A Brief Word
The other day we got some information from the Gemini Engine Company at Corpus Christi, Texas. In 1978, Gas Compressors Inc., of Corpus Christi bought the Witte D120 and G260 engine models from Lister-Petter at Olathe, Kansas. The name was changed to Gemini, and these engines have been in production ever since. Gemini also uses the same engine block in building their natural gas compressors. The engines are used to power the gas compressors, oilwell pump jacks, and electric generators. Recently, the General Manager of Gemini acquired a Witte Model AD diesel engine. This engine is said to have been one of the sets used by Admiral Richard Byrd on his Polar Expedition of 1939. The engine was owned by Lister up to 1968. Mr. John Smidl, who owned Witte in the 1960's, remembers this engine being on display in the lobby of U.S. Steel during their ownership of the Witte factory.
We have heard of or have seen some references to the use of Witte diesels in Byrd's Polar Expedition. However, we have been unable to locate anything in this regard. If anyone can be of help, kindly let us know, or direct your response to: Mr. B. Charles Ulrich, General Manager, Gemini Engine Company, P.O. Box 9258, Corpus Christi, TX 78469.
See photos FPE7-9 and FPE7-12 illustrating the Hockett tractor. These illustrations are from an 1896 issue of Farm Machinery. Back in 1893, J. A. Hockett and others decided to form the Gasoline Thresher & Plow Company at Sterling, Kansas. It is said that the company folded after about three years, so these illustrations of the 1896 model might well show the last of the breed. Relatively little information has come to light on this early tractor, but of course, the Hockett had its day in the sun nearly a century ago. An earlier model of the Hockett tractor appears on page 142 of Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors. Should any of our readers have further information on this company, we will be glad to hear from you. Back in the January 1991 issue, one of our readers presented what he believed to be the correct formula for calculating gas engine horsepower, and stating that a formula presented ten years ago in GEM was in error. That brought a terse response from another reader who claimed that the original formula was correct, and that the newly presented one was, in fact, wrong! Ye olde Reflector caught a substantial amount of flak as well, for 'publishing faulty information.'
Readers, please understand that, except for our answers to questions and our beginning and closing editorials, what you read in this column is essentially what's writ to us by our readers. We try to screen out obvious errors or typos, but we do not even try to check out each and every comment for mathematical or historical accuracy. For example, we often get requests for serial number or paint color information. Where possible, we answer these questions to the best of our ability. However, we all have to realize that much of this information is not based on written historical data, but from lists that might themselves be in error (and there are numerous examples). Considerable other information is based on the observations of numerous readers, and thus is considered to be reasonably accurate.
Ye olde Reflector would greatly prefer that if a glaring error is detected, that you write us and let us know. However, we would also ask that you contact the writer of the alleged error. Who knows, maybe the villain will be the prince? After all, we all share the commonality of wanting to preserve and advance the world's greatest hobby. Thus, we sincerely doubt that anyone is in the business of promoting inaccurate information, or in a worst case scenario, wholesale quantities of bovine scatology. Ye olde Reflector plays a very small role, in the overall picture of Gas Engine Magazine. Yet, we are happy to serve as an 'information broker' whereby we might all benefit. So, we ask all of our readers to be patient with each other. If ye olde Reflector or one of our readers makes a mistake, why not write to the writer and explain to him the error?
While we're on the subject of calculating horsepower, it should be borne in mind that there are indeed several different formulas for same. Bear in mind also that these are empirical formulae that do not account for such things as various fuels, the type of manifold, the car-buretion, ring drag and other friction factors, ambient air temperature, and numerous other variables.
On four main factors does the horsepower of an engine depend: 1) The average or mean effective pressure (M.E.P.); 2) area of the piston; 3) Number of times this pressure is exerted upon the piston per minute; 4) length of the piston stroke. By calculation of these factors the Indicated Horsepower can be determined. Power delivered to the belt is known as brake horsepower. The ratio of brake horsepower to indicated horsepower is known as the mechanical efficiency of the engine. Actual engine testing involves far more than a simple Prony brake test; other factors include air temperature, barometric pressure, jacket losses, and more.
Now to the bottom line. We always regret it when ANY of our readers become upset about a comment or letter in the 'Reflections' column. We would much prefer that this column be received as a clearinghouse for information about engines, tractors, and other equipment. But also recognize that we usually print what is writ to us, except of course for agitative commentary and glaring errors. We fix the typos and the bad grammatical usage. We oftentimes edit so as to clarify the writer's intent, and to conserve space. Beyond that, we ain't the editor, we ain't the publisher, and we ain't got that degree of omniscience as to give us all the correct answers all the time in all the right ways to all the right people.
A tremendous vote of thanks to Glen Schueler at Friona, Texas for sending us a big stack of copy material on the Splitdorf, FBM, and other magnetos. Much of the application data will be incorporated into our forthcoming pocket book of engine and tractor information. Also, our thanks to many other readers who have sent us application data, paint colors, and other info in the past weeks and months.
And now, on to this month's inquiries-
26/5/1 Oshkosh Engine Q. See the two photographs of an Oshkosh two-cycle engine of about 3 horsepower. Has any new information appeared on this make of engine? The gas tank arrangement looks to be a factory job. Also, the original paint seems to be close to an Oxblood Red. Dennis Price, 2156 Shawnee Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80916.
A. We've never found much on the Oshkosh engines. Although ye olde Reflector has not been a great fan of two-cycle engines, we have always been fascinated with the Oshkosh because of its unusually heavy design and its unique construction. If anyone has information on the Oshkosh, please contact Dennis at the above address.
26/5/2 Waterloo Boy Q. See the photo of a 1? horsepower Waterloo Boy, s/n 54727 supplied by Lunt-Moss Company of Boston. Can anyone supply the correct color information for its restoration? Bruce Waterworth, P.O. Box 514, Pittsfield, VT05762.
A. Your original color photo submitted to us indicates a very dark green, perhaps a dark bluish-green would be more accurate. Sherwin-Williams shows F-1-G-622, which might be comparable.
26/5/3 Minneapolis-Moline Q. What is the year built of a Minneapolis' Moline Model EE tractor, s/n 407783? It has the M-M side-mount mower. I also have a very sick Model CC Case, s/n C-357335. What is the year built? Stan and David Cross, RR 1, Lamar, NE 69035.
A. Minneapolis-Moline serial numbers are very confusing. There are several existing lists, and extensive disagreement among them are evident. May we refer you to Mr. Roger Mohr at Vail, Iowa. He may be able to supply the M-M information you need. The Case CC is a 1930 model.
26/5/4 Unidentified Engines Q. Photo 4-A shows an engine with B-916 on the block. There is no nameplate. The engine in 4-B has no writing on the plate, but each part is marked with a '4N' prefix. Photo 4-C is a Fairbanks-Morse 9 HP, Z model. However, the nameplate is damaged, and I cannot find the serial number. Any information will be appreciated. Raymond B. Gochnauer, RR 1, Box 339, Warrensville, NC 28693.
A. We're not absolutely certain on 4-A; the engine in 4-B looks like it was built by Hercules; and the 4-C should have the number stamped either on the end of the crankshaft or somewhere on top of the cylinder, probably near the head. It could possibly be on a raised boss somewhere on the top of the engine.
26/5/5 Jaeger Mixer Q. I recently purchased a Jaeger concrete mixer, s/n 314825. The name plate on the engine reads 30337 3? E. Can you supply any information? F.W. Nicholas, P.O. Box 37094, Phoenix, AZ 85069.
A. From the Glenn Karch book, A History of Hercules, we would judge your engine to have been built by Hercules about 1924.
26/5/6 Case Serial Numbers Etc. Q. Why do you cater more to gas engines than to tractors? Also, on question 26/2/23 you set out a rule for determining the age from the 7-digit serial numbers. Could you explain this further? John J. Freund, N. 10327 St. Paul's Road, Malone, WI 53049.
A. Rather than catering, it's more of an action-reaction situation. It seems that we get a lot more letters regarding engines than we do on tractors. We're not sure why, but we assure you that GEM welcomes any letters from tractor collectors.
Regarding the Case tractor serial numbers, it works like this:
Six digit numbers: Use the first and fourth digit of the s/n and subtract three to determine the production year. An example is 318377: 33 - 3 = 1930.
Seven digit numbers (including 5700000 numbers): Subtract four from the first two digits of the s/n.
26/5/7 Thanks! A special Thank You to Marvin L. Lowe at Riverside, California for sending us some photos of the early Toro tractors. If we're able to put some information with them, we'll try to develop an article around these interesting pictures. Also, our thanks to Bob Dillon at Andover, Minnesota for sending along some information on the Onan engines and generators.
26/5/8 Unidentified Engine Q. See the two photographs of an unidentified engine. Many of the parts look like Waterloo Boy, but very few have any numbers. The number C27A is stamped on the rocker arm bracket. The igniter fits in a tapered hole. Could this be an Anicer engine built by George B. Miller at Waterloo, Iowa? Harlin E. Young, 102 Nasinus Road, Anamosa, IA 52205.
A. We have the remnants of a George B. Miller catalog, and suggest this to be a real possibility. Have you checked the number cast on the Webster magneto bracket against the listing? More than once, the number of the Webster bracket has been useful in identifying the engine. If you don't have the list, send us the number and we'll try to crossmatch it.
26/5/9 Brown & Cochran Q. Can anyone tell me the proper colors for the Brown & Cochran engines? Rich Howard, Hysham, MT 59038.
A. The B&C engines are rather scarce, but perhaps some of our readers have seen one, or have a catalog illustration of this engine. If you can help, please do so.
26/5/10 Petter Engine Q. I recently acquired a 1? HP Petter Patent oil engine, upright, 2-cycle, hopper cooled, 'Rugby'. It was made in Yeovil, England. Any information will be appreciated. Ray Bennett, 159 Sycamore Drive, DeBary, FL 32713.
A. Here's one that perhaps some of our English cousins might be able to shed some light on.
26/5/11 Fairbanks-Morse Q. I have an old Fairbanks-Morse engine but the only numbers I can find are Disp (lacement) 62; RPM 800. Can anyone help identify this engine so that I can then look for further information? Willard D. Brown Sr., 1529 Mayo Dr., Defiance, OH 43512.
A. If you could send us a Polaroid or other photo of your engine, perhaps we can be of help.
26/5/12 Deere Model L Tractor Q. I'm restoring a Deere Model L, s/n 625174. Since the styled serial numbers start at 625000, could this be the 174th styled Model L built? I was told it was built in 1938 and sold as a 1939 model. Also would a toolbox bolted to the propeller shaft guard be original? It is 14? inches long, 4 ? inches wide, and 3? inches deep. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Charlie McDermott, 2782 Jimtown Road, Cuba City, WI 53807.
A. We would guess that the above tractor could indeed be the 174th one that was built. It should be remembered, though, that manufacturers sometimes issued blocks of numbers, but that not all the numbers of that block were used. Regarding the originality of the toolbox, we're not sure.
26/5/13 Silver King Tractor Q. I haw a Silver King, 3-wheel model, s/n 776. It uses the Hercules IXB engine.
Any idea of the year made? Also, I am working on a Case CC tractor. Does anyone have the correct color number of the blue-gray color used? I am also looking for a picture of, or decal for, the Silver King hood lettering. John Boczanowski Jr., 7 Alder St., Medway, MA 02053.
A. The Silver King was built in 1935. We understand that Case Gray is available from Case-IH dealers. We also have a DuPont number of 24938 and a Ditzler number of 32984. However, we have not seen these, so we can't tell you if they are the right shade.
26/5/14 IHC Titan Engine Q. I recently acquired a 2? HP Titan engine. What is the color? What is the year, and is it similar to other IHC engines of the same period? The number is GA13953. Also, I need the skid dimensions for a 1? HP IHC Type M engine. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Marvin Bourgeau, 520 Hillcrest St., Coquitlam, BC V3J 6N5 Canada.
A. Your engine was built in 1916. Some were entirely red, while others were red with olive green flywheels (DuPont 93-29609-H Olive Green). Ordinarily these engines were built with battery ignition, but magneto ignition was available, either from the factory, or as a field-installed option. Some of the GEM advertisers have an instruction manual (reprint) for this engine.
26/5/15 Sears Handiman Tractor Q. See the photo of a Sears Handiman R.T. tractor. Can anyone help me with more information on this tractor and the history of the company of that time, 1939-40-41? Also, is there a parts source for these tractors? Jack Harrell, P.O. Box 142, Roanoke, IN 46783.
A. We can't tell you anything about the Handiman, but perhaps our readers can be of help.