I Was Really Hooked!

| August/September 1988

9056 Riverside Drive, Brighton, Michigan, 48116

I've been into this hobby since 1978. I got started when I built a 1/3 scale Case traction engine from castings by W. Andres in Duluth, Minnesota. I had only seen one or two real engines in my whole life, at that time. Then to my delight I discovered there were actually shows with lots of these displayed and run. Wow! That's when I saw my first hit and miss engine and old tractors. I was really hooked!

I'm a machinist by trade so making parts wasn't too difficult and I've made parts for several friends, also. I built a couple engine models in 1979 but didn't get really into model engines until three years ago. Since then I've built about 10 engines every winter. This past winter I built more interesting models to me-some are variations of common casting sets with different twists, like the Domestic sideshaft. The stovepipe should have a spark plug and timer but I have a thing about spark plugs-I collect 'em but I don't put 'em in engines. So when I built the stovepipe I made it into a type A, with ignitor. I used my 1? HP Type A for dimensions and a scale. It came out right well, I think. What do you think?

Then I built the Wittes. Here was another spark plug job. But to install ignitors would change it even more than the Domestic. I had to make a different cam to trip the ignitor on the walking beam trip and exhaust lever. The ignitor is on the front so I had to extend the rocker arm (or walking beam) around the front. The other I decided to make a sideshaft to trip the ignitor and I also made a spark saver to keep the ignitor from tripping on the missing cycles! The sideshaft is on the back side of the engine. Lots of moving parts and they both run excellently. I spent two weeks on each model. The last one I'll detail is the inverted Webster. I acquired a 3HP late last summer and I was really obsessed with building a model of this one but no castings were available. So, I just decided I'd scale it myself. It's about 3/8 scale (I'm not into really small models) with a 2' bore and 2?' stroke. Main frame was a 300 lb. block of solid cast iron, which weighed 38 lbs. when I got done with it. The ignitor fired on the opposite side from the valve train. I used flywheels from a Witte kit but scratch-built everything else. It's 16' tall. My original has hot tube so it didn't have the extra gears as shown in Charles Wendel's book. It runs perfectly and took 15 days to build. I'm duplicating it for a very good friend of mine.

I build models to sell also but it's a lot of work!! I've built 7 Associated models, 3 Fuller and Johnson ? scales, 7 Fuller and Johnson 1/3 scales, 3 Duplex steam pumps, several steam engine models, a New Holland ? scale, an Aermotor (too small for me on this one).

I installed the older governor mechanism with flyballs or the cam shaft. I gotta keep busy! All engines are ignitor fired.