Connecticut Museum Needs Help

| September/October 1990

422 Route 148 Killingworth, Connecticut 06417

The time has come to go to the horse's mouth, so to speak. Something over a year ago, I took the job of trying to make sense out of the Mystic Seaport Museum's engine collection. This project had languished in last place for some time for lack of the continued presence of a volunteer. I didn't know much about engines (I still don't), but it looked like a good challenge, so here I am. We have some seventy-odd engines, most of them marine types as you might expect. We have two naphtha engines, seven steam engines and a bunch of old outboards. The balance are internal combustion of some sort.

The main problem engines, at this time, are two stationary diesels and a gas, single cylinder.

The first diesel (56.726) is described in our records as a vertical, hot bulb with a built-in air compressor. This engine was used as part of the fog signal equipment removed from Governor's Island Light Station in New York. It was located at the base of Castle William opposite the Battery on Manhattan Island. This station was established in 1888, but whether or not the engine was part of the original installation, I don't know. I am enclosing four pictures of the engine and hope that you can help identify it. It is in good shape, turns freely and maybe we can get it to run after a complete overhaul.

The next item is a single cylinder marine gas engine. It is a two stroke, has a spark plug with patent dates of March 1917, February 1918 and August 1919. The flywheel is ten inches in diameter. The split crankcase is of cast aluminum. It has a very marginal lubricating system and, as you can see, the support leaves something  to be desired. It has been rebuilt since the pictures were taken and we did get it to a fire a couple of times, but it doesn't want to run. The handle shown in the pictures should have been removed as it is just tied in place. It is supposed to work the clutch. Any help on this one?

The next problem child appears to be a relatively recent single cylinder diesel. I can tell you nothing about it. It has been around here for quite a while, but wasn't 'discovered' and taken into the collection until 1988. The rectangular shape may be a clue to the more knowledgeable.