Half-Scale Gardner Model 0 Build – Part 1 of 2

Peter Rooke starts a new project, but instead of restoring an old engine, Peter builds a Gardner Model 0 from a kit of castings.

| December/January 2019

  • Peter Rooke’s half-scale Gardner Model 0.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The details of a hot tube, which uses a heated tube to ignite fuel to initiate combustion.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Individual casting pieces for the Gardner scale engine.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Machining the base for the crankshaft bearings.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Checking bearing alignment.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Boring the cylinder block for the liner.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Cylinder block with liner fitted and faced off.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Ready to press the broach through to cut the flywheel keyway.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The piston with wrist pin.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The almost finished crankshaft.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Finishing the connecting rod on the lathe.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The finished connecting rod with bearings.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The air inlet for the valve chest.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The valve chest before after machining.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Hot tube fitted to the valve chest.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The hot tube chimney and cap.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The Gas burner for the hot tube.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The assembled valve chest, burner and hot tube
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The piston rings were made from a piece of the cylinder liner.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Splitting the rings
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The finished piston rings.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Setting the rings.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The finished piston with rings on the connecting rod.
    Photo by Peter Rooke

Scale Gardner Model 0

Manufacturer: Alyn Foundry, North Wales, U.K.
Year: N/A
Serial No.: 2292
Horsepower: 3/4 hp @ 450rpm (full-size engine)
Bore & stroke: 1-3/8in x 2in
Flywheel: 9-1/2in
Ignition: Hot tube
Governing: Volume
Cooling: Tank-cooled
Weight: 39lb

Gardner background

In 1868, Lawrence Gardner founded a business working out of the common basement of four row houses in the Stretford area of Manchester, England. The business started trading as Machinists and General Engineers, but before long started to develop a range of products including sewing machines, coffee roasters and dentists’ chairs. On Lawrence’s death in 1890, his sons took over the business and formed L. Gardner & Sons.

The firm moved to larger premises, and started building A.E. & H. Robinson hot air engines under license until around 1914. The experience gained with these engines prompted the design and building of an internal combustion engine. The first engine, called No. 1, was built in May 1894. When coupled with a small generator it was used to light a room at the works. The first Type 0 engine was built in May 1895. It was rated at 0.55 hp at 450rpm, and the bore size was later increased to give 3/4 hp.

Oil vaporizer engines came later, and the company continued to expand its range of engines, which were also used to power automobiles and trucks, as well as for marine use. Production of new engines ceased in 1990.

The castings for this model engine were purchased many years ago from Alyn Foundry (now out of business) and had been left sitting on a shelf in the workshop without being finished. Although Alyn no longer produces these castings, a few years back it was rumored that the Anson Engine Museum, Cheshire, U.K., might produce a few castings from the original patterns.

A note on hot tubes

A hot tube is exactly what it sounds like: a thin-wall tube with a closed end. The tube is heated by a blowlamp or an integral burner, and surrounded by a chimney that’s generally insulated to some extent to prevent heat loss. Hot tubes are mounted upright on a cylinder or cylinder head adjacent to the combustion chamber.

The hot tube is heated to anything from dull dark red to bright orange, depending on the needs of a particular engine. On some engines, the tube had to be really hot to get the engine started. Then, by adjusting the burner flame, it was allowed to cool down a little to both extend the life of the hot tube and save fuel for the heat source.


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