Fairbanks-Morse Type Y Diesel Engine

By Staff
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 Circa-1925 advertisement for the 6-cylinder, 2-cycle Fairbanks-Morse Type Y Diesel engine.

The cover image for the February/March 2011 issue of Gas Engine Magazine is the illustration from a magnificent advertisement for the Fairbanks-Morse Type Y Diesel engine, shown in its full glory at right. The ad has been knocking around our office for some time and we weren’t quite sure what to do with it until this issue.

While there wasn’t any additional information provided with the ad, there’s enough information on the ad itself for us to do a little research with the help of Fairbanks, Morse & Co. expert C.H. Wendel and his definitive history of the company, Fairbanks Morse: 100 Years of Engine Technology.

As Wendel notes, Fairbanks, Morse & Co. began manufacturing gas engines in 1893 and established itself as one of the titans of the industry over the next 30 years. From the statement on the bottom of the ad we can deduce that it dates to the early 1920s, and, more precisely, to 1925 at the earliest based on the statement that the engine is a Type Y Diesel.

Fairbanks-Morse began manufacturing Type Y vertical engines in 1914, but it wasn’t until 1925 that the company introduced the Type Y Model 32 Diesel to replace the phased-out Style VA of the year before.

Wendel notes that the introduction of the Model 32 was the culmination of many years of improvement upon the initial Type Y design that included various kinds of cylinder heads, increasing compression pressures and the eventual adoption of high-pressure injection and differential fuel injectors. He states that fuel was introduced to the highly compressed air at 2,000 psi, and legend says the round crankcase access plates were designed for quick disabling of the engine by sledgehammer in case the governor failed. Whether that’s true or not, there’s no doubt that the Type Y Diesel was a monster of an engine as the 6-cylinder, 2-cycle example shown in the ad was capable of 360 HP. Wendel also notes in American Gasoline Engines Since 1872 that these types of these engines served for many years in municipal power houses.

Contact information for the person who submitted this ad was separated from it long ago.  If you or someone you know sent it to us, please contact us so we can give proper credit for submission of this great piece.

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