1231 Banta’s Creek Road, Eaton, Ohio 45320
This month we have a couple of nice photos; the first is of a
very nicely restored half-breed engine built by the Wise Machine
Company and restored by Dean and Jeff Kelly of Geneva, Indiana. For
those who may not be familiar with engines commonly known as
half-breeds: they are engines which were originally steam powered.
Usually the bed plate is the original steam equipment, and at one
point, the owner has purchased a conversion kit from one of the
many builders of these conversions. (See the illustration of the
Bessemer version, half-breed). The steam cylinder would be removed,
and the new gas engine block attached to the existing bed-plate,
rods, journals and flywheel. Sometimes a heavier flywheel would be
installed on one side to give the extra momentum, which is
beneficial to an internal combustion engine.
During the era when operators of the oil fields were discovering
that natural gas could be utilized as an engine fuel rather than
allowing it to escape as a useless by-product, it became a very
popular practice to convert the steam pumpers into natural
gas-burning internal combustion engines, rather than to spend the
extra money to repair and maintain an aging boiler and steam
The last photo is of a half-breed engine owned and restored by
Ron Trent of Daleville, Indiana. Note larger flywheel on its side
and the name ‘Oil City Boiler Works’ on the bed-plate.
If anyone has something that he feels would be of interest
concerning Oil Field engines, please feel free to send it to me and
we’ll get it into the column. Also, if you would like a free
membership in the Oil Field Engine Society, ‘O.F.E.S.’
please call or write.