Community Shop Talk

By Staff
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Online Engine Conversations


• Roger starts off the thread: “What can you say when someone calls your 1911 Gade engine a motor?”

• Bite your tongue and smile. It is a common mistake. The average person doesn’t know the difference. But what really chaps my butt is when folks in the media get it wrong. Nowadays we hear about hybrid vehicles. More likely than not, the news item says, “This vehicle has a gasoline engine and an electric engine.” If the public is being led astray by ignorant media reporters, you can’t blame them when they get it wrong. Instead, put up a poster by your engine display that explains the difference between engines and motors. Engines convert a fuel to mechanical energy. Motors convert electricity to mechanical energy. – Orrin

• When I am showing my engines at a show I don’t care what they call them. My blood has a much higher boiling point than to let their description of my motor/engine upset me, I thought the reason we show our engines is to educate the public as to what they are, what they were used for and what they are called. I am 75 years old and can only recall seeing one of these engines being used as a working engine in my lifetime until I started collecting 22 years ago. Most spectators that attend a show have never even seen one, much less know what they are called. So when they ask, I enjoy explaining to them what engines are and some of the many uses they had in the days before many of them were born. – Joe

• Joe, you hit the nail on the head. It’s just like the people who call our engines steam engines because they see some steam coming from the hopper. It at least gives me an opportunity to visit with them and explain what is going on. I’m far from an expert, but life does go on. Like you, I’m 75 and trying to enjoy every bit of what I’ve got left. – Dick

• At least when that guy called it a motor he was close. I had a guy look at my newly restored and running vertical Famous and ask me what kind of water pump it was. When I explained that it was actually an engine, he wanted to know “from what?” – Chris

• I agree with what Orrin says, that after all, it is Ford Motor Co. and General Motors who are to blame. This is just a little fuel to make the fire hotter to run those engines. – Mark

• What should I call my motorcycle, an enginecycle? – Mark

• From Webster’s Dictionary: Motor: 1: Anything that produces motion; 2: An engine; especially an internal-combustion engine; 3: An automobile; 4: A machine for converting electrical energy into mechanical energy. Engine: 1: Any machine that uses energy to develop mechanical power; 2: A railroad locomotive. – Tom

• When I’m at an engine show sitting there with my display, I love to watch the people walk by, and nearly everyone who walks by has a different theory on what “it” is and how “it” runs. If they don’t ask me, I just sit back and listen to how they explain it to their buddy or family. But I have to admit, it gets aggravating when someone wants to know what kind of compressor or water pump my engine is, and after I explain it to them, they ask, “well, what does it do?” I explain that to them, and then they ask, “well, what did this engine come out of?” And again I explain it, and they still walk away with an “I don’t get it” look on their face. – Doug

• Well, it just goes to show you that the public needs a lot of education. As others have stated, most of the public was born after our engines were retired. The short answer that I give them is, “An engine uses gasoline or diesel as fuel and a motor uses electricity or some other remote source of energy for rotary motion.” – Dale is an engine conversation bulletin board and is part of the Old Engine series of websites that started in 1995 as “Harry’s Old Engine.” Harry Matthews is a retired electronic engineer and gas engine collector from Oswego, N.Y., now residing in Sarasota, Fla.

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