The Rest of the Story

| March/April 1991

  • Pacific engine
    John A. Richardson, 1155 Carpenter Canyon, Arroyo Grande, California 93420 recently restored this 2 HP Pacific engine.
  • Spring steel contacts
    Inside combustion chamber showing spring steel contacts actuated by bolt on top of piston. Points release after piston starts down after T.C.D.

  • Pacific engine
  • Spring steel contacts

1155 Carpenter Cyn., Arroyo Grande, California 93420.

This engine story is a follow up to the one on page 17 of the August 1985 issue of GEM. The labor-of-love engine's cylinder was buried three feet deep in a ranch dump for fifty years and the engine body, with its large flywheel, was being used as a fence post several hundred yards away for at least that long.

After nearly four years of dead end leads and wild goose chases, trying to find information on this engine, my good friend, Anton Aftentranger, of Bakersfield, California, was able to supply me with an early advertisement picture.

The engine turned out to be a 2 HP Pacific gas engine, serial no. 6, manufactured in San Francisco, California, approximately 1892. Of the very few remaining engines of this type, it is interesting to note that each is unique, having been hand fitted together. In other words, parts do not appear to be interchangeable without slight modifications. Design changes were evident in almost every engine.

This engine company was the forerunner of the Union Gas Engine Company and was in competition on the west coast with the Reagan Gas Engine Company of San Francisco. An interesting history of all three companies and their relationships with one another can be found in C.H. Wendel's engine book.

At last I had a drawing to work from and a direction to proceed in. Many hours with a magnifying glass and lots of three dimensional sketches later, I was ready to construct the missing gearless mechanism and related parts. Most of the problems centered around how to make the parts look and function as original.