Circa 1897 50HP White & Middleton Engine

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by Gas Engine Magazine Staff

Watch this 1967 White & Middleton Gas Engine Co. 50HP gas engine run in this video from the Coolspring Power Museum’s 2015 summer show.

Founded by Charles White and Arthur R. Middleton, the White & Middleton Gas Engine Co. introduced a line of engines circa 1890 as evidenced by U.S. patent No. 438209, which showed a horizontal gas engine much like this engine except it was a gearless 4-cycle design accomplished through a complex and probably impractical system of ratchets and cams. No examples of this style of engine are known to have survived. Next, they came out with a more successful typical 4-cycle design with 2-1 ratio timing gears patented in 1895. Several engines of this style survive in collectors’ hands.

Features

The engine illustrated here is of the third design style with two concentric push rods operating the exhaust valve and the fuel valve in a typical 4-cycle manner. This design was patented in 1897. It used natural gas for fuel. Speed is controlled by a vertical centrifugal flyball governor that shuts off gas flow. A make-and-break ignitor with a battery and induction coil are used for the ignition system. There is an auxiliary exhaust port uncovered by the piston at bottom-dead-center that reduces heating of the exhaust valve. This is the largest known surviving White & Middleton engine. The flywheels are 90 inches in diameter.

History

This engine was installed new at Breman, Ohio, by the Buckeye Pipe Line Co. in 1897, according to company records, which were still in existence in 1962. The engine had been in service on the original location from 1897 until 1958 powering a triplex crude oil pump. The engine was placed into preservation by the late Dr. John Wilcox in 1962.


Learn about this engine and 38 others in Coolspring: Discovering America’s Finest Antique Engine Museum, Vol. 2.

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