Courtesy of Keith Oderkirk, R.D. 1, Box 1510, Haines City, Florida 33844. 1908 Sears.
3904-47th Avenue, S., Seattle, Washington 98118
It is most gratifying to receive so many very interesting letters from GEM readers and I want to thank each one again for sending me historical information to assist me in preparing these articles about gasoline engines and the manufacturers.
As we come down to the end of this story, it may be helpful to engine collectors to make mention of the engine builders who were active in the early part of this century, but whose products were not so well advertised or distributed as the well known manufacturers whose stories we have covered.
Some of these builders were located in various states as found in the following short sketches of their products.
Ellis Engine Company of Detroit, Michigan, built vertical single cylinder stationary engines in ratings from 3 to 12 hp.
Detroit Engine Works of the same city, built engines in 1913 under the advertised name of the amazing 'Detroit' Gasoline Engine. It was made in sizes of 2 to 20 hp. vertical 2 cycle machines.
Gray Motor Company of Detroit, built in 1910 a line of engines from 3 to 20 hp. The 4 hp. unit was fitted with a jack shaft to reduce the speed.
These autos are all owned and restored by Mr. Oderkirk. Show will be held March 11, 12, and 13, 1971.
The Thrall Motor Company of Detroit built in 1915 marine engines in sizes of 3 to 12 hp.
In 1910 the Great Douglas Farm 2 cycle engine was built by the New Belle Isle Motor Company of Detroit.
From an ad in the January 17, 1903, issue of Colliers Weekly Magazine, the Wolverine Motor Works of Grand Rapids, Michigan, offered for sale stationary and marine engines. They built 2 and 4 cycle machines for stationary and marine applications. Horizontal engines were made in sizes from 1 to 6 hp. and a vertical 2 cylinder marine engine rated at 12 hp. with electric ignition and complete with built-in water circulating pump and reverse gear.
Few engine manufacturers have been listed in the southern states, however one was advertised which was made by White-Blakeslee Company of Birmingham, Alabama. These were 4 cycle machines built in both vertical and horizontal types. The smaller vertical units ranged in sizes from 1 to 6 hp. They were open crankcase with water-cooled cylinder and head. The mechanical exhaust valve was located in the head with an automatic intake valve and a make and break igniter. The flywheel type governor controlled the hit and miss mechanism. The mixing valve located by the head was arranged to be supplied from a fuel pump and with an overflow back to the main fuel tank. Horizontal engines were built in ratings from 8 to 36 hp.
Root and Vandervoort Engineering Company of Moline, Iowa, also built both horizontal and vertical 4 cycle engines. The horizontal design was a well built heavy duty machine with heavy cast iron double flywheels. The flywheel governor and valves were operated by a lay shaft along side the cylinder. The make and break igniter was located in the cylinder head and a mixing valve was supplied from a fuel pump. Their vertical engines were of the standard design with the valves and igniter located in the cylinder head. Cam shaft operated outside the closed crankcase and the flywheel governor controlled the hit and miss ignition system.
One of the other engine manufacturers to make use of water in the combustion chamber was the Metz-Weiss Company of New York. These engines were 2 cycle and of a semi-diesel or low combustion pressure type of hot tube engine. They were started with a blow torch heating up the hollow ball extension of the combustion chamber. The fuel was injected into the cylinder and a small amount of water was taken in the cylinder on each stroke from a small reservoir. Besides the horizontal stationary engines, this company produced in later years, marine engines of various ratings complete with reverse gears and auxiliary marine equipment.
Few early gas engines were built on the Pacific Coast but one company has a long manufacturing record of supplying stationary and marine engines and in the later years, diesel engines in a big range of ratings. The Union Diesel Engine Company of San Francisco and Oakland, California, started building gasoline engines in 1885. They were inventors and held patents on the electric make and break igniter, as well as their own design of the early mixing valve, which employed the principle of the float type carburetor. The design of their first engines were original and a departure from the vertical engines with the closed crankcase. The vertical cylinders were supported by stanchions leaving the case entirely open.
Advance Gas Engine, about 1905, 6 hp. 350 RPM. Manufactured by George D. Pohl Co. of Vernon, New York.
Novo Gas Engine, Lansing, Michigan, 10 hp. 400 RPM.
Replica of 2 cylinder Advance Rumely. Built by J. W. Nipper, Warrenville, South Carolina.
All three engines are owned and restored by Mr. Oderkirk. His show will be held March 11, 12, and 13, 1971.
Their horizontal gasoline engines were built on a heavy cast iron base with double flywheels and a lay shaft operating from a gear on the crankshaft. A fly ball type governor was also driven from the lay shaft as well as the make and break igniter. The mixing valve had a float chamber to control the fuel to the air intake and the governor operated a valve similar to a butterfly valve on modern engines. These horizontal engines were built in ratings from 8 to 36 hp. and the vertical engines in sizes from 1 to 6 hp. Marine engines were available in 1, 2, 3 and 4 cylinder units. In later years this company built diesel engines in many sizes up to about 2500 hp. for both marine and stationary service.
Western Gas Engine Company of Seattle, Washington, in the years when the fisherman first used engine power in their boats, offered a complete line of marine engines with ratings from 10 to 135 hp. These engines were open crank-case of the vertical type with overhead valves, Schebler carburetors. They were 4 cycle and built in cylinder sizes from 5?' to 13?' bore and in 2, 3 and 4 cylinder units.
Several other builders with long continuous records of production on the Pacific Coast were the Atlas Imperial Diesel Engine Company of Oakland, California; The Enterprise Engine Corporation of San Francisco and the Washington Iron Works of Seattle, who built the Washington Estep Diesel Engines. As so many manufacturers with long years of progress, some of these companies started by building gasoline engines for marine and stationary power plants.
Not to confuse Fairbanks, Morse & Company with The Fairbanks Company of New York, the latter company marketed a general line of equipment. One of their products was the 'Bulldog' gasoline engine built in various sizes by various sizes by the Bates & Edmonds Motor Company of Lansing, Michigan.
From research done by Norman Mullings of Granby, Connecticut, in his hobby of restoring and looking for the old engine manufacturers in his state, he gives us the following information: The Bridgeport Machine and Motor Company manufactured 2 cycle marine engines from 1898 to 1940. About 1906 the company incorporated and changed the name to Bridgeport Machine Company. Some of the engines are owned by collectors in that vicinity.
Eagle Bicycle Company of Torrington, built both stationary and marine engines in sizes up to 200 hp. We have no details of this company's engine specifications.
Automatic Machine Company of Bridgeport built stationary and marine engines from 1899 to 1907. Fair-field Motor Company of Fairfield offered stationary and marine engines as early as 1901 and they were in business about six years.
The Gray and Prior Machine Company of Hartford, Connecticut, was one of the more active engine builders in this state. They started business in 1900 and continued for about 30 years. They began as a machine shop and by 1904 had developed a 2 cycle marine gasoline engine. It was a simple, sturdy, well-designed 2 cycle engine of the 2 port type with cast-on water jacket, vertical individual cylinder and with a water pump and an ingenious make and break igniter that had an adjustable advance and retard mechanism built into the igniter for speed control. The engine was further simplified by utilizing one eccentric to operate both the water pump and igniter. A Schebler carburetor was used for the fuel system. In the beginning these engines were built in two sizes, as follows:
WEIGHT IN LBS.
4' x 4?'
1 3/8' x 3?'
5' x 5?'
1 5/8' x 5'
A modification of these engines were offered for stationary use by mounting the engines on a cast iron sub-base and using two flywheels. A flyball governor was installed for speed control and a water circulating pump for cooling. The 3 hp. engine weighed 425 lbs. and sold for $135.00. The 5 hp. weighed 650 lbs. and sold for $195.00. Possibly competition had something to do with the variation in prices as compared with the marine units or the marine prices may have included such marine accessories as propeller shaft, stuffing box and propeller.
By 1920 they had improved and developed their engines and marketed them as Model X. These were also 2 cycle of the same general design and with the adjustable make and break igniter system. They continued to use this type of ignition, by stating in their catalog they considered the make and break ignition much more reliable in operation than the sparking plugs. At this time they offered the following ratings:
4' x 4?'
4' x 14'
5' x 5?'
4' x 16'
4' x 4?'
5' x 5?'
4' x 16'
Then about 1927 another improved model was brought out and by this time the spark plug had sufficiently proven its worth and dependability for them to use it instead of their original igniter system. A battery and coil was used with a distributor mounted on the engine for speed regulation. Mechanical force feed lubricators were installed on these models and dual carburetors on two cylinder units. A model designation was used for each size engine as follows:
BORE & STROKE
4' x 4?'
1 3/8' x 3?'
4?' x 4?'
1 3/8' x 3?'
5' x 5?'
1?' x 5'
4?' x 4?'
1 3/8' x 3?'
5' x 5?'
1?' x 5'
Prices were not given in this catalog.
This company built and offered for sale an outboard motor for boats in 1924-1928. It was sold under the name of the 'Hartford Sturdy Twin.' Later the rights for the manufacture of these outboards were sold to the Indian Motor Cycle Company and they produced the Indian Outboard engines until 1939.
The Gray and Prior Machine Company also built engines for Strelingor of Detroit. It was a 2 cycle vertical engine of the automotive type which was mounted with an electric generator for lighting plants. This engine was known as the Brush engine.
Other builders of engines on which we have only sketchy information includes The Star Manufacturing Company of Wabash, Indiana, who built horizontal hopper-cooled and closed cylinder 4 cycle engines in sizes from 1 to 25 hp. and a 2 hp. vertical engine.
Weber Gas and Gasoline Engine Company of Kansas City, Missouri, built a horizontal 4 cycle single cylinder engine in ratings from 4 to 100 hp. and vertical machines in small sizes. These engines were of the hot tube ignition type with gas flame for the firing source.
F. M. Watkins Manufacturing Company of Cincinnati built horizontal 4 cycle units in ratings from 2 to 25 hp. operating at 210 to 400 R.P.M.
Another popular engine about 1910 was the Palmer. Various advertisements for this line of engines gives different addresses for manufacturer. Mianus Electric Company of Mianus, Connecticut, is one address of the maker, while Palmer Motor Company of Coscob, Connecticut, is also listed in an old Scientific American Magazine of 1909.
Palmer engines were built in 2 and 4 cycle machines. It was an engine with a good reputation as marine engines, but it was also built for stationary service. Vertical 2 cycle marine engines with ratings of 11/2 to 6 hp. were available and another model in sizes from 1 to 20 hp. were made in 2 and 4 cylinder units. The 4 cycle engines were available in 3 to 50 hp. operating at 160 to 250 R.P.M.
Their general design was that of the era with carburetors and electrical ignition, built-in water circulating pumps on the marine engines and centrifugal governors on the stationary units.
Struthers and Wells Company of Warren, Pennsylvania, built the Warren Gasoline Engine. They were made in various types of horizontal open crank-case 4 cycle engines rated from 354 to 62 hp. and from 20 hp. to 125 hp. in a 2 cycle modification.
Grand Rapids Gasoline Engine and Yacht Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, built engines in 1,2 and 3 cylinder vertical engines rated from 1 to 45 hp. and furnished an adjustable blade propeller for speed variation and reversing.
L. J. Wing Manufacturing Company of New York City made a 4 cycle gas or gasoline engine in 1 and 2 cylinder units with electric ignition and in ratings of 2 to 6 hp. for single cylinder units and 4 to 12 hp. in 2 cylinder engines at operating speed of 500 R.P.M.
The New Era Gasoline Engine Company of Daylon, Ohio, built a 4 cycle line of engines in ratings of 10 to 50 hp.
There was an American Gas & Oil Engine Manufacturing Company of New York City, who built large power house gasoline engines and there was also the American Gas Engine Company of She-boygan, Wisconsin, who built the English designed Griffen gasoline engine. The Western Gas Construction Company also built some of these Griffen engines. One of these companies built the American Outboard Motor boat motor with a small vertical 2 cycle marine type engine with a bracket to attach to the stern of a small boat with the propeller shaft extending straight out from the crankshaft of the engine. This was one of the first outboard boat motors.
J. W. Ruger Manufacturing Company of Buffalo, New York, made 4 cycle vertical engines rated from 1 to 8 hp. and a stationary horizontal type from 10 to 50 hp. The design was of the conventional type of that period and the engines were furnished with hot tube ignition as standard equipment. Electric ignition could be had as special equipment.
Allman Gasoline Engine and Machine Company of New York City built both horizontal and vertical engines. The horizontal type was of the conventional designs and it was made in sizes from 2 to 15 hp. while the vertical units were built in 2 to 4 hp. ratings.
The Lambert Gas and Gasoline Engine Company of Anderson, Indiana, were manufacturers of the Lambert engines. It was a 4 cycle horizontal design for stationary application in sizes ranging from 1 to 40 hp.
Nash Meter Company of New York was the builder of a 2 cycle vertical gas or gasoline engine of the small vertical type.
Mrs. Houston Herndon of Sarasota, Fla., arrived in Cheraw with her pooch and a trailer load of engines, etc., that included 'two hot air arrangements.' As outlined in a picture donated by Charles Hope of Arlington, Va., one hot air arrangement is topped off by a ten gallon felt hat, and the other is topped off by a stove pipe hat. During the midday heat (Cheraw has short shirt sleeve temperature in mid April) the 'hot air arrangement wearing the felt hat' would lie down on the green grass and make a snoring type sound while the 'hot air arrangement wearing the stove pipe' would continue to stand erect and quietly emit hot air.
Anyone having a picture of the 'hot air arrangement wearing the felt hat' lying on the green grass, please send same to us and receive reward. To those of you who do not know Col. Houston Herndon, he is a very dear friend; he puts on a wonderful show in February, and we each try to humorously top each other. Let's hope both hot air arrangements will return to Cheraw on, before and after April 16-17-18, 1971, Antique Acres 2nd annual show.
Gases of various types were used for fuel for internal combustion engines as has been mentioned throughout these histories of the development of the internal combustion engines. There was an era of special emphasis on the use of gas for fuel about 1898 to 1915. The equipment to supply the gas was installed adjacent to the engines. This source of fuel was known as 'producer gas' and the engines operated on this fuel had a definite designation as 'Producer Gas Engines'.
While liquid petroleum was discovered as early as 1859 by Edwin Drake at Titusville, Pennsylvania, it took many years before it was refined and made available in the fuel market. At first gasoline was thrown away as a byproduct. Kerosene was used for lighting, heating and cooking.
While 'Rock Oil' as the first petroleum was called, or the hydrocarbons were being developed into usable fuels,' the engine manufacturers were trying to perfect gas for a real successful and economical fuel.
Young farmers at Maryland's Eastern Shore Show, August, 1970, taking a serious interest in a good collection of antique gasoline tractors.
There were three different kinds of gases that were usable, but not all were available to all locations where this kind of power was required. Natural gas was the ideal gas fuel, but very limited in these times. Natural gas is used today for fuel in large diesel engines, especially fitted to burn this kind of gas fuel.
The second type of gas was called 'Producer Gas' or illuminating gas which is made from anthracite or bituminous coal.
The third type was coke oven or blast furnace gas, which was used to operate large internal combustion engines in steel mills.
A complete gas producer power plant consisted of the desired size of gas engine which ranged in sizes from 15 hp. up to very large engines. The gas generator consisted of a continuous feed coal burner in an air tight vertical drum or tank with a water-cooled vaporizer around and above the fire-box. This cooled the unit to prevent over-heating and cooled the gases as they passed into the scrubber. The scrubber was another vertical cylindrical tank filled with washed coke to clean the gas before entering the gas tank or accumulator. A small amount of water was admitted to the coal burner which caused steam. Water was decomposed forming free hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen together with the oxygen from the air which is admitted to the coal burner combines with the fuel to form carbon monoxide. The resulting gas is composed of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, together with nitrogen from the air and carbon dioxide.
The gas is collected in a gas tank to which the suction of the engine is connected, through a gas cock. It is the suction of the engine that causes the gas to flow from the generator to the gas accumulator tank at the engine.
The efficiency of this type of fuel system and overall engine power is about 17% as compared with a steam engine and boiler of about 6%. This source of fuel went out with obsolescence when petroleum fuels were perfected and many varieties were made available.
Fairbanks, Morse Type 'R' (circa 1900) vertical multi-cylinder engines and Type 'L' horizontal engines were adaptable to Gas Producer Fuels. Type R engines were built in sizes of 43-65-100-150 and 200 hp. in 2, 3 and 4 cylinder machines and operating at speeds of 250 to 300 rpm. The Type L engines were built in sizes of 15-25-35 and 50 hp. The Type N engines were also adaptable for Producer Gas fuel in sizes of 17-21-26-30-45 and 50 hp. These were single cylinder horizontal 4 cycle machines.
Smaller sizes of the horizontal Type N could be adapted for gas ranging in horsepower from 5 to 15.
Other companies manufacturing these producer gas engines were Nash, De La Verne-Koerting, Westinghouse and Allis-Chalmers and undoubtedly a great many other companies.
Many, many more companies than those mentioned were building internal combustion engines at one time or another in this country so the task of writing a complete history of each engine is endless. Further efforts will be used to ferret out information on the popular makes and give you all the detailed specifications that can be found.