Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Co. Engine

By Staff
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R.R.1, Box 28-A, Atkins, Iowa 52206

I bought this engine from an antique dealer several years ago,
finally restoring it in 1986. We displayed it at the Midwest Old
Threshers Reunion last fall. This engine bears Serial No. 83.
Having done considerable research on the company, it seems that
this engine must have been built between 1893 and 1896, especially
since an 1896 illustration of a similar engine bears the Serial
Number 150.

Restoring the engine was rather difficult for several reasons.
First of all, the original vaporizer was no longer present. This is
easy to understand, since most of the early carburetion devices
would not work very well, and when something better came along the
vaporizer went to the iron pile. After a great deal of effort we
finally were able to give the engine the general appearance it had
originally, although we used a fuel mixer that works quite well.
All of these parts were gone, so all had to be made, using only a
rather poor sketch from an old magazine advertisement.

The cylinder was probably made to a gauge, rather than with
micrometers. This cylinder measures approximately 5.105′ in
diameter. After cleaning up the cylinder bore it was necessary to
build up the piston. After sandblasting it we set it in the shop
stove atop some pine kindling. Heating the piston this way brought
out lots of the embedded oil. Then we set it up in the lathe and
took a rough cut about like an amateur would cut his first thread
on a lathe. This left a larger surface for the bronze. After this
we went to work with the torch and bronze rod, using over two
pounds of bronze to build it up. For flux, we used Peterson’s
low-temp cast iron brazing flux-it comes in two separate envelopes
you mix before using. (Not sure if this is still available).

Turning the piston back to size was relatively easy, and then we
ordered special rings from Joe Sykes, a GEM advertiser.

We have heard of one or two other W.G.T.E. engines, but would
like to hear from anyone having one so we can determine just how
many of these rarities are left.

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