Internal Combustion Engine History: Two Interesting Engines

An English engineer with a declared interest in internal combustion engine history discusses his 1933 oil engine and an acquaintance's 1907 gas engine.

| January/February 1968


A wartime need for scrap metal obliterated many of the machines that would have provided living links to internal combustion engine history in England. This 1933 Avelinq & Porter Roller owned by A. G. Walford of Colchester in Essex, England is one of the few of its kind left. 


I am an engineer connected with the engine industry, and am interested in internal combustion engine history and development.

Here in England many societies, clubs, and individuals are actively engaged in the acquisition, restoration, and preservation of steam traction engines, road rollers, etc., but by comparison with the activities of gas engine enthusiasts in the United States, little has been seen of such activities in England. There are a few people here with good collections of old farm tractors, but it would appear that war time scrap drives eliminated vast numbers.

In 1964, I purchased a 1933 10 ton oil engined road roller. Although this machine is relatively modern, it is almost unique, as its power unit is a single cylinder Blackstone oil engine. This roller was probably one of the last to be produced by Aveling and Porter of Rochester, before amalgamation with Barford Perkins of Peterborough, to form Aveling Barford Ltd of Grantham.

The engine of the roller is quite large, of 7-inch bore and 14-inch stroke, built on gas engine principles. The connecting rod and crank are enclosed by a sheet metal cover.

The engine is in fact a low compression diesel, starting from cold being assisted by an igniter. Rotation of the engine for starting is produced by compressed air stored at 400 PSI in seamless bottles which are refilled by back charging from the engine.

Fuel is injected by Carters patent spring injection system, consisting of the injector block mounted on the cylinder head, and a low pressure metering pump operated by an eccentric on the camshaft.