A Brief Word

| September/October 1999

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.