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
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
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.
MIETZ AND WEISS SPECIFICATIONS
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
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.