Little Liz Gasoline Engine


| March/April 1991



Little Liz engine

Richard Thompson's Little Liz at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

R.R. 2, Box 325, Crawfordsville, Indiana 47933.

I hope I have not left too many 'want to knows' out of this information on the Little Liz Gasoline Engine.

I traced down the patent number and located it in the state library. It was filed October 4, 1907, serial #395,886. This number is also in C.H. Wendel's En cyclopedia of American Gasoline Engines Since 1872, patent #883,688. The picture of the patent shows an upright cylinder engine (vertical). So this means that Birch & Birch had to make a change to a horizontal cylinder type engine before it went on the market. The change had to be made sometime between the patent date of 1907 and 1926, a lot of time! I could not find out much on Liz during that time.

This brings me to a little history on the Birch family. Birch & Birch that made the Little Liz were cousins, not brothers. Perhaps I should go back further in time.

This whole story started back in the 1800's, possibly late 1800's, starting with Birch Brothers Wabash Machine Works, located on Wabash Street of Crawfordsville, Indiana. There were three brothers, but only William M. and James Birch were proprietors of Wabash Machine Works. Wabash Machine Works was all owned and operated by the Birch family. Their sons and daughters also were in the business (a family business).

Later, approximately in 1892-1895, somewhere between these years, the business moved to 1001-1003 College Street. This is when John Hayes Birch (son of William M. Birch) and John Henry Birch (son of James Birch) were managers and owners of Birch & Birch Machine Works (remember, they were cousins and not brothers).