'Typical Gas Engines'

Excerpted from Gas & Oil Engines by D. Clerk, 1908 Edition


| March/April 1996



First Lenoir Gas Engine

Fig. 320.The First Lenoir Gas Engine, 1860

1772 Conrad Avenue, San Jose, California 95124-4501

The First Lenoir Engine

In external appearance this engine, illustrated in Fig. 320, bore a marked resemblance to the ordinary type of double-acting horizontal steam engine with flywheel and connecting rod, with which designers were already very familiar. Gas was merely substituted for steam, with very few alterations of the parts, and the distribution was effected by ordinary slide valves operated by two eccentrics. For the ignition of the mixture an electric spark was passed between two points inside the cylinder when the piston reached its mid-stroke position, and for the production of the high-tension spark a Ruhmkorff coil and batteries were supplied. During the latter portion of the forward stroke the drive took place, and on the return stroke the exhaust gases were driven out, while the other face of the piston was acted upon by the driving force. Around the cylinder walls cold water was circulated to prevent the temperature from becoming abnormal. This double-acting arrangement, which does not permit of initial compression of the mixture, has been abandoned by all de signers, because the regularity of the action is obtained at the expense of the economy, and owing to the successive actions on the two sides of the piston, the quantity of gas burned is out of all proportion to the power developed.

Bisschop Engine

Fig. 321 illustrates this engine, which works on the mixed principle of the Otto and Langen atmospheric engine. Expansion of the exploded gases raises the piston, which is then driven, during the working stroke, by the pressure of the atmosphere. Very successful results were obtained from the first engines, which were well designed and constructed, but very few examples now exist. As will be seen from the illustration, the engine, which was of small power, was of a vertical type, with the piston crosshead guide surmounting the cylinder. On the outside of the cylinder were cast numerous ribs of metal, which, by providing a large air-cooling surface, served the same purpose as a water jacket.

In 1880 the inventor was awarded a prize of 1000 francs for his engine, which was considered the best low-power engine suited to the requirements of small users.

Benier Engine

This simple engine was the first one made by the designers of the Benier producer engine. As will be seen from the illustration (Fig. 322), the cylinder A was inverted, and the crank was driven through a connecting rod coupled to a side lever, the end B of which received its motion from the piston rod. A cam G on the shaft operated a single slide valve E, controlling admission and ignition, and side springs r, r were provided to keep the cam and slide always in contact. Air and gas in the proper proportions were drawn in by the piston until the middle of the stroke, when the mixture was ignited by the exposure of a flame at the admission port, and the explosion took place. A pilot flame-was provided for the relighting of the ignition jet after each explosion. A second cam on the shaft opened a separate exhaust valve at the proper moment. Water-cooling jackets kept the heat of the cylinder within reasonable limits, and the economy obtained in actual practice was quite satisfactory, the consumption being about 50 cubic feet per horsepower hour. Towards the year 1880 the system received a certain amount of attention, owing to the simplicity of the design and the relatively small cost.

The Economic Motor

The Economic motor, which was first constructed in New York about the year 1883, was a small type of engine rarely exceeding Vi HP and working on the non-compression system. Its arrangement was ingenious but somewhat complicated, as will be seen from the illustration, Fig. 323. A is the cylinder, provided with external air-cooling ribs, and G E is the rocking lever from which the crank O C received its motion through the connecting rod B. Regulation of the speed was effected by means of a centrifugal governor throttling the gas admission, as in the other engines of the same class. It is understood that the results obtained in practice were satisfactory.