How Your Hobby Started Part XXIV

| January/February 1973

6 HP Lightning Engine

Ruben Michelson

3904 47th Avenue S., Seattle, Washington 98118.

The ingenious ideas of some of the pioneer inventors of internal combustion engines were on the verge of basic principles of design that would have advanced the economic and mechanical features by many years had they had the conception to apply these experimental devices to practical use.

One of these mechanical parts commonly used on nearly all of the horizontal single cylinder style engine was the slide or side arm or rod that is necessary to operate the valves and igniter.

The development of this idea had numerous inventors using the side rod at an early date. John Charter's patent of 1883 used two side rods that were operated by eccentrics on the main crankshaft. One made the rotary valve system revolve, and one on the opposite side of the cylinder operated another valve. The function was different from the sideshaft found on Otto's engines of 1887.

In John Charter's patent of 1884, again he used two side arms and a rocker shaft to operate an opposed piston to the main power piston in the same cylinder. This auxiliary piston was not a power function of the engine, however the entire idea was one of the most advanced designs found today in large opposed piston diesel engines.

Had Charter only realized the possibilities of such an engine with no cylinder heads to leak, he would have invented the basic idea of modern diesel engines, some twenty to thirty years before the idea was put into present day use.