26/9/15 Moto-Mower Q. Here's a photo of a Moto-Mower I got this spring. I have it running, but restoration is still ahead. It is a Detroit Model, 27-inch machine, s/n 12548, made in Detroit, Michigan. Is anyone able to supply the build date on this engine, or the Briggs engine on it? The engine is a Model PB, s/n 27005. Also, my thanks to everyone who helped on an earlier inquiry on a tractor which appeared in the February 1991 GEM. Clif Williams, RR5, Box 244, Rye, CO 81069.
26/9/16 Sterling Marine Q. See the photo of an early Sterling Marine Engine, 40 HP, 5x7 inch bore and stroke. It is missing some parts, so I would like to hear from anyone who might have a complete engine or another parts engine. Edgar E. Wagner, 1918 Hillison Rd., Amboy, IL 61310.
26/9/17 Eclipse Hot Tube Q. I have an Eclipse hot tube engine built by Myrick Machine Co., Olean, NY, s/n 509, 450 rpm, 4 HP. I need to know the original colors of the engine, and would also like to know when this engine was built. Any help will be appreciated. Robert Bishop, RR 1, Box 164, Crothersville, IN 47229.
A. Except for telling you what you already know, that being that this is a very early engine, we can tell you little more. Anybody out there willing to try?
26/9/18 Finishing EnginesFrank Taylor, RR 2, Tamarack Rd., Whitewater, WI 53190 has sent us. a step-by-step procedure for sanding and finishing your engines. It is very informative, and may be helpful to you. While we're always reluctant to put someone in the position of having to do a lot of extra work, perhaps if you'll write Frank, enclosing a self-addressed and stamped envelope, plus something for the photocopier kitty, he'll send you a copy.
26/9/19 Information Needed Q. Can anyone tell me the years for the following engines:
Waterloo Boy 6 HP, s/n 37326
Waterloo Boy 2 HP, Style K, s/n 208188
Waterloo Boy 2 HP, Style H, s/n 226419
Fairbanks-Morse 1 ? HP, Style D, s/n 784569
New Idea 1?-3 HP, s/n AH1390.
Any information will be appreciated. Kenneth David, RR 1, Box 107, Farmersburg, IA 52047.
A. We can tell you that the FBM engine was built in 1935. So far as we know, no serial number information exists on any of the other engines of your query.
26/9/20 FBM Hoisting Engine Q. This Fairbanks-Morse engine looks like the picture on page 159 of American Gas Engines. The engine is about 5 or 6 horsepower, but the nameplate is gone, as are some other parts. I would like to correspond with anyone with one of these engines so that I might restore it. Any help will be appreciated. I also have an Alpha engine as illustrated on page 122 of the above book. It looks to have been an olive drab color. Would this be about right? David C. Nester, 5465 Chena Hot Sprgs Rd., Fairbanks, Alaska 99712.
A. If anyone can help on the hoisting engine, please contact Mr. Nester. The color of the Alpha as described, we would guess to be about right.
26/9/21 Unidentified Q. See the two photos submitted for inquiry. This cast engine is two cylinders, two-stroke design, and apparently minus the flywheel and/or propeller. Also, the ignition apparatus appears to be missing. If anyone can provide any information on this engine, please contact: Frank J. Burris, 1102 Box Canyon Road, Fallbrook, CA 92028.
A. Could this engine be of WW 2 vintage? We've never seen anything like this one before.
26/9/22 Cement Mixer Etc. Q. See the two photos of a Lansing mixer and the engine that operates it. It is said to have been used during construction of the overseas highway to Key West, Florida. DuPont Paint Co. at Jacksonville, FL, matched the paint and came up with DuPont Green No. 4932D, called Box Wood Green. Photo 22-B shows the engine used on this mixer. However, we haven't identified it. This engine has a 41/8x4 inch bore and stroke and 20 inch flywheels. Any information will be appreciated. Photo 22-C shows an Invincible corn sheller. We have the colors etc. for the sheller, but would like to know who made it.
Also, in the August 1990 GEM you mentioned the use of DuPont 49920-H Crimson as the original IHC Red. We checked this against an IHC Grist Mill, and the paint matches perfectly! S. A. Spencer III, 1285-A Lovett Rd., Orange Park, FL 32073.
A. Several references have been made to the Lansing Company in back issues of GEM. They were well known for their cement mixers. The Invincible corn sheller was built by Keystone Farm Machine Co., York, Pennsylvania. We also should add that we believe that the above cited DuPont color is more than likely a close match, or perhaps a perfect match, for the early IHC Red. Just when this changed, we don't know, but we would hazard a guess that the 49920-H Crimson was in effect until IH decided to paint their tractors red, and at that time they adopted the well-known IH Red as the standard bearer.
26/9/23 Red River Special Q. Can you give me the year built for an Oliver Red River Special Thresher, s/n 52690? Was this machine built at Charles City, Iowa? Is there a source for the decals? Dave Brink, RR 1, Box 159, Bronson, IA 51007.
A. This thresher was built in 1945, and all thresher production ended in 1948. All threshers were built at Battle Creek, Michigan, in the old Nichols & Shepard plant. We have seen the N & S decals with the green background, but not the ones with the red background. Perhaps someone has made them up. If you know of a source, contact Mr. Brink.
Empire Tractor Prince E. Stevens, RR 1, Box 1830, Gardiner, Maine 04345 writes that he has located a total of eleven Empire tractors so far, and up to the time of his inquiry in the June, 1991 GEM, he had never heard of another Empire, except for his own copy. Possibly the Empire owners might even bring their tractors to a show in 1992.
Banner EngineRobert J. Kubisch, 2111 Gilbride Rd., Martinsville, NJ 08836 writes that he has had some input regarding his query on the Banner engines. Apparently, this engine originated with the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company, Waterloo, Iowa. However, it was sold as the Banner by Banner Engine Co., Lansing, Michigan.
26/6/9 New Old Style EnginesIn response to the above, I recently discovered that Lunenburg Foundry Co. in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia is still making engines on a special order basis. So writes John Fielding, 37 Ledminster Rd., Princeton, MA 01541. Their 3 HP, single cylinder model with a 4 inch bore and stroke retails at $2,020, while the 14 horsepower two cylinder model with a 51/8 x 51/2 inch bore and stroke sells for $5,220. So, there is still someone building 'old-style' engines.
26/9/49 & 49-A Standard Etc. On page 30 of the April 1991 GEM, photo 49A text for photo 49 is about the Standard marine engine. Do you have any information on what appears to be a motorized cultivator or garden tractor in 26/4/49-A? It appears similar to the Little Farmer cultivator we have. I don't have much information on it though. It was made by Will-Burt Co., Orrville, Ohio. Kenneth and Verna Doerr, 6003 J Rd., Waterloo, IL 62298.
Eds. note: Our printer erred on the April issue, and put photos belonging on page 30 on 31 and vice versa. This should explain the confusion--if the captions remain where they are!
Repairing Cracks Some recent articles tell of different ways to weld and repair cracks and splits in cast iron. There is an easier way to repair some of the damage. It is simple with solder. Just grind it out real clean and fill with solder. It flows in smoothly and usually doesn't require any grinding to finish. This works on any cast iron, even large truck motor blocks. Pat Ince, PO Box 199, Frankford, MO 63441.
Spark Coil Capacitors The capacitor in the Model T and most other vibrating coils is about 0.5 microfarad. I use a 0.47 mfd 200 volt paper capacitor to replace them. The actual size is not critical. Most capacitors from older car ignition systems work well, although they are less than 0.5 mfd. If the coil will vibrate, but has a weak spark or no spark, you can test the capacitor by placing a good capacitor across the points. If this gives a good spark, the capacitor needs to be replaced. It is not necessary to refill the box with tar. Instead, hold the capacitor in place with fiberglass insulation between the coil and the capacitor. E. W. Hollier, RR 2, Box 508, Pearcy, AR 71964.
How Did You Get into Model Engine Building? The following are excerpts from a letter sent in by J. A. Blair, 415 Timothy Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23505. Also note the several photos sent in by Mr. Blair, illustrating new and old model engines, and even including some toy model electric motors.
My brother claims that as far back as he can remember, if something had a motor on it, I was interested in it. I will always remember by 14th birthday when my parents presented me with my first gasoline model airplane engine, a Brown Junior. As time progressed, I added more engines to my collection. At age 17, I went to work for General Electric as an apprentice tool and die maker. At age 18, I went on active duty in the US Navy, becoming an aircraft mechanic, and eventually, Chief Engineer on a 60,000 shaft h.p. steam turbine driven ship.
After retiring from the Navy, I became a Math Professor at a local college, and then became involved with antique cars. At a car show, I bought a Maytag, and thereby became involved with old iron.
I started building my own engines after attending the show at Luray, Virginia. After building several model steam engines, my confidence had risen to the point that I decided to build a hit-and-miss engine from scratch. I recommend that anyone starting in the model engine hobby, start by building an oscillating steam engine from a kit. You will have all the materials provided, the model will look good when finished, and there is a very high probability that it will run. Pick a simple single-cylinder model, because the main thing you need is success. As success feeds your ego, try more complex designs until you become a master at your new hobby.
A Closing Word
We were indeed happy to include Mr. Blair's letter and his advice on model engine building. Please keep his sagacity in mind when starting the model engine hobby. It can be very rewarding, but it can also be very challenging, to the point of utter frustration. See you next month!