Company: The Alamo Manufacturing Co., Hillsdale, MI
Serial Number: 13942
Owner: Clark Colby
Reportedly organized in 1901 by A.D. Stock, the Alamo Manufacturing Company made high-grade gas, gasoline, and kerosene engines in sizes from 1-1/2 to 120hp and also small electric lighting plants for farm and rural applications. Richard Hallett may have been responsible for several of Alamo’s early engine designs. In 1917, the name was changed to the Alamo Engine Company to reflect the company’s narrowing product focus. Many Alamo engines were sold under other names familiar to collectors, including Empire, Rock Island, Duplex, and others. Sales dropped significantly after World War I and engine production finally ended about 1930, by which time Alamo had made approximately 116,000 engines. Today, the factory buildings still display the Alamo name.
Introduced sometime prior to 1913, this volume-governed, oil-burning engine design — more complex and robust than some other Alamo designs — could be considered Alamo’s “commercial” model. Produced in sizes ranging from 10 to 60hp, it shares only a few general features with their other “consumer grade” models. This design features Alamo’s trademark “three-ball” sensitive, centrifugal governor, forced-feed mechanical lubrication to the crankshaft bearings and cylinder, a timed chain-driven low-tension ignition dynamo, a pneumatic intake valve motion-dampener, and a complex dual-fuel throttling-style carburetor with adjustable combustion air pre-heating. Few engines of this type survive, possibly indicating a high selling price resulting in very limited sales.
This particular engine was previously in the private collection of Murray Clark, proprietor of the famous (for his trained bears) Clark’s Trading Post in Lincoln, New Hampshire. This engine originally drove a Diehl 5-kilowatt, 125-volt direct-current generator. Exhibiting moderate wear from extended use, it presumably furnished electric power at a large home somewhere in New England. It came to Coolspring in the 1990s.
Learn about this engine and 38 others in Coolspring: Discovering America’s Finest Antique Engine Museum, Vol. 2. Order your copy at Coolspring