6 Blossomdak Place Christchurch 5, New Zealand
What do you do when you are retired? What else? You spend time
on a hobby that you love! It is also handy if you are by trade a
fitter and turner. So what better than to make model gas engines?
If everything goes alright, you get a smile on your face when it is
First I was a draftsman by trade, then a fitter and turner. It
all started by buying old gas engines and working to restore them.
A lot of parts I had to make myself, like carburetors and bearings
for a 4 HP Watt engine (English). But then one day I was reading
the Gas Engine Magazine and saw that lots of Americans made model
engines from castings. So, I ordered some models from America, but
when it came to change our money to yours plus postage, then I came
to the conclusion that that didn’t do much for our pension.
Then I was at a rally and was looking around at the engines and
enjoying the lovely music when they run beautiful. I thought,
‘What if I make my own model?’ So after a lot of kilometers
on our quiet roads here in New Zealand, some models and ideas were
born. In the weeks that followed, I started to prepare my own
engine on paper. Then, by sawing through a 4′ water pipe,
lengthwise, I could see the cornerstone was put into place. After
working out the sides and barrel everyone who was a lover of
engines could see what it would become. I had some trouble with the
flywheel, but that was solved by casting from another engine with a
diameter of 13′. Now I was on the way to success and full of
beans, I went from there. I wanted to make something like the
Tangye, so I made a sideshaft with the cams in the front and the
valves on the bottom.
After a couple of months it started to look like a stationary
engine with a sideshaft. Now I had to design a carburetor. After
three tries I had one that ran. What a day when you see the first
puff of smoke out the outlet!
After a couple of alterations everything ran like clockwork.
But now for a hit and miss. I did that with a belt from an old
threading sowing machine that brought the governor in working with
the throttle from the carburetor. After a while everything seemed
Now it was time to make a trolley. The wood came from an old
Oregon door. The wheels were made with spokes and the rims are from
an old gas cylinder. I make my wheels like that or with a center
plate with holes.
When everything was finished I had to have a nameplate. I was
able to make, with a pantograph, a nameplate ‘Baby
The bore is 2′, stroke 3′, R.P.M. 400, flywheel
13′-2′. Ignition low tension 6V buzz coil (Ford), length
2′ 6′, width 1’6′. Hours to make it: 1600.
We in New Zealand are quite far from the rest of the world. I
immigrated in 1951 to New Zealand, Dutch by birth
with New Zealand citizen papers. Of course, we don’t have as
many people interested in restoring engines or model making gas
engines for that matter, as you have in America. I am one of 25
members of the Christchurch Historic Machinery Club. We have 15
clubs, plus or minus, in New Zealand.
I have just finished a model from America, and what a beautiful
engine this is. It is from a drawing from J. &. E. Palmer, a
hit and miss junior. I would like to know if any of the subscribers
of Gas Engine Magazine know where I can get some more drawings of
models gas engines, 2′ bore without castings.
If anyone comes for a holiday to New Zealand, you are welcome to
view my engines and models. My wife will make you a cup of coffee.
She’s a keen machine knitter as a hobby, so we are not in each
other’s way she’s in the home and I’m in my workshop,
and through the intercom she calls me for morning tea.
I will finish for now with best wishes and greetings.