August 2012

WOW!  Whatta Show!

By Paul Harvey

The June Show of Coolspring Power Museum is now history and there is no other title than that above for this show report.  It is what everyone is saying and is certainly true.  With the great weather forecast for the entire week, we were overwhelmed with visitors, exhibitors, and flea marketers but space was found for all and we are now planning how to expand the facilities.  Everything seemed to go very well with so many happy people on the grounds.  The sun did indeed shine and the temperatures were pleasant contributing to the great mood at the event.  I hope that you were able to attend this gala event.

Our theme for this show was "Engines Built in the State of Ohio" and our guest exhibitors certainly did bring their finest.  Ohio has been referred to as the engine capital of the USA with so many fine and varied models built there.  From a list of 230+ makers in that state, we probably saw about 50 of them represented here.  I tried to document all but soon lost track!  I did note that these engines are all of high quality and represent so much imagination in design.  They were built for so many different purposes but all represented ingenuity, fine workmanship, and uniqueness of design.

This article will be a photo essay of some of Ohio's best.  When reviewing my photos, I chose 14 engines to provide a wide spectrum of design.  This is far more photos than I usually use and I found that I could have chosen so many more.  I certainly wish that all could be included and my apologies to the owners of all those great engines that I have omitted.  The museum as well as the visitors appreciated them all.

Photo 1 is a beautifully restored 2 hp Foos engine built in Springfield. It features a vertical governor and wipe spark ignition. Foos was one of the major builders making some 40,000 gas engines. They had the foresight to modernize their designs to keep pace with the competition. This engine is a type S or Standard model and represents their finest design. There were so many Foos engines displayed from the very old to the new that it was very difficult to choose this one as representative.

Photo 2 is a very early Van Duzen built in Cincinnati. This engine dates to the 1890s and displays the "T" head design with the intake valve on one side and the exhaust valve on the other. It has twin ignition; both hot tube and ignitor. It is interesting to note that the "T" head design became the hallmark of almost all the engines built in south-western Ohio. Although about 120 years old, it shows foresight that could mark it two decades later.

Photo 3 shows a beautifully restored Type A Springfield, built in Springfield. These early engines used an overhead cam shaft and fuel injection when running on gasoline. Interesting to note that modern automotive engines had been designed over a century ago! This design is so complicated yet graceful. There were other Springfields displayed including the smallest, a 1 hp with five spoke flywheels.

Photo 4 is an Ohio Engine built in Sandusky. Ohio Machine built a high quality engine with side shaft and vertical governor and many were displayed here. They run very smoothly and the ignitor drive is very pleasing to watch operate. Although well built and successful by the number that survives, the firm was eventually swallowed by the fierce competition of the early era of gas engines.

Photo 5 shows a very rare Benninghofen vertical engine built in Hamilton. The main frame and cooling water hopper is most unique. The proud owner happily displays his engine for all to admire. There were actually two of these engines displayed for the show.

Photo 6 is a diminutive Carlisle and Finch engine built in Cincinnati. These tiny engines were mainly used to operate their small dynamos to produce electricity. They made dynamos to operate with water power and steam as well. Quite a few were displayed so they must have been successful despite the small size and fractional horsepower output. One extensive display featured many of the Carlisle and Finch products. This is probably the smallest Ohio built engine.

Photo 7 takes us to a very different engine for Ohio. It is a Loffland Brothers half breed built in Woodsfield. This engine is a converted engine with a Loffland cylinder installed on a steam engine frame and this technology is very common to the oil field. Indeed, Woodsfield was in the rugged oil area of southwestern Ohio. Halfbreeds of many different makers were common in Pennsylvania but the Loffland was the only one known to be built in Ohio.

Photo 8 is a Woodpecker built in Middletown. A happy owner smiles for the photo with his engine. Middletown Machine originally built the sideshaft Miami engine but then followed the competition with the somewhat simplified Woodpecker. Being aimed to farm and general purpose use perhaps explains the name. These engines were quite successful and many different versions were displayed here. Note the five spoke flywheels which were a hallmark of these engines.

Photo 9 is a nice original Columbus engine built in Columbus. Note the original paint. Columbus built a line of high quality engines that had a unique governor that actually stopped the cam cluster while the engine was coasting providing the hit and miss control. Several Columbus engines were displayed for the show. Sadly, they failed to modernize and these fine engines were eliminated by the competition.

Photo 10 is another Van Duzen built in Cincinnati. As noted above, these very early engines are extremely rare; with only three or four existing, and two are here! This one features the "T" head design and vertical governor as the vertical Van Duzen, but the similarity stops there. Otherwise it is completely different with a very unusual valve operating mechanism.  Note the short, compact design. A great occasion to compare two rare engines!

Photo 11 is an 1890s Dayton built in Dayton, Ohio. This engine had been stored outside for many, many years and has been beautifully brought back to life. It has so many unique features that are impossible to describe. It has an overhead cam shaft that operates the valves which are located above the head as well as a water warmed oiling system. Its design features made it expensive to build. The firm was relatively short lived but at least three survive including one vertical.

Photo 12 is a Cook vertical engine made in Delaware, Ohio. This small city made these practical engines and many were used on self propelled drilling machines such as the Sanderson Cyclone built in Orrville. Two of these engines appeared for the show. This represents the diversity of the Ohio built engines and the varied designs adapted to usage and location.

Photo 13 is a 6 hp Gearless built in Springfield. The name comes from the idea that there are no timing gears but these are replaced with a complicated cross over cam on the crank shaft with high and low lobes that provide the four-cycle principle. The end result is replacing a simple mechanism with a very complicated one. It does run flawlessly and is fun to watch all the moving parts. Although a few still exist, it is understood why the company was short lived.

Photo 14 is a nicely restored Wood and Spencer; the only one known to exist. They were built in Cleveland. The most interesting feature on this vertical is the governor mounted at 45 degrees. Perhaps it was compromise to the designers as to which direction to place it!

It is my hope that the reader has enjoyed this photo tour of the Ohio built engines displayed at our June show.  Feel free to call the museum at 814-849-6883 for more information.  The coming open weekends with tours and engines running will be August 18 and 19 then September 15 and 16.  Our final Expo and Swap Meet show of the year will be October 18, 19, and 20, 2012.  There will be many exhibitors, flea market and plenty of good food.  Of course, the museum engines will be running.  Hope you can attend and enjoy the museum.  See you then!

Photo 1: Foos 2 hp engine

Photo 2: Early Van Duzen engine

Photo 3: Type A Springfield engine

Photo 4: Ohio engine
Photo 5: Benninghofen vertical engine

Photo 6: Carlisle and Finch engine

Photo 7: Loffland Brothers half breed engine

Photo 8: Woodpecker engine

Photo 9: Columbus engine

Photo 10: Van Duzen engine

Photo 11: Dayton engine

Photo 12: Cook vertical engine

Photo 13: 6 hp Gearless engine

Photo 14: Wood and Spencer engine


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