Searching for Information on Ericsson Flame Engine


| June/July 1999



We recently heard from Sean Moir, librarian at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum, who is searching for information on the Ericsson Flame engine, as described in the following paragraph. A patron of the Museum owns one of these engines and would like to learn more about it. In the hope that one of our readers can help Sean, we are reprinting here a short history of the flame engine and biographical information on John Ericsson, supplied by E. H. Bergman, 5212-51 Ave., Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada T9A 0V4. If you happen to have additional information you think would be useful, please share it with Sean Moir at Reynolds-Alberta Museum, P.O. Box 6360, Wetaskiwin, Alberta Canada T9A 2G1. His phone number is 800-661 -4726; fax 403-361-1239.

Flame Engine

This is an original John Ericsson Flame Engine, made sometime between 1820-1825.

John Ericsson's father worked on these engines from 1790 to 1810, but he never got one to run. His son John was very fascinated by these engines all his life. In 1819 he succeeded in getting one to run.

This engine has no valves or ports, no intake or exhaust of any kind. It has leathers for piston rings. When it was built, there were no oil wells, no electricity, no railways or roads, only wagon trails.

This is the cleanest running piston engine ever made. These engines became obsolete with the advent of the internal combustion engine about the turn of the century.

I have done 10 years of research on these old engines, and I have run into a few. The ones I have found all have the joined connecting rods, and one bearing on the crank shaft. They all have the American standard screw thread. (Standardized in 1864 but was probably widely used a few years before that.) They have oil cups, and grooves for leather belts.