Parsell & Weed Engine

| January/February 1994

  • Parsell and Weed Engine

  • Parsell and Weed Engine

3678 North Ridge Road, Lockport, New York 14094

The pictured engine is a full size HP Parsell and Weed reproduction. Plans for the engine were obtained from the 1900 book Gas Engine Construction written by Henry Parsell and Arthur Weed. This period publication illustrated detailed construction steps from the making of patterns to machining of parts. Originally offered in 1900, this engine was sold two ways: either as a complete running assembly, or as a rough casting set, requiring machining. A mechanically inclined person could even buy the book, fabricate castings, and machine an engine himself.

The builders of this engine were able to locate a set of unfinished cast iron castings and a first edition of the book showing construction step by step. Several patterns were made for the brass castings, such as the connecting rod ends, rocker arm and valve cages. Numerous corrections were made to the original prints, as several 'questionable dimensions' were found. The engine is in essence an exact duplication of the original built 93 years ago. A couple of subtle improvements were incorporated by the builders such as o-ring seals and an improved piston.

Several distinguished features stand out, the first of which is a pair of center mounted flywheels. Secondly, the governing mechanism, which was found on a few different engines from that era, but never really became successful. An other unique trait is the cylinder and water jacket construction. A thin brass cylinder containing the water and a cast iron sleeve were sandwiched between two cast iron end collars, one of which the head was mounted to.

Propane is the fuel of choice for this engine; natural gas works equally as well. Ignition is accomplished by high tension coil and spark plug. Governing is of the hit and miss type, functioning by inertia movement of a weighted spring loaded arm, which follows a notch cut into the push rod. As the speed increases, the movement of this arm changes, catching a detent on the rock arm, holding it open.

Construction of this engine and an identical twin were made from Fall 1991 to Fall 1992 by John Rex, Chelmsford, Massachusetts and Wayne Grenning, Lockport, New York.


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