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Ship to Shore: Cummins Model F Engine 8149

Built to special order, Cummins diesel engine 8149 had a very special life before finding its way to the engine show circuit.

| February/March 2017

  • Cummins engine number 8149, a specially built 2-cylinder Model F diesel, was built in 1927 to power the electrical systems for the private yacht the Spray III.
    Photo courtesy Mystic Seaport, Rosenfield Collection
  • It was eventually installed in a towboat, the Standard.
    Image courtesy East Carolina University J.Y. Joyner Library
  • Cummins engine number 8149 as it looks today, fully operational.
    Photo by Charles Wise
  • Another view of the Cummins engine 8149
    Photo by Charles Wise
  • The injector at left was missing its second cup. A used cup was found.
    Photo by Charles Wise
  • The engine's build plate.
    Photo by Charles Wise
  • The second plate on the base, which identified it as having been specially built by Cummins for Henry B. Joy.
    Photo by Charles Wise
  • A period photograph of Henry B. Joy (1864-1936).
    Photo courtesy Library of Congress
  • The Cummins restoration team. Left to right: Bob Gill, Rob Gill, Gene George and Bob Drake.
    Photo by Charles Wise
  • Proud owners Brian (left) and Bob Drake with Cummins engine number 8149.
    Photo by Charles Wise

1927 Cummins Model F Diesel

Manufacturer: Cummins Engine Co., Columbus, IN
Year: 1927
Serial no.: 8149
Engine Type: Vertical 2-cylinder/180-degree crankshaft
Horsepower: 16 hp @ 550rpm (25 hp standard)
Bore & stroke: 5-1/2in x 7in
Flywheel dia. & width: 36in x 2-3/4in
Weight: 2,960 lbs (4,800 lbs standard)
Ignition: Compression-ignition diesel
Governing: Flyball

In high school, Bob Drake started working on the Ohio River for Crounse Corp., a coal barge towing company. His love of boats and the river led him to build a sternwheel vessel from scratch, which he christened the Cindy, a project he worked on from 1979 to 1983. It was through a shared interest in sternwheel boats that Bob befriended Donald Brookbank, in 1972.

Donald was the owner of Brookbank River Services, which was working with Crounse Corp. when the two met. Donald had his own sternwheel towboat, the Donald B, which was purchased in 1939 from Standard Oil of Ohio by Donald’s father, Ray Brookbank. The Standard, as it was called by Standard Oil, was built in 1923 by the Marietta Manufacturing Co. of West Virginia, and was Standard Oil’s first towboat. The 98-foot vessel started life powered by a 60 hp horizontal single-cylinder gasoline engine, make unknown.

By 1930, the Standard had been upgraded to a 4-cylinder, 100 hp Fairbanks-Morse diesel engine. When that engine threw a rod in 1939, Standard Oil sold the Standard to Ray Brookbank, who installed a new 35F10 Fairbanks-Morse 4-cylinder, 160 hp diesel engine. Ray renamed the vessel after his son, Donald, who took over the family business after Ray’s death in the 1980s. Donald kept the Donald B. in operation until 2000, making it the longest-working towboat in the United States, after 77 years on the Ohio River. In 1990 it was named a National Historic Landmark for its long service history. Upon its retirement, Donald sold the boat to Steve and Barbara Huffman, who renamed it the Barbara H. In March, 2012, it was reported that the Huffmans sold the Barbara H. to a man in Wheeling, West Virginia, who renamed it the Standard.


When Donald Brookbank wasn’t working the Donald B., he used it for leisure. Donald enjoyed taking the vessel to regattas, but his wife, Doris, refused to go along until a bathroom, refrigerator, and an air conditioner were installed on the boat. Donald approached Bob in the late 1980s about overhauling the Donald B.’s Fairbanks-Morse engine, and upgrading the ship’s electric system from a 1920s Cummins diesel with attached Westinghouse generator to a new 3-cylinder Perkins-driven alternator to help power Doris’ modern amenities.


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

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