A Brief Word
Recently we were pleasantly surprised by a package that arrived in the mail. Inside was a beautiful plaque naming ye olde Reflector as an Honorary Member of Early Day Gas Engine & Tractor Association. We are pleased and honored. Our thanks to all those involved!
Many years ago, this writer was instrumental in the formation of Branch 8 of EDGE&TA, here in Iowa and surrounding areas. Subsequently there was a bit of upheaval within the organization, and Branch 8 dropped out to form their own organization. However, we have kept in contact with many of the EDGE&TA people over the years, and admire this group for their foresight and determination in promoting our hobby.
Work continues on assembling the Great Dorset Tour to England in August. We have heard lots of good things about this show, and have always hoped to see it at least once. If you would like to join ye olde Reflector, contact us at Box 257, Amana, IA 52203 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We suppose it was thirty years ago when we commented that most of the 'old engines' had already been dug out of the barns, groves, and junk piles. Now we'll allow that the majority of them have been rediscovered, but still there are engines coming out of those same places. Recently we heard of a 12 horsepower Wisconsin sideshaft that was dug out of a huge junk pile grown over with weeds, snakes, multiflora rose, and the omnipresent mosquitoes. Oh yes, and a small amount of poison ivy too! We doubt that any of the above proved to be a major deterrent though.
Although we haven't yet heard any of the figures, we understand that some of the classic tractors at the recent Ed Spiess Estate auction fetched considerable money. Ed gathered a great many rare tractors, most of them built for a short time after World War II. In the 1946-1950 period there were quite a number of companies that tried getting into the tractor business, and as we know, many of them survived for only a few months, and many others were gone within a year or two. It was a shame, because there were lots of new and innovative ideas that came from these designs.
See adjacent our Photo 5-12 of 'Taylor's Light Farm Tractor.' This illustration came from an early issue of Gas Power of about 1910. We have never found any further information on this photo. . . we don't know if this was simply a homemade tractor, or a prototype of one that was planned for production. In any event, it is an attractive machine for its time.
We don't have a lot of queries this month, but we begin with:
34/8/1 Regarding 34/6/2 R. W. Doss, 5950 Wilson Dr., Huntington, WV 25705 responds that this item is a wood mortise machine. Apparently, those into collecting old wood-working tools also have some problems in figuring out exactly how these machines worked.
34/8/2 Unidentified Plow Q. See the photos of an unidentified plow. There are still traces of orange paint on the beams, and on the back of the moldboards is the mark, M RD Plow. Any help would be appreciated. Herbert E. Mann, 2588 W. 250 S., Warsaw, IN 46580-8149.
34/8/3 Information Needed Q. Can you supply the year, model, and paint color of the following engines? Witte 10 HP, s/n 92992; Hercules JK 1?-2 HP, s/n 4160; Fuller & Johnson NC, 2 HP, s/n 167526. Kevin McWhoner, 32391 Olympia Rd.,Minier, JL 61759.
A. The Witte was built in 1932; color is DuPont 5204 Forest Green. Hercules is DuPont 1317 or 7666 Green; F&J is 1928; color is DuPont B4086 or Sherwin Williams 6780 Green.
34/8/4 Information Needed Q. See photo 4 A of a Waterloo Boy 2 HP engine, s/n 160187, that I just acquired. Photo 4B is of a 2 HP Rock Island, s/n 52890. I would like to get more information on both of these engines. Any help would be appreciated. Charles E. Eales, 5009 Bedford Dr., Alton, IL 62002.
A. The Waterloo Boy color is comparable to DuPont 5316 Green, and the Rock Island is comparable to DuPont 24590 Brown.
34/8/5 Valve Refacing Machine Q. I have a Waterbury Hall Valve Refacer made in Waterbury, Connecticut. It is a Model 80. The company is no longer in business, and I need a piece that holds the valve in place, but have no parts book. Please help! Dominic Centonze, 14 Deck Road, Myerstown, PA 17067. email email@example.com 2 .pa.us.
34/8/6 Power Horse Q. I have an old Unit Power Horse tractor, Model F8WC, s/n PH43946, made in Stockton, California. It is about a 1949 model. Can anyone provide any information on this tractor? Dean Stone, PO Box 2133, Havre, MT 59501.
34/8/7 Brons, Hvid, and Others
Jan Vegter, Hoofdweg 107,9628 CM Siddeburen, Holland is a retired engineer from the Brons Engine Factory that was taken over by Waukesha in 1989. At present he is a part of the Brons Foundation, and has written a book on the Brons designs, and is working on a second one. Proceeds from his books go to the Brons Foundation, which is trying to raise enough money for a building to house their nearly 20 engines (so far).
As many of you know, the Brons design was licensed in the USA to R. M. Hvid Company, and this design was used on numerous oil engines such as the Thermoil, Davenport, Bumoil, and numerous others. If you have photographs of any American-built Hvid-style oil engines, could you lend them to Mr. Vegter for his book?
34/8/9 Palmer Engine Q. See the photos of a Palmer Bros, two cycle marine engine built in Cos Cob, Connecticut. It is a Model Q, s/n 2144925. It has a Schebler carburetor and a 13-inch flywheel. I would like to hear from anyone able to supply further information, such as when it was built, the horsepower, and any technical data such as copies of manuals, etc. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Robert Feyl Jr., 4ii South Marie, Westland, MI 48186.
34/8/10 Racine Sattley Engine
Doug Hanneman, 4520 Brookshire Ct., Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494 has a Racine Sattley sold by Montgomery Ward. It is 1? HP, s/n 18946, and is like the engine in the top left corner, page 317 of American Gas Engines. He would like to know approximately when it was built, the correct color, and any other information. Please contact Doug if you can be of help.
John R. Heath, 494 Twp Rd 232, Sullivan, OH 44880 responds to 34/6/12 about this tractor: There definitely was such an animal. In 1929 Cockshutt sold Hart-Parr with both names on the tractor. This continued until WWII. The earlier ones carried both names and were painted Oliver green. Later ones such as the Oliver 60 carried only the Cockshutt name and were painted red with white wheels and grilles. A nice color photo can be found in Classic American Farm Tractors with photos by Andrew Morland and text by Nick Baldwin.
34/8/12 Galloway Engine Q. See the photos of a 6 HP Galloway saw rig, s/n 24063. I would like to know approximately when it was built, and the correct color scheme. John J. Wohlfeil, 6040 Eldridge, Waterford, MI 48327-2630.
A. Galloway Engines are approximately DuPont 8554 Red with bright yellow striping. The illustrations on pages 198 and 199 of American Gas Engines will give you an approximate idea of the striping.
34/8/13 Unidentified Engine Q. See the three photos of an unidentified engine that we believe to be of American origin. Any assistance would be most appreciated. Gordon Hayes, 46A Jeffreys Road, Fendalton, Christchurch 5, New Zealand.
34/8/14 Sheldon Cement Mixer
Gil Mangels, 58176 Hwy 93, Poison, MT 59860 encloses a photo of a John Deere 1? HP engine mounted on a Sheldon cement mixer. Gil notes that they display their engine at work quite often, using ? inch gravel, water and sand. Thus, there is almost no cleanup afterward.
Gil is of the opinion that Sheldon probably sold just the casting kit, with instructions on how to build the framework and trucks. Is this correct?
He also has a 1925 Edwards engine but missing some parts, and would like to find a source.
A. Ye olde Reflector is of the opinion that quite a few machines were sold in kit form, but we believe the Sheldon was shipped K.D. (knocked down) and required only a bit of assembly on arrival. This was done of course to save on shipping costs.
34/8/15 Dain Corn Sled Q. See the photo of a Dain Corn Sled, and need more illustrations or information on it. Can anyone be of help? Loren Harder, 9002 Wildcat Pike, LaRue, OH 43332-9271.
A. On page 50 of our book, American Farm Implements, is an illustration of the Dain Corn Harvester. This is not like your machine, but might give you some ideas. Perhaps someone can be of help.
34/8/16 Petter Diesel
Reynolds-Alberta Museum, Box 6360, Wetaskiwin, Alberta T9A 2G1 Canada would like further information on a Petter Diesel, one-cylinder, 3? HP, of 1956 vintage. Can anyone supply them with technical or operating information? If so, please contact them directly.
34/8/17 Enterprise Engine?
Jack Versteeg, 67293 W. Hwy 20, Bend, OR 97701 comments on 34/6/6 of an engine with an Enterprise coffee grinder flywheel. He notes that it appears that the other side is a magnet holder from a Ford Model T, and wonders if this rig wasn't made up out of various parts. (We haven't heard any comments so far aside from Mr. Versteeg, and would be happy to know more about it too).
Several years ago we came out with a book entitled Gas Engine Trademarks. It has literally hundreds of trademark designs, and we have often wondered whether collectors have made use of this info in restoring their engines. We have always thought this would be a great help in restoring a Northlite generator for example, with a fine illustration of their trademark on page 57. The early Sattley engine trademark is shown on page 69, and with today's electronic equipment it would be a breeze to put this up to correct size and paint it on the side of a restored engine.
We have also wondered how many of our collectors have used the various indexes provided in the book. For instance, did you know that by going to the Ohio section, there were three different engine builders in Ashtabula? Or under Wisconsin, there were six different engine makers in LaCrosse?
As many of you now know, American Gas Engines has again been reprinted by Motorbooks, but this time in a paperback edition. Alas, we fear that the days of the hardbound book are seriously numbered! Already we can tell you that our forthcoming book, Standard Catalog of American Farm Tractors, will be softbound. We don't particularly like it, but the publishing business gets tougher and tougher, and book prices get higher and higher. Right now it looks like the latter title will be out late fall or early winter. It will be a large book, and will illustrate a great many tractors, including a sizable display of garden tractors as well.
As we write this column in early June, we hear about a pending (?) merger of Ford-New Holland and Case-IH. That would be an assemblage of four former companies that each were major players in the farm equipment business only a few years ago. No problem at all nowadays in counting all the major farm equipment manufacturers on the fingers of just one hand, eh?
It's also not at all difficult to spend $30,000 or more on a pickup truck. Gosh, the prices are almost scary now. We built our first house for less than half that amount, and. . . well, we won't even talk about what we gave for a brand new 1959 Dodge pickup truck in comparison!
With small engines though, the prices are high, but we can't believe how easily they start with the coming of electronic ignition and other features. The company where I work as Shop Superintendent has changed over almost totally to Honda engines, and these small engines have provided the firm with excellent service, easy starting, and a long life span. We also have a few Briggs & Stratton engines, and they too have served very well. It is also hard to believe that we can get 6 horsepower out of an engine easily carried by one person.
In the late 1920s, about 70 years ago, B.B. Clarke was the owner and editor of American Thresherman Magazine. His commentaries were often amusing, and always incisive. In commenting about the changes that had come about in his lifetime, he once commented, 'We've come a long way, Ezra.' That about sums it up for this month.