Gas Engine Magazine

Connecticut Museum Needs Help

By Staff

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.

I would appreciate any help in identifying these engines. We
have the makings of a really good collection and have started a new
project of establishing and equipping a machine shop for the
purpose of restoring the collection. If any readers are in the

Connecticut area, and would be interested in volunteering their
time, I would be glad to hear from them. We have the beginnings of
a group, but as with most volunteer organizations, we can always
use more help. I would appreciate it if you could direct any
replies. Thank you.

  • Published on Sep 1, 1990
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