| November/December 1972

  • Early Engine

  • Gasoline Engine
    Courtesy of University of California, Davis, California 95616.

  • Early Engine
  • Gasoline Engine


DAVIS-A controversy nearly 100 years old has surfaced at the University of California, Davis, with the refurbishing of another one-cylinder gasoline engine by the Antique Mechanics Club.

The question: Who built the first gasoline powered engine in the United States? The debate concerns the answer to that question. It was either Dan S. Regan of San Francisco or Syranus Stanish of Gridley, but it is not known, positively, who was first.

While it is not a raging controversy, members of the Antique Club would like to be able to solve it while they work to restore an early model of the 'Regan Gas Vapor Engine' to be displayed alongside the original 'Standish Gasoline Engine,' which was given to the University in 1939.

According to research by farm historian F. Hal Higgins, who located the Standish in 1937 and later gave it to the University, Standish family memories put the year of its building in Gridley in the 1880s. No patent was issued to Standish.

The patent plate on the Regan goes back to 1884 with the latest date being August 1889 on the engine recently added to the UCD collection.


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