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September 2014

Pattin Brothers: Ohio's Oil Field Engine

By Paul Harvey

Lt. Col. Thomas Jefferson Pattin fought gallantly in the Civil War as a leader of the Ohio First Cavalry.  After the war, he returned home to his wife and family who waited in Marietta, Ohio, and soon became listed as a master mechanic. A bustling river town, Marietta was growing, being transformed from an agricultural hamlet into an industrial city.  Oil had already been found at Titusville, Pennsylvania, and the boom was marching south.  Soon Marietta would be a hub of the new trade - oil field equipment!  And so our story starts...  

Lt. Col. Pattin had four children, three sons born before the war and one daughter after.  Two of the sons, Winfield and Douglas, shared his mechanical aptitude and joined with J. G. Hall in 1888 to form Pattin, Hall, and Pattin.  They built a machine shop in the west side of the city.  In 1895, The Pattins purchased Mr. Hall's interests and formed Pattin Bros. & Co., building a new plant on Second Street.  Business was good so they continued the original works as well, employing about 50 men at this time.  The new firm grew as shown by the 1907 letterhead in Photo 1.

Winfield Scott Pattin was born in 1851 and attended Marietta College in the early 1870s.  He was listed as a machinist in 1873, then moved to Scott County, Missouri, in 1875 where he married Cecelia Cullum.  They moved back to Marietta in 1880.  Ironically, he died of pneumonia on a business trip to the West Virginia oil fields on March 27, 1913.  His younger brother, Douglas P. Pattin, was born in 1859 and spent his life in Marietta.  He was also a machinist and deeply involved with the new firm.  On the morning of October 20, 1901, Douglas and two other persons visited the big plant on Second Street.  Having done what was needed, he left his companions to investigate the strong odor of natural gas.  Moments later, as his friends were walking away, a huge explosion occurred and the plant was immediately engulfed in flames.  His remains were found that evening.  According to the Marietta Register, the firm of Pattin Brothers rebuilt and grew stronger.

Both Pattin Brothers shared only one patent together, which is shown as Photo 2.  Granted on February 16, 1892, number 469,173, it concerns the operating valve for a steam engine.  Marietta was now in the midst of the oil boom and needed steam engines to both drill the wells and then pump them. The steam engine became one of their major products.  Pattin Brothers also built all kinds of oil field tooling and equipment.

The gas engine patent did not occur until after Douglas's death.  It is shared by W. S. Pattin and W. F. Meister.  A combined governor, included in the gas and air mixer, was patented on May 26, 1903.  Number 729,377 is shown as Photo 3.  There has never been a similar device that worked so well. A drawing of the original engine is seen in Photo 4, and an existing example in a Parkersburg, West Virginia, collection is seen in Photo 5.  This indicates that the original design was two-cycle and shares many features that were seen in later engines.  Note the cylinder oiler with the air vent and the engine's long, narrow lines.  The four-cycle engines bearing the EKONOMY name came later.

Photo 6,  taken from an undated photo, briefly explains the "Automatic Governor."  The intake valve, which admits the fuel gas through holes in its tapered seat, also carries a cylinder valve with circular openings for both the air and gas.  As the engine speed increases so does the stroke of the intake valve.  This lowers the cylinder valve which reduces the amount of air and gas available.  And so the engine slows and returns to regular operation.  Close examination of the patent drawing, Photo 3will show the position of the valves.  Engine speed can be controlled by tightening or loosening the nut on the intake valve.  Very ingenious!! 

William Meister began working for Pattin Brothers on January 12, 1891, as an apprentice.  Two years later, he moved into the foreman position and from that time had an ever increasingly responsible role in all the company's developments.  He held the patents for the Pattin Brothers combination engine and power, and the MEISTER feather valves used on later compressors, as well as several others.  After Winfield's death, he became president and general manager.  In the mid-1940s, Pattin Brothers was purchased by Acme Fishing Tool Co. of Parkersburg, West Virginia.  Acme president, L. M. Ludlow, said that all the operations of Pattin Brothers would remain the same, including Mr. Meister as general manager.  And so the name lived on for many more years.    

Pattin Brothers products were diverse but all were oriented to the oil fields and its needs.  Most of the equipment was used in the local area, although they had a major distributor in Bradford, PennsylvaniaPhoto 7  shows a belt driven Pattin Brothers pumping power.  This is located in the yard of the Oil and Gas Museum located in Parkersburg, West Virginia.  Containing a huge array of local oil field artifacts and equipment, this museum is certainly a delight to visit.  While attending the "By the Lake" show near Harrisville, West Virginia, I spotted this 4 1/2 hp Pattin-United combined engine and pumping power. See Photo 8. Note the horizontal hot tube and chimney which is the original location.  I am unsure of the connection of Pattin and United but these engines were used  on several of Pattin Brothers products.  The name plate on this engine states "manufactured by Pattin Brothers."  Oddly, Pattin Brothers did build a five horsepower engine.  Photo 9 depicts a four-cycle engine with opposed compressor cylinders.  Taken from a 1920 catalog, these units were built in 40, 50, 60 and 90 hp sizes.  A 40 hp example will be arriving in Coolspring this autumn!  The 1920 catalog also shows a vast array of belt driven pumps as seen in Photo 10.

Photo 11,  taken from the same 1920 catalog, shows a small engine and pump combination.  Again, it is unclear if these small units were built by Pattin Brothers or assembled from items made by others.  The largest engine built by Pattin Brothers was the 100 hp "Super Power" engine compressor unit.  A 1925 catalog shows this unit;  Photo 12.  These huge units were four-cycle with over and under intake and exhaust valves.  Being ported and having a side shaft, they employed a rotary valve to close the exhaust port in the intake stroke.  This feature is unique to the Super Power. Opposed to the engine cylinder are twin, two stage compressor cylinders, one mounted above the crankshaft and the other below.  History relates that only three were built and one still survives at its original location.  Photo 13  shows an old photo of the (apparently) late design, 40 hp fully enclosed model.  This photo was found in the Oil and Gas Museum archives.  Note that they have reverted to the two-cycle design, as the original was.

Coolspring Power Museum is proud to display seven Pattin Brothers engines.  Photo 14  shows a 25 hp four-cycle model.  Having pumped an oil lease in southeastern Ohio, this model is hit and miss governed by a nicely done vertical governor, which disables the gas valve.   It has both hot tube and high bar KW magneto ignition and a ported cylinder.  Note the location of the flywheel counterweights!   A 20 hp combination engine and power is shown in Photo  15.  It is four-cycle, hit and miss, and sports the EKONOMY name plate.  Originally located in Dallas Hollow near Bradford, Pennsylvania, it came to Coolspring in 1969.  Photo 16  shows a 15 hp four-cycle Pattin Brothers engine that has a pendulum governor.  According to a vintage catalog, the smaller models, 12, 15 and 20 hp, had the pendulum governor and the large ones, 25 to 90 hp, had the vertical governor.  As with the 25 hp model, this one is hit and miss with  the governor operating the fuel valve.  It pumped an oil lease near Wingett Run, Ohio, and has been in Coolspring since 1970. A 15 hp, two-cycle model is shown in Photo 17.  It retains the lines of the original model but does not have the automatic intake valve governor.  It was found in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Photo 18  is a 12 hp two-cycle engine with attached pump.  Found near Marienville, Pennsylvania, it does not have the back gear with the pump crank mounted on it at this time.  It was ideal to pump a small oil lease and equipped to then transfer the oil to the nearest National Transit pipeline station.  Unique idea!  A small brother to our 20 hp combination engine and pumping power is this 8 hp unit as shown in Photo 19.  It also came from Wingett Run, Ohio, many years ago.  The local oil producer greatly preferred these small Pattin Brothers units over the Kootz & Strohman and Spence units for dependability.  It interesting to note that an enthusiast has imported one of these 8 hp combination units to New ZealandPhoto 20  shows the 8 hp engine, which is similar to the 8 hp combination, being operated at one of our shows.  Found near Marietta in 1969, it was belted to a small Pattin Brothers power to pump one well.  A 5 hp model of this engine was also produced and several examples still survive.

Please visit Coolspring Power Museum for our Fall Show & Swap Meet held on October 16, 17, & 18, 2014.  Several of the Pattin Brothers engines will be in operation.  This will be our last event for 2014.  Special tours can be arranged by advanced appointment during the winter.  Next year will be our 30th anniversary show, The Flame Ignition Expo!  It promises to be the largest assembly of flame ignition and slide valve engines ever.  Keep in touch by watching our web site or calling 814-849-6883.  See you then!

Pattin Letterhead

Photo 1: Pattin Brothers letterhead circa 1907

Steam Valve Patent

Photo 2: U.S. patent 469,173 for steam engine valve

Engine Patent

Photo 3: U.S. patent 729,377 for combined governor and mixer

Original Pattin Engine

Photo 4: Drawing of the original Pattin Brothers engine

Original Style Engine

Photo 5: An example of the original Pattin Brothers engine

Automatic Governor

Photo 6: Automatic governor and mixing valve

Pattin Pumping Power

Photo 7: Pattin Brothers pumping power

Pattin-United Engine

Photo 8: 4½ hp Pattin-United engine and pumping power

Gas Engine with Compressors

Photo 9: Four-cycle gas engine with compressors

Pattin Pumps

Photo 10: Pattin Brothers belt driven pump

Small Pump Engine

Photo 11: Small engine and pump

Super Power

Photo 12: 100 hp Super Power engine

40 hp Fully Enclosed Engine

Photo 13: 40 hp fully enclosed engine

25 hp Pattin Brothers Engine

Photo 14: 25 hp Pattin Brothers engine

20 hp Combination Engine and Pumping Power

Photo 15: 20 hp combination engine and pumping power

15 hp Pendulum Governor

Photo 16: 15 hp engine with a pendulum governor

15 hp Two Cycle Engine

Photo 17: 15 hp two-cycle engine

12 hp Pattin Brothers Engine

Photo 18: 12 hp Pattin Brothers engine with pump

8 hp Combination Engine and Pumping Power

Photo 19: 8 hp combination engine and pumping power

8 hp Pattin Brothers Engine

Photo 20: 8 hp Pattin Brothers engine


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