Oil Field Engine News

Scale Oil Field Engines: No ''Small'' Feat

| February/March 2004

25 HP Reid

Scale models seem to be all the rage, and the Burns & Homer Co. of New Carlisle, Ohio, has turned out some beautiful specimens. Pictured here is a full-size 25 HP Reid and a 6 HP Burns & Horner scale.

 When an engine is popular because of its rarity, age or historical significance, someone inevitably produces a replica or scale model of the original. The oil field engine hobby is no exception. To my knowledge, the largest - and only - company to produce a scale model oil field engine is Burns & Homer Engine Co. of New Carlisle, Ohio. For more than a quarter century this firm has produced 1/4- and 1/8-scale Reid engines, and a 1/4-scale Bessemer engine.

In 1985 Robert Burns, his son, John, and Harry Horner made plans to build three fully operational Reid model engines -one for each of the three men. Harry had already carved some Reid models out of wood, and John soon started cutting steel to fabricate the engines.

Scale dimensions were tallied by averaging the sizes of several different Reid engines, and using the cumulative averages, the men fabricated a stubby-looking little engine, which none of them liked. After some discussion, the three agreed the dimensions of a 6 HP Reid would result in a good-looking model.

All subsequent models produced thereafter have been scaled from the 6 HP Reid.

Virgin Territory

As the project progressed, John asked Harry if he was happy with what he saw. Harry was puzzled by the question until John explained the steel they were using didn't resemble the cast iron on the full-size engines. So, the men invested several thousand dollars in patterns for casting the various parts of the engine in iron.

The first two cast iron models were made without cleanout plates on the top and bottom of the cylinder. This created flaws in the castings, but adding cleanout plates remedied the casting problem, and they subsequently repaired the first two models.