1908 DETAMblE

| April/May 1990

  • Cylinders and a flywheel

  • Air compressor

  • Cylinders and a flywheel
  • Air compressor

17444 South Canaan Rd. Athens, Ohio 45701

I bought an air compressor at auction. There it laid in the old barn, half buried in the hay. It looked like two cylinders and a flywheel. I brought it home, stored it in the garage for six months or so, and gave it only a passing glance now and then. Several people looked at it. They admitted they had never seen anything like it and all agreed it was a real 'stranger.' I discovered a broken spark plug in each cylinder, so it was plainly an engine.

The cylinders are directly opposed with a dogleg in each rod. I sent a picture to GEM and they identified it as a DeTamble auto buggy engine of 1908 vintage. A picture in C.H. Wendel's American Gasoline Engines Since 1872 showed not much more information than I had, except for the intake manifold.

I made a manifold from copper pipe, installed a carburetor with a 1908 patent date. The engine did have what was left of a model T Ford ignitor, the back plate and part of a rotor. A new rotor and cap was installed , wired with two model T coils, and a new oiler was put in each cylinder. It was decided that it's a dry sump engine. On the first start oil was added to the crankcase. That was a mistake! Oil came out of every joint, bearing and crack in the engine. So it was drained and that solved the problem. After that it ran fairly well for short periods of time; not being baffled caused it to heat up. It apparently was only used on the 1908 car. The picture of the 1913 car during its last year of production shows an inline engine. The car was manufactured from 1908 to 1913 in Anderson, Indiana.

I have taken it to several shows including Athens, Barlow and Chillicothe, Ohio; Sistersville and Point Pleasant, West Virginia. It generated a considerable amount of interest at all these shows. I would be interested in hearing from anyone with a DeTamble and in finding literature on same so I could see the original configuration.


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