My Wall Engine (s)

By Staff
1 / 3
2 / 3
The steam model.
3 / 3

7625 College Park Drive Brooklyn Park, Minnesota 55445

The story of this model engine could be a long one, if  I
only knew the whole story to tell. But, since I don’t, maybe it
will be short enough to print! I have been trying to collect a few
pieces of ‘Old Iron,’ and at the same time put a few select
pieces of machine shop equipment in my garage with limited space
not easy, as you all know. I bought a rotary table for my mill from
a friend in the used tooling business. I didn’t know the
original owner, but was told that the tool had only been used once.
The owner had machined one part for a Model J Dusenberg that he was

Some time later, I bought a stationary steam engine through this
same friend in the tooling business, again not knowing the original
owner. I was told that the steam engine was originally on a steam
ship on Lake Superior, just a couple of hundred miles north of
here. No connection, right?

Some time later, my friend in the tooling business called up (my
wife hates when he calls, because I always end up spending money)
and wanted to know if I were interested in buying a couple of model
engine kits. This has always been in my mind, because they take up
less space than the ‘real thing,’ so I told him that I was
absolutely interested! He gave me the owner’s name and phone
number, so I called him and made an appointment.

After introductions, etc. (I took my wife along and she was
guarding the check book), we went into his basement to look at the
engine kits. After studying the bunch of parts, assemblies, etc. of
the engine which is pictured here (more on this later), I noticed a
picture of an antique car on his wall. I asked him what make and
model it was, and you probably guessed, it was a Model J Dusenberg
which he had purchased in 1961 and totally restored to show room
condition. This man, whose name is Elmer Franzen, was fast becoming
a very good friend! He was discovered, after much talk, to be the
original owner of the items mentioned above that I had purchased.
Elmer had retired from his own machine shop and had taken up some
interesting hobbies.

I did purchase the first model, pictured here, from him. Yes,
you guessed right again, I purchased the other model kit (which I
have yet to start on), plus a model airplane engine, a Wankel, and
he also donated a two cylinder steam engine which he started when
he was about 10 years old, but never finished. It fits in the palm
of your hand, and I now have that running, since it was only
missing the valve mechanism.

Elmer had purchased the model two-cylinder engine from the same
man that he bought the Duisenberg from in 1961. On his way down to
get the Duisenberg, they happened to pass by a golf course, and he
commented to his friend who had gone along to help. ‘Look at
those fools out there chasing that little ball around the
pasture,’ or something like that. More on this later. Anyway,
he put the model engine aside for a later time (after all, he had a
bigger toy to work on). Sometime after he retired, work was started
on the little engine. Unfortunately, or fortunately for me, he got
bit by the ‘golf bug.’ That was the end of his model engine
work! He is now enjoying golf, spending winters in Florida!

When I bought the engine, the crank case halves were finished,
along with the crank, cylinder walls, cooling fins, pistons and
connecting rods. I had a lot of fun, and some challenges, in
finishing the rest of the engine. The four lobed camshaft was most
fun! The carburetor was also a lot of fun, because of a lot of
small fuel passages, and a crab float that was only about
5/8‘ in diameter.

Spark is provided by a 6 volt motorcycle battery connected
through a 6 volt automotive coil, and fired through automotive
points on the cam shaft. Both the battery and coil are contained in
the ‘battery’ box. The fuel tank is made from a large brass
sleeve bearing. I sealed up the ends after machining the surfaces
smooth, and made fittings.

Now by this point, you may be wondering why I haven’t
identified the engine. This is because up until about this point in
the story, I did not know what the engine was! About a year ago, I
wrote GEM and asked for help in finding the identification. Several
of you good readers came to my rescue, and I learned that the
engine was a model of a drone aircraft engine that was used before
and during WWII. That explained the air cooled design, but no
cooling fan. Pilots would use the drone (pilot less airplane) for
target practice while in air combat training for the armed
services. I also learned that the model kit is still available from
Cole’s Power Models in Ventura, California. The only hint I
have on the age of the original design is from the set of blue
prints that came with the kit. The only date here is on the one
page for machining the crankshaft halves and it is 6-24- 32. The
full name and origin of the kit is: ‘The Wall Wizard,’ two
cylinder opposed, 4 cycle gasoline engine, designed and built by E.
A. (Elmer) Wall. The carburetor print gives the address as E. A.
Wall, 900 Fairfield Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. Elmer Wall
apparently marketed several engines, but I have no history on his
company. My friend Elmer Franzen knew one of the sons of Elmer
Wall, but has had no recent contact with him.

It might be interesting to note that the second model that I
purchased from Elmer Franzen is also a Wall engine. It is a 50cc,
four cylinder in-line, four cycle, valve-in-head engine. It has the
same basic carburetor as the one I just completed, and also has an
internal oil pump, and a water pump. This engine was still in its
original carton, wrapped in war newspaper when I got it. It was
shipped from the Wall Factory by the Railway Express Agency on
November 2,1942.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines