Reflections

Looking for Clues to Unknown Engines


| November/December 2001



Water Ram

36/11/8

A Brief Word

At the recent Old Threshers Reunion at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa we met the new GEM editor, Richard Backus. We spent an enjoyable day together, and we're confident that Richard will be doing a nice job for us. You will also notice some changes to GEM, although they will be conservative, and aimed primarily at making the magazine easier to read. Richard tells us (we're stealing his thunder) that in the next few months the classified section will be revamped with sections dealing with various aspects. That way we won't have to scan the entire want ad section looking, say, for lubricators.

We also met several of Richard's colleagues at Ogden Publications and admire all of them for their enthusiasm and insight. We're sure you'll be hearing more about the various aspects of the new publisher within the next few months. Meanwhile, we urge you to support our new editors and hope you'll give them a chance to strut their stuff as they endeavor to reinvigorate the magazine. Oh yes, ye olde Reflector plans to keep up with the Reflections column in the foreseeable future.

This year marks the first time in nearly 40 years that the Reflector didn't setup a book and merchandise stand at the Old Threshers Show! Despite cautions that we would be bored to death, it was actually quite a pleasant experience to play with engines, visit with literally hundreds of different folks, and have the chance for an occasional break during the day. Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

We're also planning our upcoming Germany/Switzerland Tour. As this issue of GEM goes to press, we don't have the final itinerary, but hope to take care of this in a couple of weeks. Plans are for the tour to fly from Chicago to Zurich and from Frankfurt to Chicago, leaving in early July. It will be 16 days, including air time, or about 14 days on foreign soil. We're trying to incorporate a rally or two into our schedule, but it is a bit early to have the 2002 rally dates. However, we plan to start our tour in Zurich, spending a few days in Switzerland. Then it is on to Germany where we have assembled what we call 'the best of the best' in museums, private collections, and a bit of culture as well.

A number of good friends in Germany are working on details of the tour. As with our tour to Australia, the 2002 Germany tour will be limited to 40 people, and per our advertisement, reservations will be made in the order received. Oh yes, and the usual question is whether we'll see some 'iron' every day? Yep, there will be some iron almost every day, with the Deutsches Museum in Munich being one of the highlights. We read somewhere that if you spent one minute looking at each exhibit in this huge complex, it would take something like 18 years to see everything.

Ye olde Reflector is still actively collecting diesel and oil engines, and has just acquired a Bamford vertical diesel, as well as a Lister diesel. The latter is fairly common, but is a nice running engine. The Bamford is a four-cycle but has no cams. The valves are operated by a peculiar and unique pushrod coming from the depths of the crankcase. Through a linkage system on the side of the cylinder head, this single rod operates both valves. Perhaps we can provide further details in a coming issue. We now have a fair number of diesel and oil engines, with a favorite being our single-cylinder Junkers made in Germany back in 1933. But then, we also have a couple of IHC Mogul engines, which stand at the top of the heap in our estimation, as among the finest engines ever built (we'll probably hear some rebuttals to that statement).