers and fed
up to the knives by a gear train. The latter can be adjusted for
the desired feed, much as with the change gears on a lathe. This
sets the ‘thickness’ of the shavings. For each
‘width’ of fibre, separate knives are required, having the
proper spacing of the grooves. This machine had a capacity of two
blocks of 24 inches thick and 12 inches high, and required only 10
horsepower. Now, if you folks that like to make models want to
bring a new sensation to the shows, here ya’ go!

A second illustration this month is from the September 25, 1936
issue of Machinery Market. It illustrates an unusual conversion
offered by J. & H. McLaren Ltd. at Leeds. As the advertisement
states, ‘Convert your existing steam ploughing and threshing
engines to diesel drive.’ Apparently, all the old mechanism,
including the smokestack, is removed from the top of the boiler,
and a big diesel engine is mounted in its place.

We’ve never heard of this conversion before, either in
England, on the Continent, or here in the States. Did any American
builders offer such a conversion? Did the McLaren conversion gain
any popularity in England? If we hear anything about this,
we’ll let you know in later editions.

Ye olde Reflector also wishes to inform you that our history of
J. I. Case is now with the publisher, but it will probably be late
summer before the finished book can be in your hands. See our ad
elsewhere in this issue. We also wish to inform you that we are
working on our little handy book of serial numbers, paint colors,
and other useful information. This too, should be ready by late

In yet another development, we recently spent an entire week at
the Floyd County Historical Society in Charles City, Iowa. This
work is in preparation for a book on Oliver, Hart-Parr, Cletrac,
and related companies. We shot a lot of film at Charles City, and
got a lot of valuable research data. Still, the most deficient
areas are Nichols & Shepard and Cletrac. We located the N &
S thresher numbers from 1916 to the end. Are there any s/n listings
for earlier years? Do any steam engine or tractor serial numbers
exist for Nichols & Shepard? Has anyone come ever come across
any Cletrac catalogs? How about Nichols & Shepard? Despite a
reasonably good literature collection, we’ve found almost
nothing on these two firms. And a final query. How about A. B.
Farquhar Company ? Oliver bought them out, and even sold a few
Oliver-Farquhar sawmills. Except for a single folder, our files are
bare on this company too! So, if anyone is able or willing to help
out on yet another research project, kindly let us know, in care of
this column.  

Thanks to Newt & Brads Old Engines, 5 Riverside Drive,
Merrimack, NH 03054 for sending along a serial number listing on
early Wisconsin engines.

Our first query this month is:

26/7/1 Witte Engines Fred Rixe, 1202 South
211th St., Catoosa, OK 74015 writes that Arrow Specialty Co., 2301
E. Independence, Tulsa, OK 74010 has acquired the manufacturing
rights to the National Oilwell engines, formerly Witte engines.

26/7/2 Sun Type N Engine Q. J recently acquired
a Sun Type N, 1? HP engine, but the crank timing gear is missing.
Can anyone tell me if another engine might have the correct gear?
If not, can anyone give me the proper dimensions? Also, what is the
proper color? Shawn Hatton, RD 4, Honesdale, PA 18431.

A. Assuming the cam gear is present, the crank
gear will have exactly half that many teeth. In other words, if you
can find someone able or willing to cut you a gear, any machinist
worthy of the name should be able to do it with nothing more than
the cam gear. We’ve noticed that a few of our GEM advertisers
either offer gears or can cut them for you.

26/7/3 Pneumatic Chainsaw Q. See the two photos
of a Chicago Pneumatic Tool Company, Little Giant saw. It has four
cylinders, two each at 90 degrees to each other. The cylinders are
2 inch bore and 21/4 inch stroke. One tag
reads, Timber Sawing Machine, Reed-Prentice Corporation, Worcester,
Mass. s/n 18268. Did C-P make the engine and Reed-Prentice adapt it
to a chainsaw? When was it built? Where can I find any
instructions, parts literature, etc.? Are any parts available?
Otto Ray, 704 Evans Rd., Fieldbrook,CA95521.

A. We can’t tell you a thing about this
unit, although we have heard about pneumatic chainsaws before. Any
help out there?

26/7/4 Sears Farm Master Q. See the photo of a
Sears Farm Master, Mode! 811-4. It is identical to the engine shown
on page 118 of American Gas Engines. Also on page 459 of the same
book it states that the Cub line was added to Sears about 1942-46,
and sent them out with a coat of bright yellow paint. However, my
engine was originally red. Can any reader supply me with
information on the year built, correct color, decals, etc. Any
information would be appreciated. Randy J. Martin, 2550
Denniston Ave SW, Roanoke, VA 24015.

A. We don’t know of any specific
information on these engines other than that appearing in the
Sears-Roebuck catalogs. However, it is entirely possible that some
of these engines could have been sent out with a red coat instead
of a yellow one.

26/7/5 Maynard Engine Q. I would like to get in
contact with someone who has a Maynard engine, made by Jacobson
Machine of Warren, Pa. with ignitor or Webster magneto ignition,
preferably a 2-2 ? HP engine. Don Worley, 254 Pleasant Dr.,
Warren, PA 16365.

26/7/6 Monitor Engine Q. See the photo of a
recent acquisition. The previous owner told me it was a 5 HP
Monitor built by Baker Mfg. Co. What does the original battery box
look like? What is the carburetor like? How are these engines
finished and striped? Would anyone having one of these engines
please contact me?

Also, I received a letter postmarked Baltimore, Maryland, but
there was no return address nor was there a letter inside. I should
like to respond to the writer, but have no idea who it might be.
So, if someone from the Baltimore area has written me, and has
gotten no response, please write again. Dane L. Fuchs, RR 2,
Box 173, New Salem, ND

26/7/7 Splitdorf Magneto Q. I have a Splitdorf
magneto, Model SS, 4/2, No. 3445. It turns clockwise from the
impulse end. The wires are marked 1-3-2-4 3-1-4-2. It has been on
my shelf for 30 years, but I do not know what it might fit. Any
ideas? Norbert D. Kulsavage, 600 Pleasant Valley Road, Milford,
MI 48380.

A. Since it is a 4/2 magneto, it seems logical
that this one was intended for use on a two-cylinder engine, even
though it was of the standard four cylinder design. In this case
however, we would suppose that it has a pair of safety gaps to take
care of the unused distributor positions. (This is essential to
keep from destroying the high tension coil). Beyond that, we
can’t tell you, but perhaps some of our magneto experts can be
of help.

26/7/8 Page Garden Tractor Q. I would like to
hear from anyone with information on the Page garden tractors,
including the years built, the proper color scheme, etc. James L.
Fennell, 14050 East ‘W’ Ave., Fulton MI 49052.

A. We’re passing this information along to
our readers, because we can’t be of much help. If you can
assist Mr. Fennel, kindly do so.

26/7/9 FBM Model Z Q. I am restoring a
Fairbanks-Morse 3 HP Model Z engine, s/n 511105. Can you tell me
the year built, and the type of magneto used? Mike Peszynski,
67 Federal St., Newburyport, MA 01950.

A. Your engine was built in 1922. Originally at
least, your engine probably was equipped with an American Bosch
AB-33 high tension oscillator. However, the engine could well have
been retrofitted with the FBM RV-1 rotary or even the FBM Type J
magneto at a later date. FBM offered these retrofit kits for most
of their engines.

26/7/10 Fairbanks-Morse Q. See the photo of a
Fairbanks-Morse 50 HP diesel. It is a Type Y, Style V engine, with
a s/n of 037673. The people at FBM say this would put the engine
prior to 1911, but that can’t be correct. Also, what is the
correct color, and what is the speed? The nameplate is missing.
Does anyone make repro nameplates for this engine? Eddie
Turner, RR 2, Box 279-B, Pamplico, SC 29583.

A. If the first digit of the s/n is’6′
instead of ‘0’ then this engine would be of 1925 vintage,
and from its appearance, we would guess this to be fairly close.
Note that it still uses the ‘hot head’ design typical of
the very early FBM diesels. We believe that about 1926 FBM changed
the head design entirely, and began to use atomizing injectors.
This then was the beginning of the Model 32 engines that saw
significant modifications during the 1930’s. However, your
engine will inject a tight stream of fuel instead of atomizing it.
The atomization takes place due to the heat retained in a portion
of the cylinder head.

26/7/11 Fordson Industrial Q. See the two
photos of a Fordson tractor with hard rubber tires. This tractor
may have been used for grooming a horse racing track. Tom
Goepfrich, 1191 E. 900N., Ossian, IN 46777.

A. We’d guess this to be an Industrial
version of the Fordson, and as such, we’d guess this to be a
rather unusual item.

26/7/12 Banner Engine Q. See the photo of a
Banner engine made in Lansing, Michigan, s/n 113576. Many parts
look similar to the Waterloo Boy engine. Can anyone supply me with
information on this engine?Robert J. Kubisch, 2111 Gilbride
Martinsville, NJ 08836.

A. Does the nameplate state, Made By, or Built
By this company? Sometimes the companies were a bit devious and
used some clever semantics to lead one to believe they built
something they never built at all. We strongly suspect this engine
came from Waterloo, Iowa. See page 299 of American Gas Engines for
a small showing of the Sandow engines from Sandy McManus Inc. This
outfit sold a lot of engines for awhile, albeit that they came from
the shops of Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company. Set the hopper of
your Banner engine on the Sandow shown on page 299, and it sure
looks to us like the same engine. We’re sure not denigrating
your engine. We think it is a nice find, especially since this is
yet another derivation of the Sandow design. We also think it was
built in the same time frame as the Sandow engines, again referring
you to the article cited above.


Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines