A Brief Word

| June/July 1994

The August 1908 issue of Practical Engineer illustrates and describes a most unusual engine designed by F. C. Olin. Although the two illustrations shown here are not of the highest quality, we think they will suffice to give a general idea of this design. Figure 1 illustrates the engine. .. it is of a four-cylinder opposed design, and was rated at 60 horsepower. The engine was designed with a 9 x 11 inch bore and stroke, and used a 4-inch crankshaft.

The unusual feature is the scotch yoke design, as shown in Figure 2. Olin's design was intended to reduce the wear and friction common to the scotch yoke design, and to this end, an oil pump was used whereby there was constant lubrication of the internal working parts. For those unfamiliar with the scotch yoke design, the crank worked within the large center bearing. It operated upon a heavy slide within the yoke, oscillating up and down as the pistons moved forward and back.

The engine shown here was very compact, requiring a floor space of only 5 x 6 feet. Total engine weight was 4,600 pounds. This engine was installed in St. Anne's Catholic Church, Buffalo, New York.

Has anyone heard of, or seen one of these engines? Does anyone have further information and/or photos of it?

The mail has been light this past month, as it usually is this time of year. Presumably, the wintertime letter writing has been replaced with physical activities such as dusting off that old iron, putting in some gas, and giving it a turn or two. And of course, they always start the first time over, don't they? Every once in awhile we're reminded of the time we worked like crazy trying to get one started. We had compression, fuel, and fire, the three required elements . . . or did we? After a couple of hours we finally discovered that some sort of spider had woven a tight little nest up in the mixer. The engine would seem to have been flooded to death with all the fuel running out the intake. This foreign material would let air through, but it surely did block off the gas, except for an occasional pop. A piece of wire with a hook bent on the end took care of the trouble. We've also witnessed what those mud dauber wasps can do to the inside of a mixer. . . it'll be plugged up completely with what to them probably seems like the most secure dwelling they've ever had.

And a final note. . . Thanks to Paul Kesselring for his recent article spoofing engines and generators. Sometimes it's nice to take ourselves lightheartedly instead of always being so serious.