Old Charter

| May/June 1986

Charter engine

R.R. 4, Box 18, Osage, IA 50461

These 'before' and 'after' shots are of the latest addition to my collection. Although I am very glad to have it, I would rather it had been under different circumstances. I had known of this engine for many years and had encouraged the former owner to just let us get it cleaned up and running. He seemed to always have other more pressing activities. Early in 1984, I approached him about my purchasing it. He just grinned and said he would never sell it. He didn't either. Early in 1985 he passed away rather unexpectedly. It seems that he had told his wife to give me first chance at it.

It had belonged to Harold Marken, of Manly, Iowa, and was purchased new by Harold's uncle around 1910. It had been in that one location since that time. It had been blocked up, wheels removed, between two buildings, then an enclosure was built over it. It was used for many years to grind feed and elevate grain. We moved it from its resting place on April 2, 1985.

The brass plate reads 'The Charter, Sterling, Ill.'no mention of HP or RPM as is found on most engines. It is, however, 8 HP. As far as I have noticed over the years, there has been only one other picture of an actual Charter engine in this publication, that being of a large single flywheel, hot tube engine mounted on a truck. According to Wendel's book (American Gasoline Engines Since 1872), Charter produced many sizes and shapes of high quality engines.

The one thing that seems to set these engines apart is the unique fuel system. I have seen it described as sort of injector. That is not the case. It is no more than a pointed plunger in a body which extends into the intake pipe. It opens at the proper time to allow fuel into the air flow. It then closes, and unhooks for the coast period. The fuel is fed by gravity to a metering valve, which limits the flow.

The real beauty of my engine is that it is complete, and in excellent condition. I would like to hear of any other Charter engines which have been 'rescued' from scrap.