Do You Want to See Engines? - Portland, Indiana is the Place.

| April/May 2000

GEM staffer

The Tri-State Gas Engine & Tractor Association held their 34th Anniversary Reunion on August 25-29, 1999, at the Jay County Fairgrounds in Portland, Indiana. They state in their ad that they are the 'World's Largest Gas Engine & Tractor Show' - I would say, 'They're right!'

One of the first displays that caught my attention was an Eclipse engine and a Bessemer engine. I met Shorty O'Rourke of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, who owned the 4 HP Eclipse engine serial #2068, pictured below. This engine was made by the Luther Manufacturing Co. of Olean, New York. It had been used as an oil well engine. The 2 HP Bessemer engine with serial #A814 was built by the Bessemer Gas Engine Co., Grove City, Pennsylvania. It was hooked up to a pump built by the Co-lumbiana Pump Co., Ohio, with Patent 1907. The engine ran at 650 RPM. This engine was displayed on black walnut skids as shown below. I was surprised to find out this engine was owned by Shorty's 14-year old nephew Doug Mixter, also from Coraopolis. He received this engine for a Christmas present when he was just 11 years old.

A 1905 4 HP Jacobson side shaft was beautifully restored by Carl Stewart of Owenton, Kentucky. This engine was manufactured in Warren, Pennsylvania. It took Carl seven years to buy this engine.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Evelyn & Art Gaier of Versailles, Ohio, acquaintances from the 1995 GEM European tour. The Gaiers have been dedicated exhibitors at the Tri-State show for 28 years. They were exhibiting their 2? HP Aermotor general purpose engine with a fluted cooler. The Aermotor was built by the Aermotor Co., located in Chicago, Illinois. This fluted hopper engine was Aermotor's most attractive engine style. It was protected by Patent No. 987,177 of 1911. Hopper cooling does away with the large water tank and the troublesome pipe connections. There is only one fluted sheet steel hopper-which is found on the Aermotor. There are thin walls between the water and air, and the large radiating surface. This engine was built in the 2? and the 5 HP sizes. It was shipped on skids. An indication of the rugged Aermotor construction is shown by the 600 pound shipping weight for the 2? HP and 1,000 pounds for the 5 HP model. By 1920, this style was available with either battery or magneto ignition and was priced at $ 115.00 for the 2? HP model or $165.00 for the 5 HP model. There were no pipe connections to be made. The fuel tank is attached to the skid and connected to the engine when shipped. The bore is 41/8 ' with a 6' stroke, the flywheels were 24' in diameter at 100 pounds each.

The Gaiers' other engine was a Bull's Eye sideshaft made by the Jacobson Mfg. Co. of Warren, Pennsylvania. This 2 HP Type GE engine with serial #6437 has a Webster magneto and runs at 500 RPM.


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