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1895 8 HP Springfield Model A Engine

Coolspring Spotlight: This circa 1895 8 HP Springfield Model A is one of the most unusual engines ever designed.

| August/September 2014

  • The circa 1895 8 HP Springfield Model A is one of the most unique gas engines ever designed, featuring an overhead camshaft and inclined intermediate sideshaft.
    Photo by Gas Engine Magazine staff
  • The Springfield Gas Engine Co.
    Photo by Gas Engine Magazine staff

Manufacturer: Springfield Gas EngineCo., Springfield, Ohio
Type: Model A
Year: Circa 1895
Serial Number: 2087
HP: 8
Bore: 9-inch
Stroke: 12-inch
Weight: 70,000 lb.
Ignition: Make-and-break
Governing: Hit-and-miss

This circa 1895 8 HP Springfield Model A is one of the most unusual engines ever designed. It has a unique appearance and a lot of unique features, including the overhead camshaft and the inclined intermediate sideshaft that drives it.

The Springfield Gas Engine Co. of Springfield, Ohio, was incorporated Jan. 1, 1892, and by 1893 engines of 25 HP were already being offered. The Model A was designed and put on the market in about 1893. These engines came in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from 2 HP to at least 50 HP, and were produced for a couple decades.

It’s believed the Model A was designed by Charles Endter, who was shop foreman from 1892 until shortly before his death in 1913. Endter lived in Springfield, and his family was associated with a couple of other engine builders. He had previously invented the Foos wipe spark igniter, and his brother Harry was a foreman at Foos from 1904 through 1911.

One of the earliest engines to successfully burn gasoline, the Model A features fuel injection into the intake pipe by a pump under the control of the governor, which is of the hit-and-miss variety, firing always at full force but only when necessary. The governor also controls a second poppet valve in the intake air passage, such that the engine gets no air on idle cycles. This prevents the cylinder and intake passage from drying out, a problem with hit-and-miss gasoline systems marketed by competitors such as Charter, Otto and Foos. The design of the camshaft above the cylinder and symmetrical valve boxes on each side also make the Model A very different and distinctive.

Learn more about this engine and 38 others in Coolspring: Discovering America’s Finest Antique Engine Museum and see them run on the Coolspring Museum DVD or visit Coolspring Power Museum.


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