Free Wheeling Powell-Lever Engine


| January/February 1997



Lever engines

One of the later Lever engines, intended for automotive use, showing clearly the lever action in place.

This article, written by Menno Duerksen, originally appeared in Cars & Parts Magazine, March 1975 issue, and is reprinted with permission. It was sent to us by George N. Whiston, Jr., 508 North Range Street, Oblong, Illinois 62449, who would appreciate hearing from anyone who has information on the Powell-Lever design.

It must have been about the time when I was aged eight or ten, a youngster on the farm, when Father produced a long steel bar with a flat end, plus a heavy block of wood, and suggested that I help him grease the axle of our big horse drawn farm wagon.

Father shoved the block of wood up near the wagon axle and then shoved the big steel bar with the flat end under the axle, with the bar balanced over the wooden block and sticking out seven or eight feet behind the block.

Then he instructed me to heave all my weight downward on the bar. I found that a young squirt weighing less than 80 pounds, could easily lift a corner of that heavy wagon off the ground and hold it while Pops removed the wheel, 'buttered' the dry axle with a paddle dipped in Black Beauty axle grease and returned the wheel to the axle.

I was slightly more than astonished at the power that big bar gave to a farm youngster barely old enough to milk a cow.

After that one of my favorite pastimes was to lug that heavy steel bar out to a deep dry canyon near our farm where I and several of my friends used it to pry huge boulders loose from the rim of the canyon and watch them go plunging and roaring into the bottom with a huge crash and a cloud of dust. These were rocks we could never have budged by sheer kid muscle power alone.