Letters & Miscellanies

Notes and Responses From Readers

| December/January 2002

Another Crown Engine Found

Remarkably, yet another Crown engine has surfaced since Doug Nash wrote about the Crown Motor Works in the April 2002 GEM. Jamie Coobatis, 34730 Seven Mile Road, Livonia MI 48152-4032, called in to tell us he has a 1/2 HP Crown that, until recently, he thought was an Elgin. Jamie sent us some pictures of his Crown, along with the following e-mail:

'I purchased this engine from my cousin about six years ago. He bought it at an engine swap meet in Cool Springs, Pa. He was with a buddy of his and he told me he had to borrow some cash from his buddy to buy it. His friend wasn't interested in it because he said he already had one! That's how it came to be named an Elgin Comet. He then sold it to me as a Comet.'

Jamie also contacted Doug Nash, and here's what Doug had to say about the photos of Jamie's engine:

'They clearly confirm that you have a genuine Crown 1/2 HP motor. It looks like its flywheel, fan, carburetor, ignition timer and engine castings (including base) are all original. I can't vouch for the originality of the muffler, air-intake filter and fuel tank (all made from brass); in fact I think they are not original since my Gramp's surviving literature doesn't mention anything other than iron for those components. The oiler on the side of the cylinder and the grease cup on the side of the crankcase are most likely original, since the original literature mentions them. The spark plug is the correct vintage and could be original. As to the all red color of your engine, I doubt that is original since Gramp was an extremely modest and very conservative person and would never have painted anything bright red. Remember, he was a contemporary of Henry Ford, who supposedly told buyers they could buy his cars in any color they liked, as long as it was black!'

Talking with Jamie, it turns out the gas tank is not original and was in fact made from an old fire extinguisher. But, Jamie clearly has a Crown engine, and he thinks he might know of yet another that, like his, was thought to be an Elgin Comet. Stay tuned, the hunt for surviving Crown engines is far from over. -Editor

Ignition Systems

I enjoyed your excellent article on ignition systems in the October 2002 edition, and I thought some additional theory would be helpful, especially to explain the purpose of that mysterious capacitor (or condenser) that is always wired across the ignition points.