What Was It Used For?

By Staff
1 / 14
Fig. 1
2 / 14
Fig. 10
3 / 14
Fig. 11
4 / 14
Fig. 12
5 / 14
Fig. 13
6 / 14
Fig. 2
7 / 14
Fig. 3
8 / 14
9 / 14
Fig. 5
10 / 14
Fig. 6
11 / 14
Fig. 4
12 / 14
Fig. 7
13 / 14
Fig. 8
14 / 14
Fig. 9

483 Marilyn Dr. Utica, New York 13502

I am an avid collector of one cylinder old time gas engines, and
I usually display something or other every year at the Flywheels
and Pulleys annual Engine and Tractor Show in Con-stable Ville, New
York. One of the most frequently asked questions at the show is
‘What was it used for?’ This question is second (this year,
anyway) to ‘How much is it worth?’ I don’t know the
current value of most of the engines in my collection, but I do
have a small collection of sale literature that serves to
illustrate what these old relics were used for. I know the typical
reader of this magazine is probably well aware of the past uses,
but I thought these illustrations would be of some interest.

The first two pictures are from the Ransome Concrete Machinery
Handbook of 1908. The company was based in Dunellen, New Jersey.
Most of the machinery illustrated is either steam or electric
powered, but this cement mixer was gas powered (1). It appears to
be powered by an International Harvester engine. I could be wrong;
the catalog doesn’t say. Picture (2) shows the inside of the
Ransom factory. Visible to the right of the photo is one of the gas
engine powered cement mixers.

The next batch of photos are from the Wonder Equipment Catalog,
from the Construction Machinery Company, (formerly the Waterloo
Cement Machinery Corporation), of Waterloo, Iowa, dated May 1,
1924. Picture (3) shows a gas hoist and a mud pump. The units are
powered by smaller Fuller and Johnson engines. Picture (4) shows a
‘Double Drum Hoist’ with a 9 HP engine. I can’t
positively identify the engine, but I suspect it was made locally
in Waterloo, perhaps even by the company itself. Picture (5) shows
a ‘Double Quick Back filler’ with a similar engine. I
don’t know what a back filler is, but the unit looks like a
hoist on a pivot. I suspect some components are not shown. Other
illustrations in the catalog show cement mixers with cowled engines
similar to Jaeger equipment.

The next five illustrations are from a Meyers Pump Catalog,
dealing in orchard sprayer equipment. The date is unknown, but it
is sometime after 1924, since many of the illustrated engines have
Wico magnetos. Picture (6) shows a small wheeled spray rig, sold
without the engine. The engine mounted to this example is a smaller
Novo, with Wico ignition. Picture (7) shows an International
Harvester ‘M’ mounted on a slightly larger outfit. Meyers
also sold units complete with engine. Picture (8) shows a unit
equipped with ‘…a 2 HP Hercules with Wico Magneto, not
affected by water, gives ample power and is dependable.’
Picture (9) shows a large outfit complete with ‘…Le Roi,
double cylinder with magneto, high speed 6-8 horse power…’
engine. Picture (10) shows a unit with a Novo or similar engine
mounted to it.

The next three illustrations are from a catalog entitled, V
& K Pumps for Domestic Water Supply issued by the Vaile-Kimes
Co. of Dayton, Ohio. The catalog is undated, but an included Dealer
Discount Sheet has an effective date of July 18, 1919. The
advertisements cover mostly electrically operated systems, some set
up for hard and soft water operation. The soft water was from a
cistern, and the hard water was from a well or other source. One
series of arrangements used the water pressure from the hard water
supply to run a water powered pump, similar to a Worthington steam
pump, for the soft water supply. Several gas engine powered outfits
are also illustrated. Picture (11) shows a deep well pump outfit.
Picture (12) shows a shallow well outfit, and picture (13) shows a
shallow well system. The ranges of horsepower of the included
engines run from 1 HP to 3 HP. The engines appear to be made by

The final picture is of a homemade ice saw that I have in my
collection. It is powered by a 2 HP Witte of about 1930. The saw is
a cut down buzz saw mandrel. The guard over the saw is an old
motorcycle fender, and the handles were bent from a buggy axle. It
was used on a pond on a farm around Talcott-ville, New York, for
the ice harvest. I also have an engine made locally in Utica by J.
H. Mallinson, which included the remains of an ice saw. (The engine
behind the saw is a 4 HP Robert -sonville. To the right is a 4 HP
Myric Eclipse.)

As the reader can see, the uses for these engines were

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines