Appreciating Steam and Gas Engines Alike

By Staff
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Appreciating gas engines by reading Gas Engine Magazine.

Reader Richard Carmell begins appreciating steam and gas engines alike.

As an old time steam engine man and subscriber to the “Album”, I did not know there was any other engine but steam around until the “G.E.M” came out! Since reading it I have become quite interested in the old time, cantankerous gas engine to the extent I have collected five of them. The nameplates are all intact on all but one engine and most of this particular plate is missing. It is about a hp with Webster oscillating magneto and the only legible printing on the name-plate was FIEL BRUNK – IELD TYPE – #24789 and have never been able to come up with the engine’s name. Since reading the letters of Messrs. Stan Read, T. H. Krueger and Otto Meyer in the January-February issue, I presume my 3 hp was built by the Field-Brundage Company but I cannot make out the same “Sattley, Hummer, or Montgomery Ward”. At least, I am glad to know this much about the engine’s manufacture — thanks to the above gentlemen.

I restored a little 1 hp Economy quite a few years ago which I still have. It was in almost hopeless condition but after restoring many little steam engines, I was not going to let a little old gas engine get me down. The bearings had to be repoured, many parts were gone or broken. The Webster mag was in small bits and pieces so I substituted a timer on the half speed gear and used a model T coil and plug. Also added a tiny plunger pump on the push rod that pumped gas to a little constant level tank (with overflow back to gas tank) on the hopper. Gasoline then flowed by gravity to a float carburetor with throttle. This will not appeal to the purist but this job was just a lark for me, and it runs fine. You can throttle her down so slow I don’t see how it makes it over compression sometimes. I also have a conventional 1 Economy with good mag and gas tank down below.

Which brings up another repair question that surely plagues those who rebuilt these sturdy little engines, and that is the best way to repair a cracked water jack (from freezing). I have a beautiful hp United engine that is in good shape except for such a crack, about 4 inches long on the very bottom of the jacket and into one side of a 1 foot pipe thread hole. Luckily there is no cylinder wall damage. I am wondering if any of the experienced readers have a positive and proven way to safely repair these cracks in cast iron. I have considered the so-called cold welding cast iron rod (but I am not much of a welder). Brazing would probably cause more havoc. Then there is the old cold patch where overlapping studs are tapped into the casting and peened over. Also, I suppose a plate and gasket could be bolted on in some cases and also the old powdered iron cement forced into a v’d out crack. I have been told the modern day epoxy material can be used since there is little pressure on the jacket. I am hoping someone will write in to the magazine (or to me) with a proven solution to this problem.

In closing, I want to say I sure enjoy both magazines. The gas engine bug is catching! Best of luck!

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines