Recently we were looking through the 1903 issues of Gas Power Magazine. In the very first issue is an advertisement for the Port Huron Gas & Gasoline Engines, as built by Port Huron Engine & Thresher Co., Port Huron, Michigan. The Port Huron engine is listed on page 397 of American Gas Engines, and supposedly was available in sizes from 2? to 50 horsepower. Are there any of these engines left?
The June 1903 issue of Gas Power also carries an article on hot tube ignition. The following is an extract of that article:
The principle which underlies such ignition is that in compressing a charge it heats. Bearing this in mind, suppose that the charge entering the cylinder comes in contact with surfaces nearly, but not quite hot enough to set the mixture afire. When the mixture is compressed, this raises the temperature. If compression is high enough, the charge will self-ignite. Of course, all of this happens in a fraction of a second.
If the igniting surface of the hot tube is just hot enough the mixture will not ignite until the piston comes up to top dead center. With this delayed ignition, the engine will not run very fast. If the tube is too hot, the mixture will fire too soon.
With a short tube, a dull cherry red will be satisfactory for a gasoline engine working on fairly high compression. If the tube is long, or if the passage between the tube and the cylinder is long, the tube must be hotter to run at the same speed as with a short tube.
Ordinary street gas ignites much more suddenly than gasoline vapor, and it is much more difficult to run a hot tube engine on gasoline than on street gas.
The hot tube on most engines is usually a piece of common 1/8 inch pipe, five to seven inches long, with one end closed, and the other end threaded to fit directly into the cylinder. This tube is kept hot by a torch. In kerosene engines, such as the Mietz & Weiss, the back end of the cylinder is the hot tube. A hollow ball is first heated by a torch to a dull red heat to start the engine running, and is then kept hot by the heat of the explosions. In the Mietz & Weiss design the cylinder head and ball are not water jacketed like the cylinder, so as to maintain adequate heat for ignition.
Some engines of the 1890's and early 1900's were furnished with the choice of hot tube or electric igniter systems. Owing to the unreliable nature of both at the time, some were regularly furnished with both systems. We often get requests for information on the hot tube system. Also, we frequently hear from readers who ask why their engine is equipped with both systems. In most instances, it was insurance that if the torch failed, perhaps the igniter would work. Conversely, if the batteries were dead, maybe the hot tube would keep the engine running.
Our first question this month begins with:
26/3/1 Fairbanks-Morse Q. Is the Fairbanks -Morse Eclipse engine the same color as the other FBM models? Raymond Urton, Box 86, Syracuse, KS 67878.
A. Yes, to our knowledge.
26/3/2 John Deere 'K' Engine Q. Does anyone have any information on the John Deere Type K kerosene engines? They were built in a throttling governor design. The Type K appears in the 1924 edition of the John Deere Pocket Ledger. Ron Vant H of, RR, Hospers, Iowa.
A. Apparently, the Type K was a continuation of the original Waterloo Boy engines built at Waterloo, Iowa. After Deere bought out this company, they continued with the Waterloo Boy engines until beginning production of their Type E engine in 1923.
26/3/3 Empire Engine Q. I have an Empire engine, built by Empire Cream Separator Company, Bloomfield, New Jersey, 2 HP, s/n 27870. I would like to know if this is a rare engine, also the proper paint color scheme. Ralph Beames, 685 Narrows Rd., Biglerville, PA 17307.
26/3/4 Domestic Pump Q. See the photo of a Domestic pump outfit. The pump and cart are Domestic, with a 1917 patent date. The engine I am not sure of. It looks like a LeRoi but appears backward from pictures I have seen of them, the governor and flywheel should be reversed. See 25/12/5 in the December 1990 GEM. The rubber diaphragm pump has 'Nova Power' stamped in it. I suppose that this may be a replacement diaphragm though. The engine bore is 31/8 inches, the output is on the camshaft, main bearings are babbit, Eisemann magneto, and Zenith carburetor. Can anyone supply further information on this pumping outfit? Howard Kittelson, 415 N. 12th St., Moorhead, MN 56560.
26/3/5 Wonder Engine Q. See the photos of a Wonder marine engine. It is 6 horsepower, s/n 2624, and built by Wonder Mfg. Company, Syracuse, New York. It is different than the one illustrated on page 563 of American Gas Engines. Can anyone supply any information on my engine?T.L. Brewer, RD 2, Box 266, Saltsburg, PA 15681.
26/3/6 Schramm Tractor Q. What is the correct color scheme for the Schramm tractor? Hoy D. Dove Jr., RR 1, Box 149-B, Mathias, WV 26812.
26/3/7 Unknown Engine Q. Can anyone identify the engine in the two accompanying photographs? Paul Tiggelbeck, RR 2, Box 153-C, Bee Branch, AR 72013.
26/3/8 Asbestos RegulationsClint Wilhelm, 4003 Spanish Oak Ln, Dripping Springs, TX 78620 sends along some information regarding the phase out of asbestos. These are EPA Rulings Regarding Asbestos Gaskets.
By August 25, 1993, the manufacture of all asbestos-containing
gaskets must cease.
By August 25, 1994, one year to the day later, all wholesale distribution for resale of asbestos-containing gaskets must cease.
By February 25, 1995, six months later, any such asbestos-containing gaskets that remained on warehouse distributors' and jobbers' shelves on August 25, 1994 must have been properly and legally disposed of.
26/3/9 Unknown Engine Q. What can you tell me about an engine, Model #K1-16, s/n 080121? Is this for the magneto? This engine has a 2 inch bore and 17/8 inch stroke. It has an under the flywheel magneto that says, Scintilla Magneto Div, Bendix Aviation Corp., Sidney, N.Y. Cast on the block are these numbers, 2-17-48. Would this be the date cast? Any information will be appreciated. Aaron S. King, 155 Herr Rd., Ronks, PA 17572.
26/3/10 Southern Engine Q. See the two photos of a side shaft engine. I believe it to have been manufactured by Southern Engine & Boiler Works, Jackson, Tennessee. It is of headless design and has a 4? x 6 inch bore and stroke. Any information on this engine will be appreciated. David Arceneaux, PO Box 523, Albany, LA 70711.
26/3/11 Briggs & Stratton Q. See photos 11-A and 11-B. I am certain this engine is a Briggs & Stratton. However, the push rod, rocker arm, and shroud are missing. Could anyone tell me the model of this engine so I can look for parts?
Photos 11 -C and 11 -D show an engine with a Briggs flywheel, but nothing else looks like any Briggs I ever saw. It is head' less with a cage on top of the jug that covers an atmospheric intake valve. The Tillotson carb also fits into the cage. The paint on this engine is close to John Deere green. The frame looks like it may have bolted to a garden tractor or a tiller. Could this possibly be a motor wheel? Any help will be appreciated. Larry Reed, 3611 LaChance Road, Lake City, MI 49651.
26/3/12 Unknown Garden Tractor Q. Can anyone identify the garden tractor shown in photos 12-B and 12-C? There are no plates or decals. Photo 12-A illustrates a magnet charger I recently acquired. It was made by E.S. Cowie Electric Co., Kansas City, USA. Each coil is 5 inches wide and 4? inches high. Can anyone tell me anything about this unit? By the way, it works fine! Paul G. Lee, 12605 Brookstone Ct., Poway, CA 92064.
A. We would guess the garden tractor to have been built somewhere in the late 1930's to late 1940's. The magnet charger is typical of those built in the 1930's. Bear in mind though, that while these chargers are sufficient for old-style steel magnets, they usually aren't big enough for late-style Alnico magnets. Fortunately though, Alnico magnets seldom need to be recharged unless they have been discharged through contact with other steel objects. Another important point is to place a keeper over the magnet poles whenever it is removed from the magneto. The keeper should be of dead soft iron.
26/3/13 Stover Engine Q. I recently acquired a 1 horsepower Stover engine, s/n V121209. It has a 3 x 4 inch bore and stroke. The engine was painted gray when I got it, but your paint listing in the December 1990 GEM indicates it to be red or green. Under the gray paint my engine was black. I thought my engine was 1920 vintage, but with the discovery of black paint, now I am not so sure. Any help will be appreciated. Bill Hash, PO Box 261, Peterstown, WV 24963.
A. Your engine was built in 1919. Stover used a blackish green, or greenish black if you prefer, during the transition from red to Brewster green. This occurred about the same time that your engine was built, and in fact, there is no clear cut line of demarcation between engines painted red, the greenish black, and the final Brewster green color. Apparently, all this happened in the 1918-20 period, but the Stover records are certainly indefinite on this point.