More on the Hettinger Engine Company


| July/August 1993

7964 Oakwood Park Ct. St. Michaels, Md 212663.

I must begin with a note about the proper pronunciation of Hettinger. The-inger of the name is pronounced as in singer, not with a hard G.

My Hettinger article in the December, 1991 issue of GEM was about Henry A. Hettinger and Hettinger marine engines. I concentrated on the marine engines, even though my first contact with the company was by helping to restore a Hettinger stationary engine for the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Another reason for my neglect of them was that I had found no catalog or information on the stationary engines. The make is not mentioned in Wendel's book, American Gasoline Engines Since 1872.

At the end of the article I asked to hear from owners of Hettinger engines. I have heard from a few and all are owners of stationary engines. I have had no letters from owners of Hettinger marine engines. This might be expected, as the marine engines were mainly used on the east coast and cooled by salt water. Retired marine engines are easily destroyed by salt water rust.

The Hettinger hopper-cooled stationary engine in the Museum collection is coupled to a winch by a chain drive and the engine and the winch share a frame of five inch steel channel. The winch was made by the Strandburg Engine Works, Strandburg, Pa. The rig was originally on a barge and used for pile driving. Bore and stroke are 5 x 8 and flywheel diameter is 28 inches. It has an F-head chamber and a non-removable head. Removal of the intake valve cage makes the exhaust valve accessible. The owner had installed a Schebler carburetor instead of the Hettinger mixing valve. Hit-or-miss governing is by a pivoted weight on the flywheel hub. The cam gear has a contact for battery ignition via a vibrator coil. 'Hettinger Engine Co., Bridgeton, NJ' is cast in raised letters around the top of the hopper. The nameplate gives a serial number of 1300 and lists three patent dates: Nov 28, 1906, March 7, 1908, and March 10, 1908. I will discuss the patents later in this article. The restored engine ran very well.

One letter was from Jim Coombs and George A. Coombs, Jr. of Elmer, NJ. They are grandsons of Henry Hettinger and own a tank-cooled Hettinger stationary engine of 5 x 7 bore and stroke. It is coupled to a 'winder,' which is a winch used in oyster dredging.