REFLECTIONS

A Brief Word


| October/November 1992



unidentified engine

27/10/2B

Ron Larson

We're unable to give any details as yet, but we're optimistic about a 1993 engine tour in England. So far, we've received a substantial number of responses, but on the other hand, we've not yet been able to determine anything about exact dates, and other details. We'll be working at this in the coming weeks and months, and as soon as possible, we'll present further details. In the meantime, if you're interested, be sure to send in your response. Chances are that the tour will be limited to 50 or 60 people. Getting the tour too large makes it nearly impossible to handle from the logistical standpoint. This will probably be our last request for your response. If interested in a 1993 engine tour of England, drop us a line at: Tour Survey, Gas Engine Magazine, PO Box 328, Lancaster, PA 17603.

From time to time, people ask us why we talk about diesel engines, power house engines, and other internal combustion types outside of the ordinary farm engine. There are several reasons we suppose, and we'll attempt to explain our position:

First of all, the so-called farm engines actually made up a rather small portion of overall gas engine output in the half century ending with 1940. In terms of total horsepower, there's no doubt that more engines were sold for commercial and industrial duty than for farm duty. Curiously, Fairbanks, Morse & Company stands alone as the major builder of both the farm engines and the large gas, gasoline, and diesel engines. Comparing only the farm engines, it appears that International Harvester was probably the greatest competitor to the Fairbanks-Morse gas engine line. Stover, Witte, and Galloway built substantial numbers, as did John Deere. However, for sheer numbers, it appears that the Fairbanks-Morse line stands at the top of the heap, with International Harvester being perhaps nearly equal. Exact numbers are now impossible to obtain, but given a review of the various models and sizes, we believe that Fairbanks and IHC were probably neck-and-neck.

Yet, the farm engines were but a part of the overall development of gas, gasoline, and diesel engines. The development of the automotive engine, multiple-cylinder tractor engines, and aircraft engines are each of vital importance. Development of the diesel engine design is yet another important step, and virtually tons of books, magazines, theses, and papers have been written on the various aspects of all. In fact, the technical literature for the farm engines is in short supply, compared to that for engines of other types. Yet another factor is the simple fact that the farm engines which we so avidly collect really existed for only about a half century.

In the opinion of ye olde Reflector, maintaining and preserving the heritage of early engine development is paramount, particularly as applied to the so-called farm engines. Yet, we also feel a definite need to preserve the heritage which has come down to us regarding those other types . . . those large engines in which a single piston and rod weighs nearly half a ton . . . and those very large engines with dimensions that defy an honest description.

The point is that we try to maintain some sort of balance in what we bring to you each month. We've had several articles on the Brons engines, which here in the U. S. are called Hvid engines, and which are typified by the Thermoil, and others of its class. Some of you are excited by these engines, while many of you have little interest in them. The same could be said for many other categories-Maytag compared to Mogul, hit-and-miss compared to throttling governors, or Stickney compared to Sattley. All have their protagonists, and all have their detractors. That's the interesting part of our hobby-there are lids to fit every jar! And, we'll try to bring you new and different jars every month!