Coolspring Spotlight: 1905 Either/Ajax engine
Check out this unique circa 1905 Ajax/ Either convertible engine.
Kougher Half Breed Pavilion Either / Ajax
Company: B.D. Northrup Co., Washington, PA
Year: Circa 1905
Engine cylinder: 86
Frame number: 2874
Horsepower: 15 or 20hp
Owner: Paul Harvey
This engine was manufactured by the B.D. Northrup Co. of Washington, Pennsylvania. Blancher Dix Northrup was an expert machinist and followed the oil boom to Washington, Pennsylvania. There, he set up shop to produce all kinds of oil field equipment. He was especially known for his precision regulator that was considered the best on the market. Although Gardner, also of Washington, had already built a successful gas or steam convertible engine, he introduced his “Either” engine. Of similar purpose, his was easier to change from one function to the other. It sold very well, and Nortrup absorbed Gardner in 1911.
The engine is a converted engine, as the gas cylinder could be adapted to any steam engine frame. In this case, the steam engine frame, along with the crosshead, connecting rod, crankshaft and flywheel, were built by Ajax of Corry, Pennsylvania. The gas cylinder has three large valves to switch from gas engine to steam engine operation. It is interesting to note the extra weight attached to the wheel, and the oil field patch.
This engine was used by the Washington Oil Co. based in Taylorstown, Pennsylvania. Daily pumping could be done in the gas engine mode, while servicing the well such as pulling rods and tubing was done in the steam mode. Long after the original boilers were gone, a portable boiler was moved to the site. It came to Coolspring in 1970.
photo by: Gas Engine Magazine Staff
photo by: Staff
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