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June 2016


By Paul Harvey

As this article is being read, Coolspring Power Museum's 31st annual June Exposition is soon approaching.  The theme for this year is "One-of-a-Kind Engines."  Of course, all engines are welcome. As the engine collecting world expands, it's difficult to determine if that rare treasure might be the only one in existence or not.  Years can go by without a duplicate being found, and then it happens.  Finding another rare or unusual one is the fun of the hobby!  The museum hopes our exhibitors will display the choices that they feel are rare and interesting.

While preparing the article, I chose eight museum engines that, to my knowledge, are the only ones in existence.  I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has another one of these or, better yet, see it displayed here.

Photo 1,  The Connelly - This most unusual engine was built by John Storer Connelly in New Castle, Pennsylvania.  It is displayed and can be seen in operation in Founders Engine House.  Manufactured circa 1885, it was originally a duplex engine with a second cylinder to further expand the exploded charge.   Apparently converted to a four-cycle engine, it was found in a small oil field machine shop which it powered.  That was in the early 1970s.  It now operates as a four-cycle and is one of the oldest American engines in the museum.

Photo 2,  The Lima - This unusual 25 hp engine is displayed and operated in the Founders Engine House.  It features a cross head, vertical governor, and hit and miss operation.  Built by the Lima Gas Engine Company of Lima, Ohio, it is serial number 547.  It incorporates some details shown in the John Swan patent, which was its predecessor.  This engine pumped a rod line oil lease near Parker, Pennsylvania. and was discovered in 1969.  It was my largest engine at that time and it was hauled on the venerable 1946 Reo.

Photo 3,  The Jager - This engine was built by the Jager Engine Company of Taunton, Massachusetts.  It is serial number 2313.  Being an integral engine and air compressor, it has two power cylinders and two compressor cylinders.  Jager also built marine engines, and one wonders if this unit might have supplied compressed air on a large vessel.  It is awaiting restoration and resides in the Machine Works Building at this time.  I located it in Maine many years ago, but it became elusive and went through many owners before arriving here.

Photo 4,  The Climax - This magnificent 40 hp engine was built by the Erie Gas Engine Company of Erie, Pennsylvania.  Serial number 139.  Located in the John P. Wilcox Power House, it runs very well.  Note the disc crankshaft, high mounted cylinder, and original paint.  It is an early design of Charles Jacobson, who continued to design the Struthers-Wells engines, and then his own line of engines.  Following a rumor, we discovered it in the basement of an old mill in St. Marys, Pennsylvania in the mid 1970s.  Many years went by before we could remove it by making a hole in the  floor.

Photo 5,  The Turner Fricke - This massive 150 hp engine operates in the John P. Wilcox Power House.  Acquired in the early 1970s, it and two identical units generated electricity for the Roystone Station of the Pennsylvania Gas Company.  The red tile power plant was very close to the big station that housed our Snow.  Designed by Harry C. Fricke and George E. Turner whose office was in Pittsburgh, it actually was manufactured in their works in Sharon, Pennsylvania.  It is implied that this was to escape from the influence of the Westinghouse engines built in Pittsburgh.  It is serial number 441 and has its generator beside it

Photo 6,  The Palm - This unusual engine is designed to run on either gas or steam.  It is located in the Kougher Half Breed Pavilion and operates on compressed air, at this time.  George Palm, of Butler, Pennsylvania, patented several of these convertible engines.  When on gas, it is a four-cycle engine.   Found near East Brady, Pennsylvania, in the early 1970s, it was in the tool yard of a local oil producer.

Photo 7,  The White Thomas - A very unique engine, the converted cylinder is mounted on a Tifft Steam frame.  It is housed in the Lillibridge Station and is not operational yet.  It was built in Franklin, Pennsylvania.  The cylinder is a two-cycle, uniflow design with a hit and miss pendulum governor.  Originally found abandoned near Rouseville, Pennsylvania, it traversed to California before returning here.

Photo 8,  The Pugh and Tinsman - A lucky lead took me to a farm near Bruin, Pennsylvania, to find this engine in pieces.  It originally pumped an oil well and the farmer who owned the engine decided to scrap it.  He called it a Pugh and Tinsman, made in Bruin, which is the only identification that I have.  Restored and operating in the Lillibridge Station, it is a four-cycle using the original steam cylinder   It arrived here in the mid 1970s.

This has been a brief tour of eight of the museum's rarest engines.  Please bring your own and join the fun at the museum's Exposition on June 16, 17, and 18, 2016.

Connelly Engine

Photo 1: Connelly engine

Lima Engine

Photo 2: Lima engine

Jager Engine

Photo 3: Jager engine

Climax Engine

Photo 4: Climax engine

Turner-Fricke Engine

Photo 5: Four-cylinder Turner Fricke engine

Palm Engine

Photo 6: Palm engine


Photo 7: White Thomas engine

Pugh-Tinsman Engine

Photo 8: Pugh and Tinsman engine


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