READERS’ REVIEWS

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'Day' Engine from the book.

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The following reviews are offered by our subscribers and do not
represent opinions of Gas Engine Magazine or its staff.

Joseph Day and the Development of the Two-Stroke Internal
Combustion Engine, by Hugh Torrens.

The book is 8′ x 8′ soft covers, 24 pages, 7
illustrations. Published 1991 by Bath Industrial Heritage Trust,
Ltd., Julian Road, Bath, BA1 2RH England. Price in England 3.95.
This is $6.09 (US) or $7.72 (Canadian) at the present rate of
exchange. Obtainable air mail with a Visa account number from
Cam-den Miniature Steam Service, 13 High Street, Rode, Somerset,
BA3 6NZ England.

A few years ago, I visited the Science Museum in London where
Joseph Day was said to be the inventor of the two-port, two-cycle
engine. Many thousands of two-port, two-cycle engines were built as
marine engines in the U.S.A. and Canada, so I wondered how that had
been done without infringing on Day’s patent. Day had obtained
a British patent in 1891. It was also said that William Cock was
the inventor of the three-port, two-cycle engine.

I later wrote to the Museum with some questions. Peter D.
Stephens, Curator, sent copies of the Day and Cock patents and told
me of Professor Hugh Torrens who was then writing a book about
Joseph Day.

I found that Day had obtained U. S. patent 543,614 (July 30,
1895) on the two-port design and Cock had U. S. patent 544,210
(Aug. 6, 1895) on the three-port. Cock’s patent was assigned to
Joseph Day. Since then, I have corresponded intermittently with
Prof. Torrens as I had long desired to learn just who actually
invented the two-cycle crankcase-scavenged engine. Meanwhile, Lyle
Cummins pointed out to me U. S. patent 386,211 on the two-port
engine by Lewis H. Nash of Brooklyn, New York, was granted in 1888,
thus predating Day.

Hugh Torrens’ booklet is interesting reading. Day certainly
was a versatile engineer and entrepreneur. He was the fourth son of
a famous London judge, Sir John C. F. Day. One of the first
students to enter the School of Practical Engineering at the
Crystal Palace in London, 1873-1874, Day served an apprenticeship
at Stothern & Pitt, an engineering firm in Bath. That company
built a great variety of cranes. The booklet tells how Day started
his own engineering firm in 1878 and designed a new waterworks for
the city of Bath.;

Day wanted to develop a gas engine, while avoiding the
four-cycle principle, as there had been constant litigation in
England because of the Otto patent. The two-cycle engine with
crankcase scavenging was the result, and he obtained a British
patent in 1891.

There is some doubt as to whether Day was the first to build a
two-port, two-cycle engine, but there is no doubt that Day did
important development work on two-cycle engines and was an early
manufacturer of them.

William Cock was employed by Day and Cock’s patent was
assigned to Day. The booklet tells how, in 1906, Day licensed at
least twelve U. S. manufacturers to build three-port engines.

Hugh Torrens is a professor of geology at the University of
Keele in Staffordshire. His research on Joseph Day is under the
auspices of the Centre for the History of Science and Technology at
the University. He recognizes that Day cannot be given total credit
for the invention of the two-cycle engine. Recently he gave a talk
in Vienna entitled The Simultaneous Invention of the Two-Stroke
Engine. The four simultaneous inventors were Day in England,
Sohnlein in Germany, and the aforementioned Nash as well as Sintz
in the U.S.A.

Lyle Cummins, author of the excellent book, Internal Fire, wrote
the fore-ward for the booklet.

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