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Is This a Daniel Best Engine?

Author Photo
By Staff

Photo by Jack Alexander.

Attached is a photo of my mother taken in July 1927, during her vacation at a Chico, California, dude ranch. Notice the engine in the background behind the pump. The second photo shows a 1891 Daniel Best engine, one of three images received from Greg Johnson and taken by Ransome Mathews of a 3hp Best engine that Ransome acquired for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles in the 1940s or 50s.

Photo by Ransome Mathews.

Photo by Ransome Mathews.

The engine is still in their collection. Ransom was curator of the museum’s mechanical/car collection for many years and was a founding member of the Horseless Carriage Club in 1938 (which started in Los Angeles). One of the Ransome images clearly shows “Daniel Best” on the cylinder. As to the engine in the 1927 photo of my mother, based on what I can see, it is an early Daniel Best. What do you think?

Jack Alexander
Gilroy, California


We’d have to agree, Jack. The engine frames look identical, as does the flywheel and the crankshaft main bearing caps. The pulleys are obviously different, the engine behind your mother featuring a homemade, wooden pulley. – Editor


Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email editor@gasenginemagazine.com.

Published on Mar 13, 2019

Gas Engine Magazine

Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines