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3 Edna Terrace New Hartford, NY 13413,

I went to visit my friend Wayne Grenning at his Lockport, New
York, home early in February to see his latest project. Wayne
builds fine scale production models of such engines as the
Otto-Langen atmospheric engine, Sombart flame ignition engine, and
the Springfield type ‘A’ engine.

Picture 1 shows his latest effort. It is a ? scale of a ? HP
Otto Langen atmospheric engine. It stands about 6 feet from the
floor to the top of the flywheel, with the guide rods extending
much further. It weighs an estimated 700 pounds. This is a very
close reproduction of the original Otto-Langen engines, with
elements taken from the original patent drawings, and the living
example of the full-size Otto-Langen at Kinzer, Pennsylvania.
Features such as genuine flame ignition and slide valve were
painstakingly incorporated into this engine. The cylinder column
was machined from a solid billet of cast iron! This is a truly
astounding piece of workmanship, which no other model manufacturer
can even hope to approach. The fact that this engine will actually
be produced in very limited numbers is even more amazing.

Photo 2 shows a general view of Wayne’s shop. To the left is
the ? scale Otto-Langen. Behind that is the hydrogen used to run
the engine. Next is a 1/6 scale Otto-Langen.
Behind that is an original, running Crown Gas Pump (more on that
later). Next is a Lake-breeze hot air fan, also running (look Ma,
no wires!). Next to that, on the wooden crate, is a
1/14 scale Otto-Langen, and off to the right
is Wayne’s 5 HP Otto engine with electric lighting flywheels.
This is partially disassembled so 1/3 scale
drawings can be made. We spent an enjoyable evening running the
Otto-Langen, Crown, and Lakebreeze in an exhibit that would pale
most engine shows!

Picture 3 shows the top mechanism of the engine. The toothed
rack in the top center of the picture is attached to the piston,
which is in the column. The only connection to the rest of the
engine is through the clutch behind the rack, which engages when
the piston falls quickly. As the piston falls, a catch on the rack
causes a pawl to engage a ratcheted gear, which engages two cams to
the counter shaft that can be seen in the picture. This does
several things: it causes one of the cams to lift the piston up,
which draws in a charge of gas and air. The other cam then moves a
slide valve at the bottom of the cylinder, which admits the gas and
air charge. The slide then moves to close the gas and air ports.
Within the slide valve is a chamber where a flame is maintained. As
the piston reaches the top of its travel, this chamber moves over a
port in the cylinder, which causes the charge in the cylinder to
ignite. This drives the piston up farther. The combustion gasses
quickly cool, and the piston is forced down due to atmospheric
pressure. The clutch gear engages the main shaft, which constitutes
the power stroke. The piston then settles down, pushing the
products of combustion out a port in the slide valve, as the main
shaft coasts. The piston then releases the pawl, which at this
point has disengaged the cams on the counter shaft, and the process
repeats. A petcock on the exhaust outlet controls the speed of the
engine. If the exhaust gasses are restricted, the piston settles
down slower, and the firing process doesn’t repeat as

Photo 4 shows the bottom of the cylinder. The two pipes at the
right supply the ignition flame in the slide valve and its pilot
light with gas. The main slide valve is in the left-center of the
picture. In front of that is another slide valve, which serves as a
safety valve. It controls the gas into the engine, as well as the
exhaust. Basically, if the engine is turned backwards, the clutch
engages the rack, and the piston draws a full cylinder of air-gas
mix. If this is ignited, the engine can blow its top off. This
valve shuts off the gas as the piston passes a certain point, and
doesn’t allow the piston to fall until the excess charge is

Photos 5 and 6 shows the Crown Gas Pump. It is on loan to Wayne
from Bill Lopoulos. This engine was made around 1883. It is a
non-compression, flame ignition engine built by the National Meter
Co. of New York. These were used in larger cities where the taller
buildings needed to have water pumped up to cisterns on the roof to
maintain water pressure. The water pump is actuated by the bell
crank near the top of the engine, and is below the crankshaft. The
water is pumped through the engine to keep it cool, and the surge
chamber for the pump is seen on top of the cylinder. The pilot
light for the ignition flame is maintained in the little chimney
below the air chamber in photo 5. The ignition flame itself is
maintained in a slide valve, similar to the Otto-Langen. As the
piston moves out in the cylinder, a charge of gas and air is
admitted through the two slide valves. About half way through the
stroke, the ignition flame is moved into place, and the fuel and
air ports are closed.

This ignites the charge, which pushes the piston back for the
power part of the cycle. As the piston moves ahead again, a port is
opened and the exhaust gases escape. The exact operation of all the
ports and slide valves of this engine is still a mystery to this
writer, but run it does! Since it was made in 1883, when the Otto
patents for the 4-stroke cycle were in effect, it follows the
non-compression ideas of the Otto-Langen. There are only 8 examples
of this engine known to exist.

Both the Otto-Langen and the Crown were designed to run on town
or illuminating gas. This is a manufactured gas with a very high
hydrogen content, originally used for lighting in larger cities.
Since this gas is not readily available these days, pure hydrogen
is used instead. It works well in flame ignition engines, since it
is flammable under a wide range of conditions. It is also clean,
producing water as a combustion product. Drawbacks include the fact
it is flammable under a wide range of conditions, making it
especially dangerous to handle. It also produces water as a
combustion product, which, as we all know, causes rust.

The Otto-Langen is one of a line of fine model engines Wayne has
produced. There are other engines in the works, including the
Electric Lighting Otto. The others are under wraps for now, but
they will, no doubt, be of the same caliber as his other works.

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