SLEEPING GIANT


| July/August 1972



Old Cotton Gin

Courtesy of Lloyd McGowen, Route 4, Box 379, Easley, South Carolina 29640.

R. F. Somerville

Rt. 4, Box 379, Easley, South Carolina 29640.

If you were riding along Highway 253 which is a few miles north of Greenville, S. C. some thirty or forty years ago, you would have to work your way through the trucks and wagons loaded with cotton waiting to get into the Lindsey Brothers' Cotton Gin. If you were to pass this same route today, you wouldn't even know when you passed the cotton gin unless you are the type of person who lets any old building or barn catch your eye, and your thoughts can imagine an old engine of some sort in there. What will really catch an old engine hawk's eye is an old gin or mill that doesn't have any large power lines or transformers close by. This is a pretty good indication that an old engine was once used there. By using this kind of strategy, I came across another 'Sleeping Giant,' which happens to be a twin cyl., (2) cycle, 300 II. P. M., 80 H. P. Fairbanks Morse full-diesel weighing 14 tons. The engine S/N is 632698 and was built October 29, 1925, in Beloit, Wisconsin. This well preserved engine has been at rest some 16 years now, but the owner has taken time to keep it oiled and turned through from time to time.

I would imagine if you could see into some of this old engine's dreams over the past years you would see quite a history. For instance, there was the time when the main part of the gin caught on fire and she barely escaped with her life, or once during the height of the cotton season when the injectors were acting up and she was hard to start. When the mechanic finally got her started he told the gin owner, Mr. Lindsey, to let it run all night and in a day or so he would stop back by. For some reason, the mechanic forgot about his promise and it was three weeks of continuous running for the engine because the operator was afraid he couldn't get it started again. One of the most unforgettable years was when some new and larger gin equipment was installed and the 80 H. P. wasn't enough to carry the load. A small 8 cyl. diesel that weighed about ? the old monster's weight and had more than twice the horsepower was installed, but I am sure it was a welcome relief. These are just some of the events that belong to her past that the former owner has passed on to me. I am sure some of the neighborhood can tell you about her sound on a cold still morning when the load was heavy.

An engineer would look at the engine in this way. On hot compression stroke the cyl. builds up to 600 PS1 to ignite the fuel. This is compared to 250 PSI on a semi-diesel, but I understand from some old operators the thermal efficiency of the two engines were about the same. I guess this is the reason the semi-diesels continued to be built after the full-diesel went into service. The oil system uses a Madison Force Feed Lubricator for the rings, piston pins and connecting rod. Each main bearing has a reservoir under it where a ring around the crankshaft can dip in the oil bath and lubricate the shaft and bearings. There is no oil bath in the crankcase because the engine is a (2) cycle and any excess oil there would be sucked up into the cylinders and burned, causing the engine to run away. The starting procedure is quite an operation within itself. The first step is to pump the air tanks up to at least 200 PSI. Next, a bar is placed in the flywheel when the No. 2 piston is at the timing point where the injector pump can be hand operated. After priming the cyls. well, the No. 1 piston is rotated 10 degrees past TDC and a charge of compressed air is manually dumped into No. 1 cylinder, driving it down and bringing No. 2 piston up on the compression stroke. At this point the 'Sleeping Giant' will have awakened after its long nap and as she comes to life and looks around, everything will seem strange and out of place, because there has been a lot happening the last few months.

Lindsey Brothers' Old Cotton Gin as it now stands just North of Greenville, South Carolina. The 'Sleeping Giant' is now inside.

'Sleeping Giant'. It  is the Lindsey Brothers' Old Cotton Gin as it now stands just North of Greenville, South Carolina