Answers To Spectators' Questions


| June/July 1990



20201 Arthur Road, Big Rapids, Ml 49307

Q. When did gasoline engines first come into use, and what period of time utilized the old 'one lungers?'

A. Although experimented with for a century before this, they were introduced as a potential source of energy and power around 1880. At the turn of the century, they became very popular. During the period of time between 1900 and the late 1930's, there were approximately 2,000 companies advertising engines for sale. Gasoline engines were competing with steam engines for tractive power until about 1920, then gasoline engines took over. In the late 1920's, high speed multiple cylinder light weight engines made the old cast iron engines less desirable.

Q. What size engines in terms of horsepower were available in these old engines.?

A. All of the companies, including about 2,000 trade names, advertised engines of various sizes. The most popular were 1 1/2 to 10 h.p. at a rated speed of approximately 450 rpm. However, many models producing 40 horsepower and more were built. During the 1920's, some manufacturers built multiple cylinder engines of over 1,400 horsepower.

Q. Why were gasoline engines so popular when electric motors were available during this time?