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16 HP Gas Engine From Backus Water Motor Co.

Coolspring Spotlight: An 1896 16 HP Backus Water Motor Co. gas engine on display at the Coolspring Power Museum

| June/July 2012

  • 16 HP Backus Water Motor Co
    1896 16 HP Backus
  • Backus Water Motor Co Nameplate
    The nameplate for a 16 HP Backus at the Coolspring Museum.

  • 16 HP Backus Water Motor Co
  • Backus Water Motor Co Nameplate

Manufacturer: Backus Water Motor Co., Newark, NJ
Year: 1896
HP: 16
Bore: 8-inch
Stroke: 15-inch
Ignition: Hot tube
Governing: Hit-and-miss
Owner: Paul Harvey

The Backus Water Motor Co., Newark, N.J., is better known for its water motors than its gas engines, but apparently, as this 16 HP gas engine illustrates, both were good quality machines.

“This engine probably has some of the nicest aesthetics of any engine we have here at the museum,” says Coolspring president Clark Colby. “The main bearings are set up high above the crankcase. The cylinder has very simple lines with a fully machined cylinder head and a nicely executed pendulum governor.”

The exhaust valve pushrod is actuated by an eccentric rather than a cam on the camshaft. The engine has a hot tube ignition. There is a third valve in the exhaust manifold that helps coordinate the movement of exhaust gas out of both the port in the cylinder and the exhaust valve passage.

Read more about this engine and 38 others in the book Coolspring published by Gas Engine Magazine. 


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

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