Once a Duty Engine at a Soda Factory, Mietz and Weiss Serial Number 7507 is Back in Form - and in the States - After 85 Years in the Caribbean
The 2-1/2 HP Mietz and Weiss flywheel engine featured here found its way to the Brow Soda factory at 65-66 King St., Frederiksted, St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands, in 1910. Mr. C.R.T. Brow, the owner of the soda factory, purchased the engine that same year while he was visiting New York City, and it arrived in St. Croix after being shipped via a steamer from New York. This engine is believed to have been built some time around 1906 to 1907.
As a young boy growing up in St. Croix in the 1930s, I vividly remember this engine turning the belt-driven carbonator and bottler of the Brow Soda factory while blowing exhaust smoke rings into the trees above the roof. Government rationing of sugar during WW II caused the Brow Soda factory to shut down, but at some point Richard Berg removed the well-worn engine from the factory grounds. Richard, known by his best friends as 'Buddy,' was a local collector of antique engines, and a close friend of mine growing up in Frederiksted. Buddy took the engine to his country home on the north side of the island, placing it under a tamarind tree
In his front yard where the flywheel spokes served as a tie-down for his watchdog. It performed well in this capacity until after Buddy's death in 1993.
After years of neglect, this circa 1906 Mietz and Weiss is back in form. Mietz and Weiss engines were built in New York, N.Y., and the company is credited with building the first oil engine in the U.S.
The Mietz and Weiss as it arrived in the states after 85 years in St. Croix. Customs officials initially thought it was an antique cannon because of its 'barrel' and 'wheels.'
In 1994 Buddy's son, Bobby, gave the engine to me as a remembrance of his father. The engine was still in St. Croix at that time, and getting the Mietz and Weiss flywheeler through customs and to my home in Florida was quite a challenge (the customs people initially thought it was an antique cannon because of its 'barrel' and 'wheels'), but in 1995 I saw it through.
Once the engine arrived it occupied valuable space in my garage in St. Petersburg, Fla., but with the able assistance of my son, Brian, who also happens to be a member of the Florida Flywheelers, we were able to get the engine on its way to restoration.
Jeff Young of Pinellas Diesel Service reworked the injection pump, while I made new injector nozzles using an original as a pattern. I made two extras for spares. Steve Trimm of Godwin and Singer in St. Petersburg re-sleeved, re-bored, restored and retired the antique as a show piece.
Bore and Stroke:
4-inch by 4-inch
24-inch diameter, 1-1/4-inch face
Hot bulb, three-port, 2-cycle diesel with injection.
Steam from cooling system diverted to air intake to control pre-ignition
Approximately 300 rpm
An interesting feature of this engine is its use of water vapor in the air intake. Steam produced from cooling is fed into the air intake and then into the combustion chamber, effectively stopping pre-ignition and also allowing the use of a higher compression ratio. These are certainly interesting engines, and few are seen anymore. The Mietz and Weiss engine will have its first showing at the Pioneer Park Days in Zolfo Springs, Fla., in March 2002.
Contact engine enthusiasts Robert and Gail Benedict at: 6712 Cardinal Dr. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33707.