The Six-Horsepower Cooker


| November/December 1990



R.R. 2, Box 697, St. Michaels, Maryland 21663

Last summer my wife and I spent a long vacation in Newfoundland and Labrador. A fisherman in Labrador recited a very humorous rhyme about 'The Six-Horsepower Coaker.' I had already learned about Sir William Ford Coaker who formed the Fishermen's Protective Union in Newfoundland in 1908 to better the life of fishermen. Among the various steps taken was the formation of a fishermen's cooperative (The Fishermen's Union Trading Company) to sell supplies to fishermen and to export fish, bypassing the private merchants. He was knighted by the king for aiding the fishermen.

'The Six-Horsepower Coaker' I found in a school textbook, Our Newfoundland & Labrador Cultural History. A Newfoundland accent is needed to do it justice.

In the Provincial Archives I found several advertisements for the Coaker. It reproduced poorly because the newspaper was badly yellowed. The ads tell that he had engines built in the USA and marketed by his trading company. They were appropriately named 'The Coaker.' The ads in his newspaper, the Fishermen's Advocate, say he had contracted for 1000 engines and was selling them at wholesale prices. They were sold for 'Trap Skiffs and large size Fishing Bullies.' There were 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, and 16 HP models; all but the 2 HP were four cycle. I believe the 8, 12, and 16 HP engines had two cylinders.

There was no indication as to who built the Coaker. However, I identified them when I got home. The four cycle engines were built by Loane-Hiltz Engineering Company in Baltimore and called by them 'The Fisherman.'

The Loane-Hiltz design is interesting as it is a reversible four cycle engine. It has a suction-operated intake valve and the exhaust rocker arm is operated by a face cam on the top of a half-speed vertical shaft. The cam has two profiles, one for each direction of rotation. The roller on the rocker arm can be shifted to either cam. Ralph Retallack had one running at the Tuckahoe Show this year. With practice, the engine can be reversed without a stop, like reversing a two-cycle 'on the switch.' Mr. Retallack's engine has large windows in the cooling jackets of both the cylinder and head.