In response to a reader request from Bill Honey last year, we ran an informal survey of gas engine owners (see GEM April 1993, P. 38), to glean some information on the relative rarity of different types of gas engines. For those of you who may not remember the survey, we requested make, model, type of cooling, fuel, and ignition for each engine, and region where the collector was located. We took in information on over 2,000 engines from nearly 200 individual collectors. Much of what we found will be no surprise to the experienced collector.
The first thing we learned was that our form was really flawed. We had no specific place to put 'horsepower,' so that ended up in the 'model' slot or the 'comments' place. And, 'model' of course, meant different things to different people: for some it was the letter designation( like Z, or N); for some, the name or orientation (like 'phantom four' or 'vertical') and for others, the horsepower. This meant that our information is not always comparable, but we are able to discern a few rather interesting facts from this experiment.
Please keep in mind that we have made no attempt to combine groups by manufacturer or distributor we merely list the 'make' as it was filled out by the individual who sent in the form. Thus, engines listed as 'International' are not combined with those called 'McCormick Deering,' and 'Economy' is limited to engines listed as 'Economy' regardless of manufacturer, etc. Also, numerous engines were listed as 'Bull Dog' or 'Little Jumbo,' without reference to manufacturer. A few engines are of foreign manufacturer, and spelling may have been misinterpreted!
The eleven most numerous makes among collectors overall: (50 or more)
Briggs & Stratton
Fuller & Johnson
The next category of makes would be engines which were mentioned more than 10 times, but fewer than 50:
|Root & Vandervoort|
The next category of makes would be engines which we might consider as 'medium rare,' those for which there was more than one record, but fewer than 10:
|Atlas King Bee|
Bates & Edmonds
|Ruston Hornsby||Sallie Saw|
|Termaat & Monahan||Thermoil|
|Union Giant||Van Duzen|
In what we might call the very rare category, we found the following 'makes', those which were listed only one time. You'll recognize that some of these engines are definitely not rare, they just were not reported much because, for example, they might be tractor engines, or might be more typically known by a different name.
|Allman Kit||Lalley Light Plant|
|Arthur Colton||Lockwood Ash|
|Atlas Scraper Co.||Mainwarings & Havens|
|Beeman||Mayhew Light Plant|
|Bendix||Metz & Weiss|
|Busy Bee||Moteur Vander Common|
|Campbell Iron Works||Motogo Marine|
|Challenge Lil Dandy||Oil City|
|Chicago Flexible Shaft||Oil Well Supply|
|Christensen||Old War Horse|
|Clark||Ontario Wind Engine|
|Clark & Norton||Ordway|
|Clarke||Orr &. Sembower|
|Columbus Machine Co.||Otto|
|Cook||Parlin & Orendorff|
|Duro||Secord & Orr|
|Ericsson Hot Air||Spence H M|
|A. B. Farquhar||St. Albans|
|Frost King Jr.|
|Goold Shapley Muir||Timmer|
|Gray Marine||Turner Mfg. Co.|
|Hoag||Vim Motor Co.|
|Holland||Walter Dunn Motor|
|Holt Light Plant||Works|
|Iron Horse Engine||Wells|
|J. J. Raway||Williams Machine Co.|
|John Lauson||Winpower Gonsot|
|John Smyth||Wiscona Pep|
|Kelly Hot Ball||Wonder Marine|
We asked respondents to include their region so that we could see whether there were regional patterns other than those one might expect. Unfortunately, the total response was not sufficient to establish any true regional trends. It's safe to say that engines that were not widely produced often found most of their customers fairly close to home.
With regard to the relative rarity of engines by cooling system, and ignition, here is what we found:
Nearly half the engines were hopper cooled, about 10% air cooled and 10% tank cooled. We received no cooling data for 387 replies; only 29 were screen cooled. Gasoline was of course, the most frequently used fuel, other fuels amounted to little. Ignition was most frequently achieved by a magneto. Only 83 engines were sideshaft.
In any case, we are grateful to Bill Honey for his idea, for we did enjoy tabulating the data and learning something about the relative rarity of gas engines. We heard from less than 1% of our subscribers, so this experiment is far from definitive. The average number of engines per respondent is over 10.