Although this particular column is being drafted in late March,
by the time it is in print, Spring will be here to stay, and with
it the annual revival of the gas engine and tractor hobby. For
those fortunate enough to live in warmer climates, cold weather is
no great deterrent. The Reflector, writing from east-central Iowa,
reports with no hesitation that so far as Iowa winters go, the one
just past was indeed a long-term affair. The snow which came the
Sunday after Thanksgiving never left until Spring even a brief
January thaw failed to get rid of it! Now for the glorious days of
summer and a host of nice engine shows!
Among this month’s mail is a letter indicating some
displeasure with ye old Reflector. This dissatisfaction boils down
to the writer noting that ‘in my opinion, (Mr. Wendel) does
more advertising for his books than answering questions.’ The
letter goes on to state that ‘most of his answers are asking
other readers to help out or to say that the info is in a
particular book. His plea to readers to send in any paint charts
will probably result in another book instead of answering questions
in the column.’ Since this letter from a California reader was
signed, we feel obligated to respond.
First of all, the Reflector makes every attempt to refrain from
boosting the cause of any supplier in the column, whether it be a
regular advertiser, or an occasional one. The sole purpose of
referring to American Gas Engines or Encyclopedia of American
Farm Tractors, among others is for the information of our
readers. Believe it or not, the fact that the Reflector authored
several of these titles, as well as this column is purely
coincidental. So far as internal combustion engines go, and
particularly those on the American scene, American Gas
Engines Since 1872 is to our knowledge the only historic
encyclopedia of these engines in print. To NOT use it as a
reference for the benefit of our readers would be ludicrous.
Now to the point of the Reflector ‘asking other readers to
help out.’ One of the first lessons we learned about this most
interesting hobby is that there is so much to know about the
thousands of American engine builders that we make no claim at all
about knowing a whole lot! Even when speaking of well-known
companies such as International Harvester, there remains a lot of
material that has never been covered. In fact where Harvester is
concerned, their Archives alone occupy a major portion of an entire
floor at the 401 North Michigan address in Chicago. Thus it was
very difficult indeed to compress even a small portion of this data
into a single 416 page book as we did in 150 Years of
International Harvester. To state our case another way, many
of the basic questions regarding internal combustion engines have
already been answered in our own and in other books. It’s the
elusive ones we see now questions like the origins of the T. W.
Phillips engine, or the Spence, Smith & Kootz engines.
Virtually the only chance of finding ANY information on these
companies is from someone locally familiar with them .. . we have
no choice but to appeal to our readers for help!
Another problem for us is that despite a sizeable research
library, we often do not have any information on a particular
engine or tractor that would be of help, and this despite a library
of thousands of books, plus many files on specific companies. To
sum up our ‘appeal to readers for help’, we’re doing
the best we can with what we have.
The final point of this letter to the Reflector notes that
‘his plea to readers to send in any paint charts will probably
result in another book instead of his answering the question in the
column.’ In response, we feel obligated to tell you that
objective criticism is a major part of the territory for a writer.
Over the years our books have gotten some good reviews, and some
not so good. Likewise, in meeting people at the shows, speaking
engagements, and other activities, we have learned a great deal
about what people like and do not like in a particular book.
However, the Reflector’s interpretation of the above quote
seems to indicate that the writer feels that the Reflector is
riding an instant money train at the expense of the hobby. Sometime
ago we noted within this column that once we had enough information
together, this data would be published by GEM, either as a booklet
or as part of a regular magazine issue. Now wouldn’t it be
silly to keep a complete issue of GEM handy when looking for a
paint scheme?, or would it make more sense to print the available
data in booklet form so that it could be enlarged and revised from
time to time? As we stated sometime ago, once the data is gathered,
it will be turned over to GEM, and once they get it, the problem of
how to accurately reproduce these colors comes up. So you see, the
plea for information on paint colors is real, and beyond that, the
Reflector won’t get much out of it either except for the
satisfaction of getting the job done.
A final point: Each year we meet thousands of people.
Additionally, we get hundreds of letters complimenting us on our
books, and especially on the ‘Reflections’ column. Then
there are a few who somehow manage to intimate that being a writer
somehow commutates instant success and a parallel move into
‘big money.’ Speaking from personal experience, the
Reflector herewith tells one and all to forget any notions about
making a pot full of money writing books on agricultural history!
We’ll concede that our books have brought in some shekels over
the years, but if figured on an hourly basis for the time involved,
there is probably more money to be made sweeping streets or washing
dishes! In addition to several years of preparatory work,
American Gas Engine since 1872 took over two years of
steady work to complete! Much of this was done on the basis of ten
hours per day, 6 days a week! Oh yes, and one more item try doing
all this work, not knowing for sure whether you can get a publisher
to accept your manuscript rejection letters are a fact of life for
In closing, we certainly do not wish to alienate ANYONE,
especially the GEM readers. The Reflector will continue to do the
best possible job of answering your questions, even though doing so
might at times require reference to various books or help from our
Due to scheduling problems this month, the column is slightly
shorter than usual, but here goes:
Q. Can you supply information on a Viking
garden tractor (see photo). It was built by Allied Motor
Corporation, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and uses a two-cylinder air
cooled motor with a Wico Type A magneto. The engine has brass
connecting rods with a plunger oil pump and tray lubrication
system. The only nameplate gives a serial number of 309CF987. Any
information such as age, proper color, and proper muffler and air
cleaner would be appreciated. Mark G. Sergent, Box 626, Spencer, WV
A. The Farm Implement News Buyer’s Guides
indicate that the Viking from Allied was a short-term affair by the
late 1930’s, parts only were available from Standard Motor
Parts of Minneapolis. The latter firm apparently acquired the
remains of a good many companies Standard often appears as the
parts source for various defunct manufacturers. Checking various
issues of the FIN Tractor Field Book is no help either in
identifying the engine or giving further details of the company.
Whether this firm is a successor to the Allied Truck &. Tractor
Corporation formed at Minneapolis in 1920 is also unknown.
Q. Clarence hammers, 40 Normandy Drive, Lake
St. Louis, MO 63367 writes asking for more information on the Globe
engine like the one pictured on page 23 of the March/April 1978
A. Without a photo of your HP model it is
difficult for us to provide the information you request. Our files
are virtually bare on the Globe engines.
Q. Nick Jonkman, RR2, Wyoming, Ontario N0N IT0
Canada sends a photo of an IHC Booster engine owned by Allen Haugh,
Brucefield, Ontario N0M 1J0. Although unrestored it appears to be
in excellent condition, and a sketch of it is shown on page 132 of
150 Years of International Harvester.
A. As the IHC book indicates, these engines
were built specifically for railroad handcar use, with production
being rather limited. We look forward to seeing the restored
Q. From Douglas Harding, RR3, More-field,
Ontario N0G 2K0 Canada comes this query regarding a T. W. Phillips
engine (see three adjacent photos). It weighs about 2 tons, has
5-foot flywheels, two-cycle design, and uses hot tube ignition. I
believe it is called a half-breed because it is a steam engine
frame with a gas engine cylinder attached. The s/n is B-403. Can
anyone supply us with information about this company? I also need
information about hot tube ignition as most of mine is gone. Would
like to know the reason for the three equally spaced holes in the
flywheel rim (see 21/6/4a.), and would also like to know which way
the curved spokes should point.
A. We believe you are correct in stating that
this engine is probably a ‘half-breed’ in that a gas engine
cylinder has replaced the original steam cylinder, albeit on the
original frame. Chances are that the governor was an ordinary
flyball type like was probably used on the steam engine. The
Reflector once was told that the curved flywheel spokes should
point in the direction of rotation, that is the nearest flywheel in
21/6/4a would be correct for the top of the flywheel running
forward toward the cylinder. Presumably this threw the stress
toward the rim. Pages 21 and 22 of Gas Engine Guide, an informative
little book available from GEM offers a lot of basic information on
hot-tube ignition, and does it better than we could do within the
confines of this column. So far as the Phillips concern, it might
have been little more than a local shop with production limited to
perhaps a few hundred units.
Q. Your publication American Gas Engines Since
1872 does not mention the firm of Spence, Smith & Kootz at
Parkersburg, West Virginia. I have one of these engines with a 7
inch bore and stroke, hot tube ignition, and was used at the well
with casing gas. Would like to find best method of fuel application
for this engine; also the inertia-type governor that is on the
half-time shaft. How it can possibly function as a control medium
is very difficult to understand. Possibly one of your readers may
know. Ted Bagosy, Box 3005, Bloomington, Illinois 61701.
A. Your engine is by no means the first one to
NOT be included in American Gas Engines and undoubtedly will not be
the LAST to miss inclusion. As we all know, many of the so-called
engine manufacturers had in fact, a total production of ten or less
engines some had but one or two. The Reflector’s great-uncle
for instance, built only two we were told they were excellent
pumping engines, but neither one survived, so no one now living
even knows what they looked like! Thus, we are sure that a great
many ‘engine builders’ are yet to be discovered, and many
more will never have the honor. Having studied things mechanical
ever since boyhood, the Reflector still fails to understand
pendulum or inertia governors completely, so any answers to this
question lie with someone else. Ask about rebuilding the igniter
for a Stickney and we could recite chapter and verse, but on the
pendulum governor we profess gross ignorance. The firm of Spence,
Smith &. Kootz is duly noted and will be added to our card
Bill Pixler, 318 N. Grant, Smith Center, KS 66967 would like to
know the age of his Witte engine, 2 HP, s/n B36891.
Q. Jack Harrell, Box 142, Roanoke, IN 46783
writes: This is a SECOND TRY for any pictures, literature or
information on a Pony garden tractor made in the 1950’s by Pony
Tractor Co., Lincoln, Nebraska.
A. As we indicated in an earlier column, a
search of our data found nothing at all on the Pony, so if there is
anything to be found, it will have to come from one of our readers.
Good luck, and if you pick up any information let us know for the
benefit of other readers.
Commenting on the A. D. Mast Company article that recently
appeared in GEM, H. Rossow, Box 15, Weston, Idaho 83286 offers this
comment: I think the statement that ‘no stationary gas engines
are being produced today’ is wrong. Bell Mfg. Company, Box
1079, Bowie, TX 76230 makes a one-cylinder engine for use on oil
wells. It is hopper cooled and looks very much like the old hit and
miss engines. They are available in 7,12, and 24 horsepower sizes,
and run on natural gas, propane, or LP-gas. Many of these engines
can be seen on wells in Kansas, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Wyoming.
Q. L. E. Stevenson, 5N330 Petersdorf Road,
Bartlett IL 60103 writes that their club has just acquired an old
McCormick-Deering threshing machine minus the belts etc. They are
looking for a place to get belts, instruction manuals, etc.
A. An instruction manual might be available
from one of the ‘old book dealers’ that regularly advertise
in GEM. We think this is the first priority, since from the manual
it should be easy to see the belt arrangement, although you should
be able to figure this out with a little study. After that,
it’s a matter of finding some belting and a belt lacer to make
a new set.
Q. As a beginner to the gas engine hobby, I
need to locate Instruction Manuals for an IHCm 3-5 HP LBB-66441
engine and for a Fairbanks-Morse Z Oil engine of 3 HP size, s/n
445514. I know I need some parts, and would also like some
information on restoring them. Also have a Waukesha 4-cyl. engine
in operating condition, and understand information and parts are
still available. Darrell Hickman, 1503 E. Market St., Searcy,
A. We suggest that first you send to various
GEM advertisers for copies of their current catalogs, wherein we
are sure you will find the information you need. Some advertisers
also specialize in old engine parts, so this problem should be easy
to solve. Another way to acquire parts is by attending some of the
engine shows and swap meets around the country. Oftentimes the
needed parts appear, and usually at a reasonable price. Some
Waukesha parts are still available from automotive distributors,
but we doubt that major parts would still be available. Welcome to
our hobby, and good luck with your first projects!
Q. I have a Maynard 2 HP engine that appears to
be in good shape. The problem is in setting up the timing. The
igniter and wiring seem to be OK, but I have yet to hear the first
‘pop’. Even with attending six or seven shows a year, no
one seems able to help. Can you? Lowell F. Fitch, 60 Mallard
Circle, Agawam, MA 01001.
A. We’re not at all sure we can help! but
we’ll try. The old rule seems to be: if there’s fuel,
compression, and fire, the engine simply has to run. Now that
oversimplifies things, but basically it is true. Let’s assume
you have good compression. Now let’s assume that ignition is
timed for top dead center or just slightly past TDC. These two
things, together with fuel mean that it should fire. Does the fuel
check valve work OK, and is fuel getting to the cylinder? Will it
ignite if you prime it with gasoline? To illustrate what can happen
a few years ago, one of my favorite engines absolutely refused to
start, and I THOUGHT all the ingredients were there. However, I
discovered after a lot of cranking, and perhaps some occasional
profanities that from one summer to the next one of these very
tight cobwebs had been spun inside the air intake, out of my sight.
This thing apparently let the air through, but effectively strained
out the fuel. Seeing a lot of surplus fuel at the air intake, I
assumed the engine was getting fuel, but instead it was being
stained out by the cobweb. After getting it dug out, everything was
OK once again. How about the ignition? Many times the ignition
appears OK on the bench but is almost nonexistent on the engine.
Where low-tension igniters are involved, this could well be the
source of your problem. The slightest binding of the igniter shaft,
weak return springs, etc. can all cause problems. Tripping it on
the bench is one thing, but when in place on the engine, there are
stresses that we can’t duplicate on the bench. Try pulling the
piston out completely, then with a mirror check to see that there
is fire when it is supposed to happen. The ignition coil may be
sufficient for firing in the atmosphere, but is it sufficient to
fire across the pressurized gap? Sometimes changing coils will
help, other situations require a higher voltage, say 9 or 12 volts
rather than 6 volts. Small motorcycle batteries work nicely dry
cells don’t have nearly the opacity. One other note on
low-tension coils, short and fat coils always perform better than
long, skinny ones. Thomas Edison demonstrated this a century ago.
Let us know of your progress.
Q. Paul E. Saeger, 10054 Georgetown Ne,
Louisville, OH 44641 inquires whether there is a national
organization of gas engine and tractor organizations.
A. We don’t know of any that function as a
‘parent’ or ‘umbrella’ organization, but of all the
groups, Early Day Gas Engine &. Tractor Association undoubtedly
has the largest following, with branches chartered in many states.
Their president is Jack Versteeg, 1215 Jays Drive NE, Salem, OR
Q. Ken Irby, Box 15, Baker, OR 97814 poses some
1) Can you suggest the best book with data on track-type
2) Do you know of any company that makes exhaust manifolds for
the Caterpillar 60 tractors?
3) Does anyone make the finned radiator tubes as used in
the Caterpillar 60?
4) What is the best thing for freeing a seized engine, and what
can be used to keep them from seizing?
A. 1. Several books are available on tractors
generally but not much on tracklayers specifically. A number of
years ago, Caterpillar published a historical book titled Fifty
Years on Tracks. Unfortunately, these are now as scarce as
2. While we know that deterioration of the Cat 60 exhaust
manifolds is fairly frequent, we know of no one fabricating
3. Finding a supplier for the fin-tube material might be even
more difficult than finding the exhaust manifold.
4. Mr. Irby notes that he has tried diesel fuel for freeing a
seized engine, but it did no better than diesel conditioner and
other items he has tried. We can tell you that diesel fuel is
definitely NOT the thing to use to prevent seizing the sulfur,
especially on aluminum pistons will have just the opposite effect,
and you very might end up digging the piston out in little pieces!
Whatever you use, we certainly do not recommend diesel fuel either
for freeing an engine or for laying it up in storage! There seems
to be no single best answer to freeing up a seized engine several
months ago we had a series of comments on this subject, and there
were as many answers as there were people sending them in. We
believe that virtually all of the suggestions have some merit, but
not all seem to fit each situation. However, we have a lot of faith
in soaking up the engine for a week or so with Kroil or a similar
penetrate, then filling the cylinder jacket with boiling hot water
and subsequently placing a good sized piece of dry ice on the
piston head. The expansion of the cylinder from the hot water and
the contraction of the piston from the dry ice seem to be very
effective. As a cautionary note be very careful in handling dry
ice! To keep an engine from seizing, we simply use some lightweight
non-detergent oil in ample quantities.
Q. We recently acquired a 5 HP engine built by
Cook Motor Company, Delaware, Ohio. The engine is of vertical
design with a 5 x 57/8 inch bore and stroke. Would like more
information, including proper paint color. Also would like some
idea of its rarity. Roger Mohling, 1023 Scott Street, Beatrice, NE
A. We believe the Cook engine is indeed rare,
and except for a catalog reprint we have seen, little information
seems to be available. Hopefully another reader has restored a Cook
and can provide the necessary color information.
Q. I recently acquired a small yard tractor
with the name Tiger Tractor cast into the metal on the front axle
in raised letters. The steering wheel is of cast design and has the
words Tiger Cub cast into two of the spokes. Any information will
be appreciated. A. L. Patterson, 4853 Stagecoach Road, Ellenwood,
A. Looking through our materials yielded not a
thing on the Tiger Cub. Hopefully, someone reading this column will
recognize the name and provide the necessary data.
Q. Can you give me the paint colors for a Letz
Junior No. 6 feed grinding mill? The mill has markings of Keystone
Machine Co., York, Penn. on one side and Letz Mfg. Co., Crown
Point, Ind. Also noted in ‘Patented Oct. 24, 1911May 2,
1916Sept. 5, 1916Apri. 24, 1917. Any information will be
appreciated. George Kazio, RD 1, Box 109, Muncy, PA 17756.
A. We may be incorrect, but we assume your mill
might have followed the same general color scheme of orange and
blue that characterized the later model Letz mills. However, we
have no color illustrations so we cannot provide accurate color
data. These mills, sold for many years by Deere &. Company,
were well known. The patent dates mentioned would undoubtedly
unearth some interesting sidelights, but a preliminary examination
of the Patent Office Gazette indicates once again that the practice
of burying a patent under some obscure title was at work. At least
no entries appear for such subjects as ‘Feed Grinding
Mills’ or ‘Grinding Mills.’ The specific patent might
have referred to some isolated feature such as the thrust bearing
Wayman Griggs, RR 2, Box 179A, Stewartsville, MO 64490 writes:
I, W. Tim Griggs claim to have the only H. P. Nielson Company
engine in the world, as listed on page 346 of American Gas
Engines. Am hoping to dig up some information that you and I
don’t have. Will appreciate hearing from anyone having a
Nielson engine, information, literature, etc.
The Reflector submits a couple photographs showing our latest
acquisition, a six-cylinder Fairbanks-Morse engine. It is a Model
32, with six cylinders of 14 x 17 inch bore and stroke. Photo
21/6/20a shows two large cranes in position. They have just assumed
the load, estimated to be about 55,000 pounds. Photo 21/6/20b
illustrates the engine in its temporary resting place atop some
12-inch H-beams. Later this year we hope to move it to a new
concrete foundation. The 2300 volt alternator, not shown in these
photos, was built by Fairbanks-Morse. It is rated at 300 KVA which
translates to a top load of 72.2 amps per phase at name-plate
voltage. Total weight of engine and generator is estimated at
80,000 pounds. Unfortunately the old company records of this engine
don’t give us any specific weight for the various parts. Built
under s/n 715532, it left the factory in October, 1928.
Fairbanks-Morse sold their generator division to Louis Allis
Company some years ago. So far we have had no luck in finding the
erection and operating manuals for the Type D alternator and the
Type MX exciter. Would also like to hear from someone who can tell
us where to secure the special dial indicator used to measure crank
web deflection when aligning the engine. Having spent some time
working in and around power plants we know that the best way to
break the crankshaft is by not having it properly aligned. Sounds
hard to believe that an 8-inch shaft would break, but misalignment
of a few thousandths will practically guarantee it!
21/4/24Finding Serial Numbers on Farmall
Regular and other models. A large number of replies came in on
this question, and virtually all agree that the Regular had the
serial number stamped on the top of the left hand frame rail
between the pedestal and the radiator. Some writers noted that it
might also appear farther back toward the flywheel housing. The
engine number is stamped in the casting on the left side of the
block, toward the front, about 3 inches under the manifold. This
number will probably be higher, since some of the engines were
pulled out of the line for stationary power units. A replacement
engine would of course have a somewhat different number.
The F-20 and F-30 are also stamped on the left hand frame rail,
but nearer to the flywheel housing.
The 10-20 and 15-30 styles have the number stamped in the
casting under the belly of the tractor.
Thank for all the letters in this regard (Ed.)
On this subject, a letter from T. R. Ward, Jr., LoneOak
Distributing Company, Box 55587, Jackson, MS 32916 states that in
response to Mr. Huxley’s inquiry, ‘we are currently working
on a directory similar to the one he mentioned. It will consist of
cross-referenced listings of individuals, organizations, and
museums, with a brief description of their interests.’
21/3/15 Lauson engine
The engine noted under this heading is a Lauson VA (air-cooled)
model. It was also available as the Type VW (water-cooled). Many
VW’s were used with DeLaval milking machines. The hot jacket
water was used for cleaning up the milking equipment. C. W. Colby,
RD1, Box 199A, Monkeywrench Road, Greensburg, PA 15601.
A CLOSING WORD
As we noted earlier, this month’s column has fewer questions
because of scheduling requirements. Additionally, the number of
inquiries is usually less during the summer months when reading
time is replaced by hands-on experience. Those reading this column
surely must tire of hearing it, but we say it once again Be
TIP OF THE MONTH
Paint brushes of NYLON bristles can be cleaned of old stiff
paint by the following: Pour a whole can of Lewis Lye Drain Cleaner
into an old 3 pound coffee can about 2/3ds full of water. Add a
teaspoon of liquid detergent to the solution as a wetting agent.
Stand the brushes in this mixture overnight and next day wash them
out thoroughly, shake dry, and then wrap in some heavy paper to
help get their shape back. Don’t try this with old-style
bristle brushes the next morning all that’s left is the handle!
Be very careful when using lye pour it into the water, and never
pour water over the lye. Use a face mask and gloves, as it can
cause severe burns.
Another tip some years ago, Allis-Chalmers recommended using a
small amount of soluble oil in the tractor radiator to retard rust
formation. It takes only a very small amount, costs very little,
and seems to do the job.
Stemgas is pleased to note that Mr. Wendel has recently been
honored by inclusion in the publications Who’s Who In The
Midwest, Men of Achievement (a British publication) and
personalities in America. We congratulate him on these honors!
The purpose of the Reflections column is to provide a forum for
the exchange of all useful information among subscribers to GEM.
Inquiries or responses should be addressed to: REFLECTIONS, Gas
Engine Magazine, P. O. Box 328, Lancaster, PA 17603.