16 HP Gas Engine From Backus Water Motor Co.

By Staff
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1896 16 HP Backus
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The nameplate for a 16 HP Backus at the Coolspring Museum.

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.

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines