The Dirigo Gasoline Engines

By Staff
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Cheapness vs. Quality

The great and growing popularity of the gasoline engine has led
numerous concerns to engage in its manufacture, people who have had
absolutely no experience with gasoline engines, and know nothing of
the strains to which they are subjected. Their printed matter is
very alluring, and the things which their engines will do is very
wonderful, on paper, but when those engines are put to the test of
actual work they fall down in a very short time.

Some of these concerns win many customers by offering to sell
their engines on from ten to thirty days’ trial, which at first
glance, seems very fair, but a gasoline engine may do satisfactory
work for thirty days, or three months, and then begin to balk, and
finally refuse to go at all, and while they do run are very
wasteful of gasoline and oftentimes very dangerous to life and
limb. Beware of the cheap gasoline engine. We have had an
experience of five years in the manufacture of gasoline engines,
and the first engines we put out were the result of nine years
practice of a firm of whom we bought the drawings of our original
engines, together with the benefit of their experience, so we may
say that this engine, ‘The Dirigo,’ is the result of 14
years of experience in gasoline engine building. During the last
five years we have rebuilt and repaired a number of different makes
of engines, and have had an excellent opportunity to see where the
different engines developed a weakness, and in designing ‘The
Dirigo’ we have taken advantage of all this experience, and
avoided all the mistakes and weaknesses that we have discovered in
other engines. We can therefore say truthfully that by the
experience we have had, we can construct and do construct a more
durable engine than any newcomers, or anyone with less experience
in gasoline engine building than we have had.

The keen competition among manufacturers of gasoline engines is
such that in designing a power the first consideration is low cost
of manufacture. As a result most of the concerns who are building
gasoline engines are building engines which they know are not the
best they can produce, but at the same time, in order to meet the
demand for low priced machines, they sacrifice much in
effectiveness in order to compete with others.

There are many engines on the market which may be termed
mechanical freaks, some built upside down, some built all in one
piece with all the parts cast together, and all such as would not
stand the light of expert investigation. In the catalogues great
claims are made and the inexperienced buyer is often induced into
buying by the adroit and forcible reasoning, thinking that
something of exceptional merit is being offered, while as a matter
of fact an inferior machine is being offered, the main and perhaps
only merit being in the cheapness of construction and consequent
extra profit being put in the pocket of the maker and dealer who
sells it.

But remember that the cast-in-one piece engine, if by an
accident anything should break, an entire new engine must be
bought. There are no lugs cast on ‘The Dirigo.’ You
don’t have to buy a complete engine if any parts become
accidentally broken; the local machinist by using the broken part
for a sample or pattern can make anything quickly and at small
cost. In buying a gas or gasoline engine do not take anything for
granted because it’s in the catalogue. Investigate for
yourself. If two catalogues of rival makers have points which
conflict, get each to tell you by letter why his is better than the
other, and then use your own common sense as to which sounds
reasonable. There are certain things and certain ways to build a
perfect gasoline engine. The right way costs more than the wrong
way, but a little saved at the start is lost before long. A
gasoline engine should be an investment, something to last for
years and years; buy carefully at the start, investigate
thoroughly, then don’t let the question of cost stand in the
way of your getting the best. In ‘The Dirigo’ will be found
many little details that will prove of decided advantage in
operating, adjusting and in wearing qualities; the question of easy
handling has been given as much care as any other, the
accessibility for adjusting without taking the engine to pieces is
an important consideration, and we are confident that in the
easiness of handling ‘The Dirigo’ will more than warrant
the extra first cost over any other engine, and this is but one of
the many features in which it leads all others. We are of the
opinion that there is a field for a gasoline engine 25 HP and
under, with every good feature found on the larger powers, an
engine built on lines accepted as the very best practice. An engine
in every way as reliable as the steam engine. In offering ‘The
Dirigo’ we offer it as having every feature known to modern gas
engine practice. In building it, question of cost of manufacture
has been given second place, a reliable durable and economical
engine being sought for and the question of cost coming afterwards.
On every point and feature and improvement claimed for the Digiro
we invite the most rigid and expert investigation, knowing our best
chance of success lies in the intending buyer’s informing
himself fully. We do not depend on the inexperience of the buyer to
effect a sale, but upon his learning how a good gasoline engine
should be constructed. The more careful the investigation the more
confident are we that ‘the Dirigo’ will be selected.

As will be noticed, our engine is of the vertical type, and in
our opinion, in a very few years, no other kind can be sold. The
gasoline engine, unlike the steam engine, has no cross head or
anything to support the piston; consequently, the piston is its own
guide; and on the horizontal engine, the wear is all on the bottom.
The piston soon wears oval, reducing the power of the engine, and
causing great loss of fuel. This loss is so great that in a short
time the engine is hard to start, and reboring of the cylinder with
new pistons and rings becomes necessary. In the five years we have
been making engines, we have never found it necessary to rebore a
cylinder. That the vertical engine is the more enduring is
evidenced by the fact that one of the largest engineering concerns
in the country are now building them exclusively in sizes up to and
over 500 HP.

The Dirigo gasoline engine is rapidly taking the place of steam
engines for many purposes, and especially is this the case for
plants requiring power up to 25 HP.

All who have used steam engines know that they are expensive to
operate, The steam must be kept up almost continuously, even when
power is not required. For small manufacturers and for machine and
repair shops, as well as printing offices and many other plants
where power is required at irregular or short intervals, the
convenience and advantage of having a motive power at hand, easy to
start or stop instantly is so great that gas engines are rapidly
superseding not only steam but manual labor. The expense and
annoyance of handling coal and ashes, as well as the consequent
dirt, are done away with in the operation of gas and gasoline
engines. Another advantage in using gas engines as compared to
steam, is the great economy of space, as there is no room taken up
with boilers.

In gasoline engines the operations are much more simple than in
steam engines, it is so constructed that it is complete within
itself; containing the equivalent of furnace, boiler and

The fact that in all cities the authorities require a competent
licensed engineer to have charge of the operation of a steam engine
is conclusive proof of the danger connected with that type of
engine. In the operation of our engine, no engineer is required,
and it can be operated and cared for by anyone with very little

The simplicity of the working principles of the Dirigo gas or
gasoline engine may easily be explained in a few words.

On the first outstroke of the piston, a mixture of gas or
gasoline and air is drawn to the cylinder through the inlet valve,
and on the return or instroke of the piston, this mixture is
compressed into the space between the cylinder head and the piston.
This charge is then ignited by an electric spark, a high pressure
is formed, and the piston is forced out. After the piston has
reached its extreme outstroke, this charge having accomplished its
purpose, is allowed to escape through the exhaust valve.

The Mixing Valve.

First: Our mixing valve is piped directly to the base of the
engine. The gasoline is stored in the base, and is pumped to the
bowl on the top of the mixing valve. When more gasoline is pumped
than is being used, the balance returns by an overflow pipe
directly to the base again. By this system, we obtain all the
benefits of the gravity, feed, as the gasoline in the bowl is at
constant level all the time, and regardless of the amount of
gasoline in the tank, the supply in the bowl is constant. Once the
throttle is adjusted, it is adjusted for all time.

On top of the bowl on the mixing valve, is a cover to keep out
the dirt and prevent evaporation of the gasoline. When the cover is
closed it locks the throttle, insuring its being held in the
position placed; this prevents waste, by change of feed.

Secondly: Pumping as we do, the gasoline is constantly stirred
up; one part is not heavier than any other, which materially aids
combustion, and prevents any loss whatever. The design of our mixer
is new, and has many special features of merit making a more
efficient mixer, and an absolutely safe one. The throttle valve is
placed in the bowl, is easy of access, and what is highly
important, so placed, it is absolutely impossible for any drip to
come from the throttle and get on the floor. Throttle valves often
leak about the stuffing box or packing nut. If any such leak should
take place in our throttle, it would amount to nothing whatever, as
it would leak directly into the bowl. This is a very important

The passage leading to the bowl and also back to the base,
instead of being made with short lengths of pipe, is cored directly
into the mixing valve; this does away with all short lengths of
piping and does away with all liability of leakage at this point;
this feature we consider very valuable and on it we will apply for
letters patent.

In operation, our mixer works as follows: The throttle is opened
a suitable amount to give a flow of gasoline, and the incoming air
picks up the gasoline and carries it into the cylinder; what
gasoline is not picked up by the air, drips back to base through a
cored hole in the bottom of the mixer, absolutely preventing any

On the front side of the mixing valve is an air shutter which
provides a means of easily adjusting the amount of air to be
allowed into the cylinder; this is highly important in sections
where there is a variation of temperature, and materially assists
in the easy starting of the engine in cold weather. The air shutter
also permits looking directly into the mixing valve and allows the
operator to see that there is no obstruction in the gasoline

Special Features Of The Dirigo

An engine with half as many parts as any other on the market;
this is an absolute fact.

The ‘Dirigo’ vertical will do good work mounted on a
cart or sled runners.

The ‘Dirigo’ vertical does not require extensive
foundations; it will run even and steadily under any

Pile hay, shavings, etc., all around and over it and set it
going; it would not start a fire, and there would be no danger of
any kind.

May be used as a stationary and changed to portable, or used as
a portable; and changed to stationary, and the gasoline connections
need not be touched.

The wear on the cylinder of our vertical engine is even all
over, and it will not require re-boring. The wear on a horizontal
engine is all on the bottom, and requires re-boring frequently.

Has the gasoline in the base. It is pumped to the throttle as
used. No danger of flooding the building on waste by leaky pipe

Our electric igniter or sparker is entirely free from springs,
trips or delicate contrivances of any kind. It is attached to the
engine by two cap screws, and can be taken off in one minute and
held in one hand, and the size of the spark can be seen just as it
takes place in the cylinder. It is so simple in construction that
it will never be out of order.

An improvement just made on the Dirigo makes it possible to
change the time of spark while engine is running, thus making the
engine easier to start, more economical on gasoline, no chance for
kicking back in starting large engines, will run economically at
different speeds, this is another Dirigo improvement in which we
lead. Time of sparking can be easily changed while engine is
running, and best results are obtained.

Gasoline connections all made when the engine leaves the
factory, no pipes to cut; no delay, no bother, engine can be
started in a few minutes after received; just fill her and set her
going; this will save you from $10 to $25 for piping.

The supply of gasoline being in the base of the engine it will
never flow except when the engine is running; there is no danger of
flooding the building by valves being open, or by accidentally
opening them; gasoline will not run up hill.

For stationary work, the tank can be put out of doors, the
gasoline pumped from this and the surplus returned same as when the
gasoline is stored in the base.

It does not require mechanical knowledge to start a Dirigo;
anyone can do it. We have sent them to all parts of the country, to
men who have never seen a gasoline engine, and they have started
them without difficulty.

Large sized engines may be used economically for doing the
lightest work. Thus our 6 HP will do 1 HP work, only taking
practically the same amount of gasoline as would the 1 HP. This is
made possible by reason of automatically opening the exhaust valve
and holding it open when the engine is over speed. It thus does not
work against its own compression; other engines do.

Engine guaranteed for two years. We will replace any
defective parts F.O.B. our factory, free of cost for a period of
two years. This means that we will give the part anytime within two
years, for a defective one, and this applies to the entire
If you get a defective one, return it and a new one
will replace it. (See our Guarantee.)

A simple, durable, compact and reliable engine put out under the
strongest kind guarantee. An engine sold in all parts of the
country, and giving perfect satisfaction wherever sold; an engine
that we will back up to the last gap, and an engine that will do
more and better work than any other on the market under a smaller
consumption of gasoline; an engine in which the mechanical work is
of the best, and we back this up by a guarantee of two years; if
our work is poor or defective, we lose by loss of you.

We use in the Dirigo only the best material for the work to be
performed; we make an engine as low as good material will make it,
and we never strive to cheapen the engine at the cost of

We can back up all the statements made above by the
testimony of numerous users of engines.
If you want the best,
own the ‘Dirigo.’ Send for any particulars you wish; we are
glad to have the most critical investigation made of our engine, it
makes orders for us. The more careful the buyer, the better show we
stand. The man who is after the cheapest engine on the market will
get it, but the man who wants the best that can be had at a
fair price will buy the ‘Dirigo.’

Safety And Convenience

It is a physical impossibility to explode or burst the cylinder
of these engines. In order to obtain the best results or strongest
pressures in the cylinder, it is necessary that the mixture taken
into the cylinder should be of such a proportion as to induce
perfect combustion of the gas. If too much gas is taken into the
cylinder, the result is either imperfect combustion or no
combustion and lower pressure than if complete combustion took
place. The cylinders are, of course, built sufficiently strong
to withstand the heaviest pressure possible to be produced by
complete combustion.

The construction of ‘The Dirigo’ is such as to make it
absolutely safe. The most severe strain that can be put on the
cylinder is that which is caused by perfect combustion, and the
cylinder is made sufficiently strong to withstand this. If, though
any means, the engine cylinder should become flooded with gasoline,
the result would be that the engine would stop. No harm whatever
would be occasional, and the same thing is true on the other hand,
if the gasoline supply to the cylinder should be cut off, then the
only result would be the stoppage of the engine. There would be no
danger whatever. With our system of ignition, and our means of
holding the gasoline in the base of the engine, as a fire risk, is
absolutely safe. It is wholly and absolutely impossible to start a
fire from the use of the engine.

They may be used in barns, in workshops, where hay, shavings or
waste paper is stored, and no risk whatever of fire. ‘The
Dirigo,’ in this respect, is safer than electric motors which
may set fire from the wires, and many times more safe than a steam
engine with its dangerous boiler. The steam boiler is dangerous so
far as fire is concerned. It is considerable trouble to get up
steam, and perhaps when you need power the most, steam is down.
There are always ashes to be removed, sparks flying about, and if
you wish to go to work at seven in the morning someone must be on
hand about six to get up steam. If you wish to use your engine for
only a five minute job, steam must be gotten up, which takes about
an hour, whereas, with ‘The Dirigo’ gas and gasoline
engine, a few turns of the crank sets the engine going. It is
always ready at a moment’s notice, and can be started for the
smallest kind of a job. The expense starts with the starting of the
engine, and stops when the work is done.

The method of storing the gasoline in the base makes the engine
the only safe engine to use for portable work or in places where it
is not convenient to use masonry foundations. Where the gasoline
tank is separate from the engine there is a constant strain on the
piping that soon causes it to leak, and this is, of course, a
source of danger; secondly, in moving about, the tank must be
carefully set so as to not bring any strain on it. Insurance
companies, in many cases, have decided that our way is the only way
that a gasoline engine may be run in a barn; all others must have
the gasoline stored in a tank outside the building, and not less
than 10 feet away. We have recently received a letter from the user
of one of our engines in Pennsylvania, and he says, ‘The
insurance companies allow me to set my engine in the barn, but any
other kind must have the tank 10 feet from the barn, and not less
than three feet underground.’

Horse Power

Revs per Min

Floor Space

Size Belt Wheel


350 to 500

20 x 18

6 x 3


350 to 500

20 x 20

8 x 4


350 to 400

20 x 24

10 x 4


350 to 400

28 x 20

16 x 5


300 to 350

32 x 22

18 x 6


250 to 300

36 x 24

20 x 8


200 to 250

40 x 28

21 x 8


200 to 250

48 x 30

30 x 10

We can arrange any of the above to run in pairs and where a
larger than 12 HP engine is required we especially recommend this,
so that two 12 HP will give over 24 HP, etc. etc. We also couple up
any of the above engines for electric lighting, marine engines,
etc. etc.


. . .Elevators, Fans, Grinding Mills, Feed Mills, Boats, Corn
Shelters, Flour Mills, Dynamos, Creameries, Saw Mills, Well Drills,
Foundries, Printing Offices, Farm Engines, Machine Shops, Electric
Light Plants, Pumping Stations, Threshing Machines, etc.

The Dirigo is the most modern automatic gasoline engine,
combining every convenience.
There is positively no danger from fire or explosions.
It runs equally as well in cold or warm weather.
It is always ready to start.
It is made of the very best material, and by the most skilled
It is most mechanical in construction and graceful in
All wearing parts are easily adjustable.
Has two cylinder oil cups, insuring perfect lubrication.
Each consecutive year the number of Dirigo engines sold has more
than doubled.
The Dirigo is operated with either natural or manufactured gas, or
We build engines for any purpose, mounted on wheels.
We build portable sawing machines, having engines and saw on
wheels. Send for circular and description.
Also portable well machines, hoisting engines for mines, quarries,
stone works, etc.
Portable pumping engines for contractors, irrigating, etc.

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