Patent Page: La Verne W. Noyes’ Lighter Engine Base

A new engine base design by La Verne W. Noyes would have allowed manufacturers to dispense of big, heavy bases.

| August/September 2018

As engine size and flywheel diameter increases, so does engine weight and height. Perhaps perceiving this as a limiting factor in the sales of larger engines, in 1914 Aermotor Co. founder La Verne W. Noyes patented a new design of engine base that, ostensibly, freed manufacturers from having to design and cast large – and heavy – bases for engines.

Possibly representing Noyes’ last engine patent (he died in 1919), the patent lays out a very simple scheme for supporting a flywheel engine using a system of cross struts anchored to wooden support beams, with the support beams angled outward along their length to further stabilize the engine. Looking at the drawings and reading the patent, the potential value of Noyes’ design seems obvious. Dispensing with a large and heavy cast base should mean a given manufacturer could produce more engines in a given time frame and at a lower price thanks to savings in time and materials. Those advantages would extend to the purchaser, making engines easier to move and set up. The design was simple, and potentially cost effective.

So did anyone take Noyes up on his design? In a word, no, not even, apparently, Noyes’ own company, Aermotor, which had a successful line of 2-1/2 hp and 5 hp fluted hopper engines and a small, 1 hp 8-cycle pumping engine. As to why no one employed the concept, it might be down to a simple issue of brand identity and perceived value. Further, even if it did have advantages over a cast base, Noyes’ proposal would have required manufacturers to alter their existing designs, requiring new patterns and new castings, which, somewhat ironically in this case, would have meant  more expense. And if no one is complaining about the design of your engine, why change?

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