1102 West River Road, Battle Creek, Michigan 49017
Attention Mr. Rod Hill, 625 Secor Ave., Forest City, Iowa. In
answer to your question in Jan-Feb. ’68GEM page 23 on the
‘Pine Tree Vacuum Engine’. These engines were made for the
Pine Tree Milking Machine Co. by the Sandwich Com-of Sandwich, Ill.
later the Company was merged with, or purchased by the New Idea
Spreader Co., Manufacturers of Manure spreaders, corn shredders and
pickers. Now all is part of the Avco Corp. The engine used a number
of model ‘T’ Ford parts, including pistons, rings
connecting rods, valves, valve springs, etc. Unless your engine has
been re-bored the cylinder diameter would be 3 and ?’ instead
of 3 and 7/8 as you mention. I had one of them for about a year,
about 1928 as I recall, but did not find it to be very
satisfactory. It was rated 2? HP, and no doubt would develop that.
I had it set up in milk-house and used it not only for milker but
also belted it to a pump jack, soon after belted flywheel to a car
generator for light’s in cow barn. The top of the crankcase was
not rigid enough to carry so much load and would spring alarmingly
every time it fired, was afraid it would break. Also had oiling
system troubles. The oil pump was of plunger type, and carbon would
get in check valves and then neither engine nor pump would get any
oil In order to clean out oiling system had to take top of
crankcase, cylinder etc. off, tear down vacuum line etc., as well
as retime camshaft. After doing this a few times decided to get rid
of it, so I traded it in on a McCormick-Deering Type ‘M’ 1?
HP which did the job for many years. The single flywheel was rather
light and the vacuum pump permantly connected to the crankshaft, so
it at times was difficult to start in cold weather.
The Pine Tree Milking Co. was bought out by Babson Bros, who in
the middle 20’s developed a suspension type of milker which was
named the ‘Surge Milker’ There have been several makes of
milker that have changed to this type in recent years including
DeLaval and Chore Boy. The original slogan of the Pine Tree Co. was
‘The Cow’s Adopted Child’.
In regard to starting troubles, I was using a regular grade of
gasoline at the time of a popular brand, and tried a high test
brand at the time known as Staroline, mfgd. by White Star Refining
Co. They must have folded up as I haven’t heard of them for
years. This was what they used to call a sour gasoline. It had a
rather foul odor, resembling fried onions, and after using it for a
couple of days the field man from the creamery called on me He
couldn’t understand where the odor in the milk I was selling
them came from. Well, Rod hope that answers your question.
I’m sending you a picture of myself operating a one man
cross cut saw. This I believe precedes the Ottawa and Witte. I
bought it from a long time friend of mine who is now one of the
senior citizens in the old home town. It was purchased new from the
Folding Sawing Machine Company of Chicago, more than 50 years ago.
It was said to be a man killer and was never used enough to wear
the paint off the handle and is still in near mint condition. On
trying it out I’d say it works easier than a regular two man
saw and seems to cut quite fast. One is in an erect position while
sawing, has the power of both arms as well as considerable form
body sway. I’d say it’s less tiresome to operate than a
It is adjustable and may be used for felling trees.
‘Attention Gottleib’ maybe we can start that lumber yard
Have any of you readers ever had any experience with one of
Let’s see the answers in GEM.
PS: In regard to the Pontiac Cross flow radiator, Page 26,
May-June 1967 GEM I have recently noticed that a similar set up is
in use on a Buick V-6 owned by one of my step daughters. So, I
guess that has not become entirely obsolete after all.
Also have recently noticed some of the later Fords also use
cross-flow radiators. However neither they nor the Buick seem to
use the upper part of radiator to condense vapor like the original
system on the older Pontiacs. Fairbanks-Morse at one time built a
lighting plant using this system. I’ve driven a Volkswagen for
several years and haven’t paid much attention to recent design
trends in American built cars.
Now I have a question: About 1930 Nash featured a ‘Twin
Ignition’ system using two spark plugs in each cylinder of
their cars, making great claims for it. They said that the mixture
fired quicker giving more complete combustion, and due to the flame
travel being shortened that the spark did not need to be advanced
as far as usual. I don’t believe any thing of the sort is being
used any more. Why was this discontinued? The Ethyl Gasoline claims
were that using Ethyl gasoline the speed of combustion was slowed
down giving an action more like steam power, and the spark could be
advanced further, giving in effect a longer power stroke. If either
one was right, the other must have been wrong. Can anyone answer