Within our personal collection of books is an extensive run of
American Machinist, plus a run of Machinery, plus numerous other
books on machine work. It’s always been amazing to us that the
machinists of a century ago could build some of the unique machines
of the time, given the machine tools they had to work with. At the
outset, we’re not denigrating the electronic marvels of our
time, including the special applications to lathes, milling
machines, and other equipment. What we’re saying is that we
wonder what kind of wonderful things our forbearers might have
built if they had had access to some of the equipment we have
For instance, take the side shaft engine design. Even today,
there are few machinists who will tackle the cutting of spiral
gears. Yet, the majority of side shaft engines used them. In fact,
they were usually made of about the same diameter, gaining the
cam-speed reduction by changing the helix angle of the two gears.
Yet, this idea was used extensively in the gas engine business.
Crankshafts were another item. Initially, there weren’t any
companies specializing in crankshafts, so it was up to the designer
to build his own. More often than not it was cut from a solid
piece. The steel billet was perforated with dozens of holes and
then roughed out with a hacksaw. Others used a built-up crankshaft,
and a few bent it in the forge! How times have changed! About the
only folks building engines nowadays are the model makers, except
of course, for the mass-produced engines.
Even more amazing are the ignition systems used in days of yore.
Of all things, the hot tube system was immensely popular for a
time. Compared to the state of the art electric ignition of the
1890s and later, hot tube ignition was cheap, it was simple, and it
was reliable. Probably its greatest disadvantage was the occasional
rupture of the tube. Yet, the early engine builders were able to
successfully overcome these problems and provide customers with a
simple and reliable form of power.
When doing lathe work, ye olden Reflector much prefers to use
carbide bits: they cut faster, and leave a nice finish. Yet, the
machinist of a century back didn’t have carbide, and in fact,
had little more than some tool steel which had to be forged,
tempered, and ground in the shop…there wasn’t much in the way
of off-the-shelf lathe tooling a century ago. This alone, makes the
talent of the old-time machinist all the more amazing. When we
preserve some old-time engine with swinging arms, revolving shafts,
and a fancy governor, we’re not just preserving some old
castings. . .we’re paying constant tribute to those wonderful
It looks as if the plans are set for the Gas Engine Extravaganza
in England this summer. If you’re planning to go, send in the
forms at your earliest convenience. If you don’t have the
forms, contact the GEM offices and they’ll send out the
itinerary and other materials. We’re looking forward to seeing
many of you on the tour! Don’t procrastinate too long
though…Wade Farm Tours will need to know how many are going by
mid-April, and the hourglass is running out of sand!
Our queries this month begin with:
28/3/1 Duro Engine Sometime back, William F.
Derouchie sent us some photos of a Duro engine, but it’s
missing the ignition system. If you can be of help, contact him at
24349 Beech Rd., Southfield, MI 48034-
28/3/2 Union Gas Engine Ron Kershaw, 22 Gundulu
Place, Giralang, ACT 2617 Australia forwarded some photos of a
Union gas engine in Australia. It is No. 2444. It has the following
dimensions; 5? x 5? inch bore and stroke, and 28-inch flywheels.
Ron would like to know more about this engine, so if you can help,
please contact him at the above address.
28/3/3 Sun-Power Engines Q. I have a MacLeod
engine which is quite similar to the Sun-Power engine shown in
American Gas Engines. Did Sun-Power make these engines under
contractor with MacLeod? Any information will be appreciated.
Mickey Zwack, RR 5, Site 16, Box 16, Prince Albert, SASK, S6V 5R3
28/3/4 Standard Motor Company The city of
Kokomo, Indiana has a long association with engine and automobile
manufacturing. Companies such as Adperson, Haynes, Delco, Kingston,
Chrysler, and Satellite have operated in the city. From Kokomo: A
Pictorial History, I recently learned the Standard Motor Company
manufactured small gasoline engines at 912 North Main Street in the
city before 1904. I grew up in Kokomo and would like to have an
engine that was made there. Can anyone help identify and/or locate
one? Richard Haskett, 2139 Violet Lane, New Brighton, MN 55112.
28/3/5 Hedstrom Motor Q. See the photo of an
air-cooled engine made by Hendee Mfg. Company, Springfield, Mass.
It is a Hedstrom Motor, s/n WHO. Note the oil sight glass outside
the oil line and a pressure tank leading into the base, also a
bevel gear off the camshaft. Any information about this engine
would be very much appreciated, along with history, colors,
applications, and the like. Prince E. Stevens, RR 1, Box 1830,
Gardiner, ME 04345.
A. We think the Hedstrom was made for
automotive purposes, but have never found much either. Can anyone
28/3/6 Fairbanks-Morse In 26/6/16 of June 1991
we ran the following query, but unintentionally omitted the name of
the owner, Jim Osnes, 16420 Fillmore St., Brighton, CO 80601. If
you can be of help on this query, kindly get in touch with Mr.
Q. I have a 1923 FBM 1? HP Z engine, s/n 536505
with a drive gear on the sahft inside of the right hand flywheels
to run a pump jack that is bolted to the engine and pump head as
one unit. The right hand flywheel had additional casting numbers
B-3RJV-ZAJ3. AH other 1? HP flywheels I have seen only have ZAJ3.
Both flywheels look the same. The problem I have is trying to find
a gear to fit the magneto. I want to set it up as original. It has
a Fairbanks-Morse conversion kit to replace the old AB-33 magneto
with the newer FBM rotary magneto. It consists of a plate and a
gear. Casting No. ZAA2561 A2 is attached to the old AB-33 magneto
bracket and cam support. The special gear 33 TEETH Casting No.
ZAA2993 A is attached to the plate and is driven by the crank gear
with 24 5335h. The magneto runs off this spiral idler gear and not
the cam gear, as later engines do. Does anyone have an engine with
this conversion? I would like to find out the size and number of
teeth on the special magne to gear or load of the parts to make the
28/3/7 Hatz Diesel Engine Q. I recently
purchased a one-cylinder die-el engine made by Hatz of Germany.
Model E75 – 6, s/n 10084, built in 1964. There is another number,
166421310 that I don’t know what it is. Any information on this
engine or the manufacturer would be appreciated. Jerry Elliott,
8624 S.R. 87, Novelty, OH 44087.
28/3/8 C. S. Mersick & Co. Q. See the
photo of and engine with the following nameplate information: C. S.
Mersick & Co., New Haven, Conn. 1 HP, 600 rpm, s/n 84624.
Mersick was a supplier of industrial equipment. The engine is
identical to an Alamo Blue Line as shown on page 18 of American Gas
Engines, as well as the Rock Island on page 429 of the same book.
Any information on this engine will be appreciated. Wayne D.
Rowell, PO Box 6, Wilmington, VT 05363.
28/3/9 Humboldt Cutter Q. Can anyone provide
information on the Humboldt cutter shown in the photo? 1 especially
would like to know when and where it was built. The nameplate
reads: Silbaugh Mfg. Co., Humboldt, Iowa. Any help will be
appreciated. Charles Obermiller, Route 2, Box 330, Buckholts, TX
28/3/10 Unidentified Engine Q. See the two
photos of an unidentified engine. There is no name tag, nor are the
castings marked. The engine seems to be complete with the exception
of the pipe from the carburetor to the intake valve; also the
governor linkage is a puzzle. The engine appears to have been
painted black, with the cylinder painted silver. Any information
will be appreciated. Martin Pope, 2 Connacona Crescent,
Scarborough, ONT M1E 3P9 Canada.
A. See 28/3/1 above.
28/3/11 Fairbanks-Morse Q. I have a
Fairbanks-Morse 6 HP Z engine, s/n 216256. When was it built? Any
information will be appreciated. Carl DuMez, 242 – 3rd St., Cedar
Grove, WI 53013-0125.
A. Your engine was made in 1916.
28/3/12 Fageol Tractor Q. I was at the Brooks,
Oregon show in July 1992 and going through the front gate they were
watering this Fageol tractor. I was wondering where I could get
Fageol seeds so I could start growing Fageol Tractors! Buzz
Settler, 2436 Cherokee, Stock ton, CA 95205.
A. Now there’s a capital idea!
28/3/13 Fordson & M-M Comments Q. I’ve
noticed pictures and articles about attachments for the Fordson
tractors, but not much on the Ferguson plow. Photo 13A is a copy
from the February 1925 issue of Farm Mechanics. Also see Photo 13 B
of a Minneapolis-Moline Z I restored in 1992. Kenneth Helzer, RR 1,
Box 75, Graham, MO 64455.
28/3/14 Witte Questions Q. What is the year
built of a Witte engine, B17976. It is a 5 HP model with a Wico
magneto. Gerald E. McAchran, 1541 Fontana Drive, St. Louis, MO
A. Your engine was built in October 1924.