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Coolspring Spotlight: Circa-1906 16hp Callahan

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By The Gas Engine Magazine Staff | Jan 7, 2020

 

Circa-1906 16hp Callahan

Manufacturer: W.P. Callahan & Co., Dayton, OH
Year: Circa 1906
Serial No.: 2525
Horsepower: 16
Bore: 13in
Stroke: 16in
Owner: Chris Austin

The unique feature on this engine is its clutched sideshaft, hit-and-miss governing system. A constantly rotating flyball governor actuates a dog-clutch to interrupt sideshaft rotation (and therefore combustion) as required to maintain desired engine speed. Rotation interruption always occurs at the precise point when the exhaust valve is open and the intake and fuel valves are closed. Proper engine timing is automatically restored during side shaft clutch re-engagement.

William P. Callahan began his career as a cabinetmaker and later became an employee of Thompson, McGregor & Co. in Dayton, Ohio. He eventually bought that company and incorporated it into the company he formed in 1876 that bears his name. Products included various types of machinery, and starting in 1896, high-quality gas and gasoline engines designed by Peter T. Coffield, formerly associated with the Springfield Gas Engine Co. in Springfield, Ohio. William Callahan died a multimillionaire in 1903. Engine production ceased about 1915.

Features

Callahan engines were made in sizes from 4 to 100hp. The sophisticated design features power-operated intake and gaseous fuel admission valves, low-tension ignition by battery-coil igniter or optional Goodson magneto, and timed gas or gasoline-injection fuel systems. The unique “signature” feature is its clutched sideshaft, hit-and-miss governing system. A constantly rotating flyball governor actuates a dog-clutch to interrupt sideshaft rotation (and therefore combustion) as required to maintain desired engine speed. Rotation interruption always occurs at the precise point when the exhaust valve is open and the intake and fuel valves are closed. Proper engine timing is automatically restored during sideshaft clutch re-engagement.

 

History

This particular engine spent its working life in Conway, Kansas, as part of a Santa Fe Railway trackside locomotive watering station. It reportedly provided backup power for a water pump primarily driven by a windmill.

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