Coolspring Spotlight: Circa-1898-1904 Evans

By Staff
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By Gas engine Magazine Staff
Circa-1898-1904 Evans

Circa-1898-1904 Evans

Manufacturer: The Evans Mfg. Co., Butler, PA
Year:Circa 1898-1904
Serial No.:411

Horsepower: 15 or 20
Owner: Clark Colby

Evan Evans first started a brass foundry in Chicora, Pennsylvania, in the 1880s. To profit from the recent discovery of oil in the surrounding area, he moved to nearby Butler, Pennsylvania, in 1894, and formed the Evans Manufacturing Co. Evans was building gas engines as early as 1898, and by 1903 advertised, gasoline and steam engines, as well as clutches, oil well supplies, and general mechanical repairs. The company ceased trading about 1940.

Manufacturer plate

Evans built several models of gas engines in single- and twin-cylinder versions. Sizes ranged from about 3 to 100 horsepower. Most were destined for oil-field use and were of a rugged, simple, 4-stroke design, utilizing either hot tube or spark plug ignition, manually adjusted volume governing, and a pushrod-operated exhaust valve.

Top view of stationary engine


This engine model is thought to be Evans’ earliest gas engine design and appears to utilize a heavy steam engine frame modified at the foundry for gas engine duty. This design retains the customary steam engine crosshead piston guide and has a water-cooled, side-mounted valve chest and an unusually large belt-driven governor that throttles the incoming fuel-air mixture. At least as early as 1902, this model was offered in single- and twin-cylinder sizes from 10 to 100 horsepower.

Back end of engine
Pulley on the back of the engine connected to a large belt.


This particular engine is reported to have served at the historic Allegheny Arsenal located in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Lawrenceville neighborhood. Oddly, it appears never to have been equipped with a clutch. Showing signs of extensive use, it was possibly used as backup power for pumping boiler feed water from the adjacent Allegheny River to the arsenal’s steam power plant. Unfortunately, no confirming information has been found. It came to Coolspring in the 1990s.

Early gas stationary engine

Learn about this engine and 38 others in Coolspring: Discovering America’s Finest Antique Engine Museum, Vol. 2. Order your copy at the Gas Engine Magazine Store.

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