Gas Engine

By Staff
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Petrol (gasoline) engines on display at Stapehill.
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An F.F. Type L1, serial #11382, 1-2 HP. This single cylinder four stroke water cooled engine was built in Denmark in 1944.
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Burrell engine #3812 at Blists Hill.
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In the tractor area.
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360 HP pumping engine at Tower Bridge, London.
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Campbell gas engine #5685, built in 1906. Used at Berry Bros. Sewage Works in Hudders field, West Yorkshire, and now on display at Anson Museum.
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Alfred Bernard tries to figure out how this 1924 steam lorry, manufactured by W. Taskers & Sons, Ltd., is operated during a visit to the Hampshire County Museum. My favorite photo, this really gives a feel for the level of curiosity and excitement shared
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Ron Jarvis, center, answers queries about his working steam models.
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1903 Ivel tractor, 'world's oldest working petrol tractor,' at Stapehill.
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A product of the Frome Engine Co., Frome, England, owned by John Upton
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1929 Robey 35 HP oil engine #45234 at Amberley Chalk Pits Museum. Originally located at the Harwood Road Depot, Little-hampton, where it drove an air compressor to supply an ejector which raised the town's sewage for discharge into the sea.
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Nuffield tractor at Upton's.
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On this page, photos from the Tatton Park 1000 rally. Above left, starting up a 1910 Tangye AA, #19088BR. This engine has magneto ignition, instead of the standard Tangye hot tube, a modification considered safer for use in hazardous areas, such as sawmil
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It was just a year ago, as the August 1993 issue of Gas Engine
Magazine went to press, that a group of 75 gas and steam power
enthusiasts were gathering in airports across the nation (in fact,
across the world, as we had some folks from Canada and from South
Africa), to depart on a two-week excursion tailored specifically to
the interests of the vintage machinery collector.

Our tour was expertly organized by Rob Rushen-Smith, of Wade
Farm Tours, Felixstowe, England. British engine aficionado Alex
Skinner served as consultant engineer to Wade Farm Tours, and
provided valuable input as to what a group of traveling American
old iron buffs should be shown in Britain. All agreed that Rob,
Alex, and the Wade Farm staff had done a ‘bang-up’ job in
selecting the sites we would visitwe didn’t have one wasted
moment during the whole fortnight. I’d like to say that each
day brought something new and exciting to look at, but that’s
not true; each day actually brought something old and exciting.
Rob, a genial young man, also served as one of our escorts for the
tour, assisted by Jackie Coggan, a gregarious, enormously
knowledgeable, and lovely lady who charmed everyone on the tour.
Jackie also arranged an ‘escape’ or two for the ladies on
the trip who had seen enough old iron for a while.

Our tour began with a visit to the British Engineerium at Hove,
near Brighton. The Engineerium is housed in the former Goldstone
Pumping Station, built in 1866 and expanded in 1876 to supply
residents of the surrounding area with water for drinking,
sanitation, and all domestic needs. By 1975, the station had fallen
into disrepair, but was rescued by Jonathan Minns and a dedicated
corps of preservationists who have restored several buildings in
the complex. The old coal storage building currently serves as an
exhibition hall, where an extensive collection of steam models are
displayed, along with a working 1859 Corliss design engine built by
Crepelle &. Garand of Lille in France. We also toured the
boiler room, workshops, and the No. 2 engine house, which houses a
250 HP jet condensing Woolf Compound Engine built by Eastons &
Anderson. This engine, which is beautifully restored and was put
back into steam on Good Friday 1976, is capable of pumping 150,000
gallons per hour to a mean height of 250 feet.

While at the Engineerium, we were welcomed and treated to an
enthusiastic lecture by founder Jonathan Minns, which was greatly
enjoyed despite the fact that many in the group were struggling
valiantly against the effects of jet lag! We were soon enough back
to our hotel in Winchester for a good night’s rest.

Our first full day of touring began with a drive through the New
Forest, a region once reserved as a royal hunting ground, parts of
which are now open to the public for recreational use. A large
population of wild horses roams the area, much like they do in the
Chin-coteague/Assateague area of Virginia on America’s east
coast.

Our drive brought us to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu
(pronounced byoo-lee). Established by the current Lord Montagu to
honor his father, John, Second Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, who was a
motoring pioneer, the museum has grown into what must be one of the
finest collections of historic automobiles extant. Hundreds of
well-kept veteran (up to December 1918) and vintage (January
1919-De-cember 1930) cars are on display, as are commercial
vehicles, sports cars, speed record breakers, racing cars, and
post-war mass market automobiles. The display is complemented by
exhibits of maps, motoring gear, and other items of automobilia
which paint a total picture of the motoring experience in Britain.
There is also a collection of early motorcycles, and several steam
traction engines and road rollers.

A highlight of our visit to the Motor Museum was a look at the
museum’s restoration shops, not generally open to the public.
They are currently working on a DeDion, which is being restored to
carry children around and for use in some of the dramatic
reenactments which the museum frequently stages. Also in the shop
is a 1930 Bentley, which is often used in rallys. It can do 130
miles per hour; it can’t stop at that speed, but it can do
it!

Upon departing Beaulieu, our drive took us through a coastal
area. The Isle of Wight was just visible, and several old wartime
airstrips could be seen in the fields flanking the road. These
strips, once used by returning fighter pilots in World War II, are
now used by local residents as a relatively safe place to teach
their children to drive.

Our next stop was Stapehill Abbey, Crafts, and Gardens. The
focus of our visit here was the ‘Power to the Land’
exhibit, an extensive collection of historic equipment which
illustrates the changes advancing technology and mechanical power
have brought to agriculture. The collection was assembled by John
Moffitt over 25 years, and was acquired by Stapehill’s owners
so that the public could continue to enjoy it after Mr.
Moffitt’s retirement.

The exhibit is part of a complex of craft exhibits, shops, and
gardens housed in a 19th century Cistercian abbey which housed the
Nuns of the Holy Cross Order from the early 1800s to 1990, when the
abbey was purchased by a private owner and the eight remaining
sisters were able to move to a smaller retreat.

On special display were Ron Jarvis’s exquisite models of
early steam engines, including a 1/16 model
of the engines of the 1836 paddle steamer Red Rover, several
1/12 models of steam carriages, and a
1/12 scale 1805 sugarcane mill. Mr. Jarvis
had the models not only on display, but working as well, and said
of the GEM group that we were a good audience and that he’d
never had a group of visitors who a) knew so much about
engineering, and b) didn’t contradict him.

Our day was completed by a trip to the Hampshire County Museum.
We were shuttled to and from our hotel aboard a 29 seater 1949
Bedford OB coach. Our hosts at the museum were Gary Wragg and Ivor
Brown, the men responsible for a great deal of the museum’s
restoration work. In addition to a large collection of agricultural
machinery and engines, the museum also houses archaeological,
photographic, and textile exhibits outlining the county’s
history. Our visit ended with a brief reception complete with tea
and biscuits (cookies).

Next on the itinerary, a trip to the Royal Naval Heritage Museum
and HMS Warrior in the city of Portsmouth. Warrior, restored in
1979 as she would have appeared during her first commission in
1861-64, was, at the time of her launching, the largest, fastest
and most powerful warship in the world, and was noted for her
armored citadel. The ship could be powered by sail or steam, or a
combination of both. Power came from a two cylinder, single
expansion Penn trunk steam engine, which at 55 rpm could produce
1,250 HP. Under sail, maximum speed was 13 knots, under steam 14-5
knots, and with both sail and steam she once attained a speed of 17
knots.

It was here in Portsmouth that we were also able to tour HMS
Victory, the flagship of Britain’s finest Admiral, Lord Nelson,
at the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar.

The afternoon was spent at the Amberley Chalk Pits Museum, a
36-acre industrial complex. Normally closed on Tuesdays, which is
when we were there, a devoted bunch of volunteers were on hand to
staff those parts of the museum our group had most interest in,
including several petrol and steam engines.

Our last night in Winchester was made special by a concert in
Winchester Cathedral (right next door to our hotel!). The cathedral
celebrated its 900th anniversary in 1993.

A very special highlight of the trip was a day spent at the home
of John Upton, where we were able to view his enormous collection
of engines and vintage tractors. (His inventory included 105
engines on the date of our visit.) Several of his friends also
brought a number of their tractors and engines, making for quite a
gas-up! We were all quite moved by and appreciative of the gracious
hospitality of Mr. Upton and his family, who treated us to a
delicious luncheon in addition to the engine display.

At the Bristol Industrial Museum, we attended an after-dinner
lecture entitled ‘Brunei and Bristol,’ given by curator
Paul Elkin. Brunei, one of the most farsighted of Britain’s
19th century engineers, was a brilliant and fascinating
character.

The talk prepared us for our visit the next day to the s.s.
Great Britain, designed and built by Brunei in Bristol in 1843. She
was the first screw propeller-driven oceangoing ship with an iron
hull. She was designed to be propelled using steam as the primary
power, with auxiliary use of sail to preserve coal when the wind
cooperated. The four cylinder engine could generate over 1,600 HP,
and transferred power to the propeller shaft via a chain drive,
rather than through gears. The ship, rescued from ruin in 1969, is
currently the focus of a massive restoration project.

We were then on to the town of Bath, where we were hosted for
tea by several members of Christ Church. After a tour of the Bath
Industrial Heritage Center, located right next door to the church,
where ‘Mr. Bowler’s Business,’ a late 1800s soda water
factory, has been recreated from original equipment left behind
when the business closed in 1969, we had a bit of time to take in
the other sights of Bath. The town takes its name from the ancient
Roman public baths discovered there. Another top attraction, right
next door to the baths, is the Bath Abbey, a spectacular house of
worship which boasts a breathtaking vaulted ceiling.

A slow-paced day of excursion in Wales, through the Elan Valley
Reservoirs and a ride on the Ffestiniog Railway (a narrow gauge
line traversing 13 miles through the beautifully scenic
slate-mining region near Snow-donia National Park), gave us a bit
of rest before our big day visiting the Tat-ton Park 1000 Engine
Rally. The rally is put on by the Five Counties Vintage Machinery
Organisation, Inc., with major support from the publication
Exchange & Mart; the rally committee is chaired by the able
Percy Gallimore.

Wouldn’t you know, the one day that we planned to be out of
doors all day was the only rainy day we had! But hey, there’s
no stopping 75 engine buffs when there are an estimated 1,000
pieces of old machinery on display!

Until the rain let up, many of us took the opportunity to go on
a guided tour of the Mansion at Tatton Park, the lavish home of
generations of the Egerton family. Built between 1780 and 1813, the
mansion is furnished with original (and exquisite!) family
furnishings and works of art.

The rain slacked off by mid-morning, and we spent hours getting
a look at how the British go about restoring and showing off their
old iron. Advertised as Europe’s largest display of vintage
engines, the show did not disappoint. In addition to the petrol and
gas engines, there were innumerable models, vintage cars, tractors,
motorcycles, and military vehicles to browse around.

One surprise: while taking my first photograph at the rally, I
heard a voice saying, rather loudly in order to penetrate my
concentration, something to the effect that I looked like I was
pretty far from home. Who should I see through my viewfinder? None
other than exhibitor Preston Foster, director of the Coolspring
Power Museum and a fellow Pennsylvanian! Turns out that he has some
English friends, Terry Lines and John Murray, who allow him to
store his 1914 Blackstone 6 HP engine at their place. This is his
fifth year of exhibiting at Tatton Park.

We closed our day at the rally with a visit to the FCVMO
hospitality tent, where we were warmly greeted by rally chairman
and vice chairman Percy Gallimore and George Houghton, and were
presented with exhibitor medallions.

What a busy day! Luckily, we weren’t too tired out to enjoy
a very special Anglo-American Dinner at our hotel that evening,
where we were joined by some of our new British friends for a
delicious meal followed by remarks by the Reflector, Charles
Wendel. After dinner, those who still had the stamina ‘cut some
rug’ to the sounds of the band ‘Mondo Carne.’ (I must
mention that one of the band members had a sister who worked for a
time here in Lancaster, home base of Gas Engine Magazineboy, the
world sure was small on this particular day!)

From the modern beat of rock ‘n roll (albeit gentle rock
‘n roll) the night before, we journeyed back in time the next
morning to the Iron bridge Gorge Museum, birthplace of the
Industrial Revolution. The museum, a World Heritage Site, actually
incorporates a number of sites within several miles of each other
which together illustrate the evolution of industry in England, and
henceforth the world at large.

We started with Coalbrookdale and the Museum of Iron. It was in
the blast furnaces here, in 1709, that ironmaster Abraham Darby
became the first to smelt iron using coke as fuel. Coke was a much
more plentiful fuel than the formerly-used charcoal, and its use
allowed for greater quantities of iron to be produced. Iron from
these furnaces was used to cast the first railway wheels and rails,
the first iron boat, and the first high-pressure steam
locomotive.

It was also here at Coalbrookdale that the world’s first
iron bridge was cast. Erected in 1779, that bridge still stands a
few miles upriver, spanning the Severn River gorge at a town which
has come to be known as Iron Bridge. The use of iron to build
something which, to that time, had always been constructed of wood
or stone, opened the minds of late 18th century
‘imagineers’ to the endless possibilities of this versatile
material.

One of the most fascinating parts of the museum complex is
Blists Hill, a 50 acre open air museum which recreates life in a
circa 1900 town bustling with industry. On site are the remnants of
the Blists Hill blast furnaces, as well as a foundry, and an
ironworks where pig iron was refined into wrought iron, which was
reworked into bar form with a steam hammer in a stamping mill. Lots
of machinery here for us to get excited about, including a few old
steam traction engines roaming around! I could have spent another
day here, just wandering through the shops and buildings and
soaking up the history.

The following day was scheduled as a travel day, and the
itinerary mentioned a stop for refreshments at a place called Anson
Museum. What it didn’t mention was that the Anson Museum was a
treasure trove of stationary engines. Wow! Geoff Challinor and Les
Cawley, leaders of the developing museum, have done a tremendous
job. The collection includes such makes as National, Crossley,
Gardner, Bates and Scholes, Ruston Hornsby, Campbell, Robinson, and
Furnival, all beautifully maintained and most in working order. The
main thrust of the collection is machinery manufactured in and
around Manchester.

The museum also contains an interesting local history display.
And yes, we did get the promised refreshments, which were quite
delicious and hit the spot! The ladies serving up tea were
surprised that we Americans didn’t use very much milk in our
teaand I thought the British didn’t use any!

At first glance one would think that our scheduled stop at
Sandringham, one of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s royal
residences, was put on our tour to give everyone (especially some
of the ladies) a break from all the mechanical ‘stuff we’d
been seeing. On the contrary! While the house itself was of course
grand and beautiful, there was also a museum housing a fine display
of automobiles used by the royal family, some of them classics.

Perhaps the most exciting part of our day at the Queen’s
estate, which spreads over 20,000 acres, was our ride around the
farm, guided by Danny Harvey. Sandringham isn’t just a place
for royal relaxation; it is a working farm, personal property of
the queen, income from which is used for maintenance and upkeep.
The queen herself farms 3,310 acres, while another three-fourths of
the estate is let out to tenant farmers. Crops grown here include
wheat, barley, sugar beets, peas, beans, and quite a bit of
‘pick-your-own’ fruit, including apples, strawberries and
raspberries. The fruit farm also produces a healthy crop of
blackcurrants, which are mechanically harvested.

The queen employs over 100 people here, and has 150 tractors (!)
in her ‘stable.’ Our behind-the-scenes tour included a stop
at the Vehicle and Tractor Maintenance Shop, where we got a look at
one of the farm’s blackcurrant harvesters, and where we
discovered that the Queen owns at least two John Deere
tractors!

We closed our evening with a visit to Thursford, a museum
containing George Cushing’s absolutely, fabulously restored and
beautifully displayed array of steam traction engines, road
rollers, lorries (trucks), and showman’s engines. Thursford
also exhibits, in addition to the steam engines, several petrol
engines, and an incredible collection of mechanical fairground
organs. A mighty Wurlitzer organ, rescued from a moviehouse due for
remodeling, is the centerpiece of the collection, on which resident
organist Robert Wolfe gave a stirring concert during our visit. I
think it was here that I finally was overwhelmed! The gleaming
engines, the earth-shaking music, the flashing lightswhat an
evening!

On to London! In transit, we stopped at Duxford Airfield, one of
the largest aircraft museums in Europe, and part of the Imperial
War Museum. It served as a fighter base for the 8th U.S. Air Force
from 1943-1945, and is the future home of the American Air Museum,
a tribute to the sacrifices of the thousands of American airmen who
flew from British airbases during World War II. In addition to a
large collection of military and civilian aircraft, the museum also
holds an extensive collection of military vehicles, tanks and
artillery.

A nice surprise was provided by a small group of local gasoline
engine collectors who had received permission to have a
‘gas-up’ on the grounds in honor of our- visit.

In London, following a lively half-day tour of the city’s
top attractions, we ended up at the Tower Bridge (what many people
mistakenly think of as London Bridge, which is actually a little
further upriver). While the bridge was closed to traffic during our
visit (due to renovations in preparation for the bridge’s 100th
birthday in 1994), Bridge Master Christopher Stevens and his staff
were gracious enough to open up the engine rooms and historic
machinery exhibits for us. While the machinery for raising the
bridge to allow large ships to pass through was modernized in the
early ’70s, most of the original hydraulics and engines were
left to remain. The bascules which span the center section of the
bridge each weigh 1,200 tons. Steam from four coal-fired Lancashire
boilers, working two at a time, was fed at 75 lbs. psi to one of
two 360 HP pumping engines, which in turn pumped water into the
hydraulic system at ,750 lbs. psi to lift the bascules. Reserve
power was held in accumulators, so that the bascules could be
raised at any time.

While viewing the control room, Doris Thatcher of Branson,
Missouri, and I each had the opportunity to man the lever which
raised and lowered the bridge… oh, the power! Doris’s chance
came when she happily admitted that

she was the oldest woman in our little group; my chance came
when none of the men would admit to that same distinction. (If
anyone has a photo of Doris at the controls, she’d love to have
a copy.)

Our final engine attraction visit was to the Kew Bridge Steam
Museum. Housed in a 19th century pumping station which once
provided water to West London, the museum is home to five Cornish
beam engines, one of which, the ‘Grand Junction 90,’ is
touted as the world’s largest working beam engine. Grand
Junction 90, built in 1845 and boasting a 90 inch diameter
cylinder, was in steam for our visit, as was the museum’s
oldest engine, an 1820 Boulton & Watt ‘West Cornish’
engine, which is capable of pumping 130 gallons on each stroke.

Kew Bridge also features several other working steam engines, a
busy steam engine restoration shop, and its own short line
railway.

Well, all good things must come to an end, and so it was with
our Engine Extravaganza in Britain. To celebrate our last night, we
took a dinner cruise on the Thames on board the Westminster. The
cruise took us past Greenwich, through the Thames Barrier (a modern
engineering marvel erected to protect London from surge tide
flooding), and back to London to view the beautiful skyline and
historic buildings at night.

After our farewells, everyone headed for the airport and
home.

I’ve never been much of a group traveler, preferring to go
off on my own, but I must say that the folks on this particular
trip were a pleasant lot to travel with. I really enjoyed jumping
around from bus to bus each day and getting a chance to mingle with
the group.

I hope, and I believe, that everyone who went on the trip had a
good time and was satisfied that they saw enough vintage machinery.
A good measure of that satisfaction is the fact that quite a few
who traveled to England have already expressed interest in the
continental European tour proposed for 1995.

Yes, we had fun, and the reason why, I believe, was the
unequalled hospitality we were shown by our British hosts and
fellow engine collectors. Everywhere we went we were afforded
special treatment and attention, by which I was astounded and for
which I’m very grateful. I only hope that we here in America
can return the favor to visitors from abroad.

Diplomacy, Sparkplug Style

Cornelius Bergbower, of Bluford, Illinois, on the right in this
picture, took advantage of his time in England by arranging to meet
with his friend and fellow sparkplug collector, David McFeat, of
Surrey, England, at left, for a little trading.

David has been collecting for 14 years, and has perhaps the
largest sparkplug collection in Europe. He and Mr. Bergbower met
several years ago in Hershey, Pennsylvania; David’s been back
to Hershey seven times. He has also traveled to Paris, Belgium, and
Holland in search of unusual specimens.

David makes his living as an engine restorer, but spends quite a
bit of time doing work for the United Nations. In those endeavors
he has served in such troubled areas as Somalia and Bosnia.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines