Far East Meets Old West

By Staff
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Ron Ludford’s Oriental engine. By word of mouth, he has learned this engine was pulled out of a pump house after it had been knocked over in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
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Patents by M.A. Graham in 1891 and T.G.Cantrell in 1895 for the Oriental engine.
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An ad for the Oriental gas engine, patented in the beginning of 1891.
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An ad introducing the horizontal Oriental engine, useful for raising water.
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An ad showing new ownership of the Oriental Gas Engine Co. by Corliss.
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Bill Prine’s 50 HP Oriental engine in 1993. This engine was in a river for half a century and has since been restored. It now resides in a California museum. Bill researched and sent Ron Ludford all the information on these pages.

The following is excerpted from a letter Bill
Prine, an Oriental engine authority and owner, sent to Ron Ludford
in June 2003.

“Congratulations on acquiring such a nice, rare California
engine! To my knowledge, there are only about eight Oriental
engines in captivity, so that makes them pretty special.

“The pictures of my engine were taken when I got the engine in
1993. It doesn’t look like this now, it has been cleaned up and
primed, but it is disassembled. The engine was in Snake River for
more than 50 years, so many of the steel parts are rusted away. But
the cast iron is good and I have re-made all of the steel
parts.

“What research I have done on Oriental consists of searching
libraries for old catalogs or advertisements. I can also tell you
that I searched old San Francisco city directories back into the
1800s. The earliest listing I came up with for the Oriental Gas
Engine Co. was 1896. It said Marcellus Graham was the proprietor
and Edward Corliss was the manager. In 1898, it lists Corliss as
the proprietor and the address as 227 Folsom St. By 1909, the
company name changes to the Corliss Gas Engine Co. and the address
is still 227 Folsom. So it would appear that the Oriental engine
was the forerunner to the Corliss gas engine, which is another rare
California engine.”

Contact Ron Ludford at: 100 Mountain?Ave., Auburn, CA 95603;
(530) 885-0171; rludford@pacbell.net

For more information on Oriental engine history, contact Bill
Prine at: 7301 Eola Hills Road S.E., Amity,?OR 97101; (503)
835-7301.

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