Post Cards from the Past

| August/September 2003

24-30 HP Engine

In addition to a collection of gas engines, engine man and GEM regular John Davidson has also amassed an interesting collection of literature related to old iron. Among the items in John's collection are old post cards featuring gas engines, such as the ones shown here.

Vexingly, few of the cards have any identification, leading to more than a little head scratching when it comes to figuring out engine identities some 100 years later.

Take, for instance, the post card on this page. On the back it says simply 'Post Card,' with corresponding spaces for the sender's notes, the receiver's address and the necessary postage stamp for mailing. That's it. No printer's mark, no copyright' note, nothing.

This obviously huge engine was clearly no featherweight, as evidenced by the team of eight horses pulling it through surrounding hilly country to some unknown site. The distinctive-looking crank guard surely provides some clue to the engine's origin, and a close look reveals the engine's enormous crankshaft with its throw at 12 o'clock, the connecting rod's huge end cap clearly visible.

The engine on the following page presents a similar mystery. The back of the post card for this engine is as with the first; blank except for the afore-mentioned spaces. And with the exception of the barely visible number '2' stamped into the front right leg of the engine frame, no markings are to be found on this single-cylinder, side crank engine.

To some measure this engine looks built up, a crude special of some sort, but it was evidently working for a living, as suggested by the wagon load of corn standing behind it.