Our book, American Gas Engines is now available in a soft cover edition from Motorbooks. Personally, we would have preferred that it remain in the hardbound edition, but at least the book is still available, albeit in a less expensive binding. Printing costs continue to escalate, despite lower prices for paper, and a national economy that is relatively stable in most respects. How would we know why book prices keep getting higher? Even the top economists don't seem to have the answers.
At this time of year the inquiries fall short because everyone is out enjoying the shows. Thus, this month our queries are a bit fewer than usual. We begin with:
34/9/1 Unidentified Iron Q. A friend of mine purchased some rusty iron from an old farmstead awhile back. The transaxle shown in the photos was included, but we haven't been able to make an identification, It appears as if it may have been articulated. Any help would be appreciated. Larry McClain, 225 Fowler Road, Alphoutton, GA 30004.
34/9/2 Two Questions Q. I would like to know how to make a steam whistle without needing a lathe. I want to use compressed air. If anyone can supply any information I would like to hear from them. Also, I have a Sattley 3 HP engine, s/n 2960 that uses a Wico EK magneto. Can anyone tell me when it was built, and the original color? It was lying in a creek for 30 years, but we are determined to get it running, and we are almost there. Tanner Remillard, 72220 Tutuilla Ck. Rd., Pendleton, OR 97801.
A. Steam whistles are a lot like organ pipes. The sheet of wind, be it steam or be it compressed air, is put into vibration as it travels from the annular space between the body of the whistle and the periphery of the center disk. It then strikes the bottom of the whistle bell and vibrates on either side of it. The pitch is determined by the height of the bell. A larger diameter only makes a bigger sound (and takes more air). The longer the bell, the lower the pitch. I would suppose that if you could find a disk that matched the diameter of the bell you could do it without a lathe.
The early Sattley engines were black for the hit-and-miss style, and brown (comparable to DuPont 23254) for the throttling governor model. Your engine was probably built in the early to mid1920s.
34/9/3 Hardie Orchard Sprayer Q. I recently was given the old Hardie sprayer in the photos. It has a twin piston pump which is powered by a Briggs & Stratton Model BRG engine. The only information is a brass tag reading: Hardie Mfg. Co., Hudson, Mich. SCDA10452. Any information on this unit would be greatly appreciated. Dave McCoy, 1837? Sterretts Gap Ave., Carlisle, PA 17013.
from Ken Wardlow, Box 7350, Drayton Valley, ALTA Canada T7A 1S5 for the information and help he recently received. Ken put an ad in GEM for a threaded sediment bowl for a Minneapolis-Moline tractor. Vic Williams of Cottonwood, Arizona sent him one.
A thank you note, a couple of bucks, or whatever, really goes a long ways when making requests. Kindly accommodate folks who send you information or parts! The Reflector.
34/9/5 Use a Muffler!
Edwin H. Bredemeier, Route 1, Box 13, Steinauer, NE 68441 comments that engines without a muffler are an awful problem for those with hearing aids. We agree! We have never commented much about this, but have suggested in the past that you use either a muffler, or a tall pipe that gets the noise (and the soot) above the crowd, rather than aiming it right at them. Likewise, it is not always a good idea to point that muffler toward the onlookers. Many years ago we saw a person get their hair singed. A fellow had an old 5 HP Economy that wasn't really ready for a show. It ran very poorly and would load up on fuel and finally fire a charge. When it did, flames shot out the muffler right toward the onlookers. The owner and several others thought it was a big joke until someone nearly got hurt, and only then did he realize that it wasn't so funny after all. Then too, we occasionally see people putting a 'tuned' exhaust on an engine so that it makes noise far above anything it ever produced in its previous life. Most people find this irritating, and we certainly recommend against it. Our thanks to Mr. Bredemeier for bringing this to our attention!
34/9/6 Ottawa Information Needed
Vernon Fitzpatrick, 520 Royce Road, Hancock, MI 49930 would like to know the year of manufacture for an Ottawa engine, s/n C20130. We know of no listings for Ottawa. Can anyone help?
34/9/7 Maytag Mufflers Q. Ken Hollenbeck, 607 Cherrywood Ln, Sister Bay, WI54234 sends the following:
A simple, effective and inexpensive muffler for Model 92 Maytag engines can be easily made for about $5. A trip to the local hardware store for a ?-mch pipe flange and a replacement muffler with a ?-inch NPT thread is all you need. Scribe around the exhaust flange. Remove the pipe flange and cut it out to rough shape and grind to the final shape. Reinstall on the exhaust flange and screw muffler into the adapter you just made. The bottom of the pipe flange can be smoothed by taking a facing cut in the lathe or simply screwing the muffler to make a handle and holding the flange against a disc sander.
34/9/8 Information Needed Q. I have a Moline Plow Co. engine, 2? HP, s/n 53450. I believe it is an Alamo engine, and would like to know the year built and the color. Also I have an air cooled Waterloo engine, 3? x 5 inch bore and stroke, and would like further information on this engine. Thanks in advance for any help. Max Brown, 133 Miller St., N. Tonawanda, NY 14120.
A. The Flying Dutchman engines from Moline Plow Co. were built by Alamo. In fact, they are virtually identical to the engines sold by Rock Island Plow Co. The Flying Dutchman is maroon, similar to DuPont #143.
34/9/10 Hercules Engine Q. See the photos of a Hercules engine, s/n 36408. It has green paint on it. Is this the original color? Also, is the Wico magneto correct? Any information would be appreciated. Jeremy Johnson, 1650 Meadowlark Ln., Sunnyvale, CA 94087.
A. Your engine should be green, comparable to DuPont 1317 or 7666 Green. We would assume the Wico magneto to be correct, although Wico offered a retrofit kit to replace the Webster magneto as well.
34/9/11 Information Needed Q. I have a 2? HP John Lauson engine, s/n 60235 and a Witte engine, 2 HP, s/n 48179. I would like to know when these were built and the correct color scheme. Neal Paries, PO Box 152, Mt. Auburn, IA 52313.
A. The Witte engine was built in 1920; there are no numbers for the Lauson available. The Lauson is comparable to DuPont GS908 Green, and the Witte is comparable to DuPont 5204 Forest Green.
34/9/12 Nordberg Engines
Gus Simms, 25 N. Front St., Mountain Top, PA 18707 writes that there are a number of Nordberg engines still running. He also writes that he was recently offered a 20 horsepower model, but declined due to its size and weight. Gus has a 5 HP Stover diesel, and as we have reported to you before, the Stover, with its Acro combustion chamber is not easy to start. However, if you decide to use ether, give any of these engines only a slight whiff. Any more than that, and you might convert the engine into scrap iron, once the shrapnel quits flying.
34/9/13 Information Needed Q. I am trying to identify the engine in the photos, which I believe to be a laboratory test engine, or else a training aid for a power mechanics type class. It is air cooled with convoluted copper fins surrounding the vertical cylinder. The valve tappets and pushrods are exposed for visual inspection. Spark timing, dwell, fuel mixture and compression can all be varied at will. It has two interchangeable carburetors. The first is a conventional Tillotson, the second has a glass beaker/reservoir so that fuel can be precisely switched on-off and monitored. It has a panel of meters that display RPM, power and cylinder head temperature. The panel meters, interconnecting cables and accessories all fit into a custom made suitcase for easy portability and quick set up. The electrical system is 6 volt with positive ground. The style and materials used would appear to be of 1940s vintage but there is no identification of any kind other than the 'WESTON' brand Tachometer/Magneto, and meters. Can anyone help identify the engine or its manufacturer. Has anyone out there ever used one, have an operators manual, etc.? Neal Matheson, 1828 E. 6th Ave., Mesa, AZ 85204 (602) 827-5152. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A. This inquiry came by e-mail, and the pictures may be a little bit fuzzy, but hopefully someone out there will recognize the item and respond.
A Closing Word
Having always been around the farming and construction industries, we find ourselves in amazement at the new machinery that arrives on the market. For instance, Caterpillar now has some crawler tractors that pack tremendous power in a fairly small unit, and recently we used one of their D4D models. It surely was a dream to operate.
We also notice that JCB is now offering their new line of excavators here in the US. Of course this is J. C. Bamford, the old company that used to build stationary engines in Great Britain. A few reports have it that this machine is a real dream to operate.
Despite all these innovations, we still feel mighty comfortable in the seat of the old Caterpillar D6 with its cable dozer, or sitting on our old Caterpillar No. 12 grader with its mechanical gear box. However, we must also confess that after reaching 60 years, we don't find it quite as much fun as we did a decade or two ago.