I have recently acquired a 40-page booklet on Reeves Gasoline Engines, printed about 1912, entitled 'The Reeves'.
1448 Franklin St., Columbus, Indiana 47201
In 1888 Marshall T. Reeves, Girnie L. Reeves and Milton O. Reeves incorporated the 'Reeves Pulley Company', beginning the manufacture of wood split pulleys. Later they earned a world wide reputation for the manufacture of variable speed transmissions, machinery and appliances. As early as 1903 they began the manufacture of automobile engines. Later appreciating the broader and more promising field for stationary engines they diverted this development into farm engines, which the refinement and accuracy of manufacture is not found in the ordinary gasoline engines.
With the Reeves speed changing device the speed of the engine may be reduced when only little power is required and high speed is unnecessary, and the speed can be changed while the engine is running.
The Reeves gasoline engine was built in several sizes 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 12 HP (at first they built an experimental 1? HP and then at a later date they built a 16HP).
The Reeves 1 and 2 HP size is the same in general design and construction as all other sizes differing in only four respects as indicated below.
Cylinder and water hopper are cast with base. Cylinder head is removable, but is not water jacketed, the air cooled fins keep it cool. Connecting rod bushing at wrist pin are poured instead of die cast babbitt. Flywheel hubs are cast solid and keyed to shaft.
Another important fact is about the flywheels. The flywheels on the larger engines were sufficiently heavy to give the engine momentum and make it run perfectly at all times.
The hubs are split and the wheels fastened to the shaft by means of keys and compression bolts, this enabled them to bore the hole the same size of the shaft then spring the hub open and put the wheel in place.
The governor is of a hit and miss type gear driven from the crankshaft with a third gear driving a set of ball governors so when they open the pin is pushed outward against the detent arm causing the cam push rod to lock and hold the exhaust valve open.
This causes the intake valve to remain open so no gas can enter the cylinder. Until the engine slows down, the governor ball closes down and relieves the pressure of the governor pin against the detent, which releases the catch and allows the exhaust valve to close and the intake valve to open by suction admiting a charge of gas to enter the cylinder.
The governor also controls the operation of the igniter allowing it to stand idle except when a charge of gas is drawn into the cylinder to be ignited. This saves the batteries and is one of the important economical features of the Reeves. The igniter is make and break type used in connection with dry cells or magnetos.
All engines were equipped with a set of dry cells, switch, wire and spark coil and a neat strong box for same. When it was desired they furnished the magneto at extra cost
They used the famous Lukenheimer Mixer. All fuel enters the cylinder through the mixer and is thoroughly atomized and mixed with the exact amount of air to utilize every atom of gas and thus produce the greatest power.
The Reeves gasoline engine was finished in a rich brilliant red, nicely striped in gold with neat scolls at the corners and the name of 'The Reeves' across the water hopper in gold. The side and face of the flywheel are royal blue. There was also scroll work on the oil shield. Notice the natural colors on enclosed picture, also notice the centerfold picture with the Reeves features in it.
There were many other stories and features mentioned in the booklet, such as 'The American Farmer is the King Bee', 'The Farm Bay'-'Give him a chance, the farm boy is really the fellow who is doing about 95% of the big jobs in the worlds work'. There is a chapter on how 'The Farmers Wife and Daughter's Day is never done'. In short, just track the little bunch of gristle you call your wife through her daily pace of forty eight hours and see how she really spends her time. With the Reeves conveniently placed, she pours the cream into a modern churn, turns on the power, settles herself into a rocker and lets the Reeves do the rest. When she is through with this she tumbles the clothes into a revolving washer and again calls the Reeves to her rescue. If she wants a good cold drink of water, Reeves hands it out. Best of all, Reeves never gets tired!'
The most popular one and two HP seem to have been the most unprofitable. At the end of 1914 the directors recommended that this branch of the business be closed out 'as rapidly as possible'. In 1918 the gasoline business was offered for sale to Cumming Machine Company of Munster, Ohio.
I own a 2HP Reeves engine that was used in the water system many years in a greenhouse, here in Columbus, Indiana. I am presently making a 1/3 scale model.
Reeves, now 'Reliance Electric' is holding a 100th Anniversary celebration on June 12, at the Reeves plant.