My Wall Engine (s)

| September/October 1993

Model J Dusenberg Engine

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 restoring.

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.

Kevin McDermott
5/13/2012 1:54:56 AM

I am the great grandson of Elmer wall my grandfather being his only son Robert growing up hearing the stories of Elmer I have alway bin interested in his affairs Elmer wall had a electric car repair shop in Chicago befor the great depration and had designed engines in 1929 he did what he had to to keep food on the table for his family and formed wall engines and castings a compenie he ran from the basement of his houses casting and machining all the engine parts himself with machines driven by