What Was It Used For? II

| February/March 1995

3 Edna Terrace New Hartford, New York 13413

My last article, entitled 'What Was It Used For?' got quite a few positive reader comments, so I thought I would dig around in the archives for some more pictures showing old engines performing their original duties.

The first group are from the 'family archives.' Figure 1 and 2 shows a gizmo affectionately known in the family as 'The Digger.' It is a Buckeye self-propelled drainage tile layer used by my great grandfather around the Rochester, New York, area in the early part of the century. The engine, I believe, is a 12 HP Buckeye with a rather curious radiator arrangement for cooling. The 'digger' is no longer in the family, and probably doesn't exist any more.

Figure 3 is from a Silver-tone Radio instruction manual that my family owns from the 1920s showing a 'Gas-O-Power' generator then available. It shows, in adddition to chargin a battery of the radio, a few other applications. No indication as to who made the unit is given, and the drawing probably isn't very accurate. The radio still exists, although it is in poor condition. The radio battery was charged by placing it in the car and running to town and back. Later, a small car generator was connected to the engine used to run the washing machine. The engine is no longer, but I found the generator and belted it to a Johnson Iron Horse that my uncle used to pump water at their camp.

The next group of pictures is from Plain Gas Engine Sense, by E. L. Os-borne, Second Edition, 1906. This rather dog-eared publication extols the merits of the gas engine over steam, and serves as a primer to gas engines in general. This book has been reprinted recently. Fig. 4 shows an 'oil engine belted to electric generator.' The engine was made by De La Vergne. Fig. 5 shows an unidentified engine with a built-in pump jack that.. .'pumps without wind.' Fig. 6 shows another unidentified engine belted to a feed grinder. 'An outfit for the farmer and stock feeder.' Fig. 7 shows a hoisting outfit, and Fig. 8 shows another pump jack outfit driven by an Eli 2-cycle engine, an ad for which appears in the back of the book.

The next, Figure 9 is from Gas, Gasoline and Oil Engines, by Gardner D. His Cox (15th edition, 1906) showing a Samson Iron Works oil engine. Sawing wood was a favorite for engine work, and a great many old time gas engine manufacturers made a buzz saw outfit of some sort. Figure 10 shows yet another water pumping outfit, this time a large centrifugal pump driven by an Otto gas engine. This was probably for a sewage or water supply for a village or small city. (From Cyclopedia of Engineering, Part I, by Louis Derr, A.M., S.B. 1903).