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
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
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
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
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
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
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.