Yankee Engine-uity Show

2002 Featured Engine

The Crown Pumping Engine

The flywheel side of the Crown Pumping Engine.  

The featured engine this year

was a Crown pumping engine.

The engine was made by the National Meter Co. in New York City in 1883 and was used to fill water tanks in apartment buildings in the city. The water pump is an integral part of the engine and was made by the Crown Pump Co. The engine was rated to be able to pump water into a tank 100 feet above the engine. The engine was listed in National Meter Co. catalog as late as 1900. It is suspected that they made as many as 1500 engines and they were poor sellers since they used a tremendous amount of fuel. They most likely continued to sell them until their supply was exhausted.

The engine is a non-compressing design, and is two-cycle. It is a true flame ignition slide valve engine, using two spool valves to admit and ignite the gas. It was designed to run on illuminating gas or town gas, the same gas that was used to run gas lights in homes in the late 1800’s. Illuminating gas is predominantly a mixture of hydrogen and methane, with a small amount of other gasses that serve as illuminants. Illuminating gas was piped into homes as late as 1900 to 1910. Electricity proved to be a cheaper and safer alternative to the gas for lighting and different formulas for gas were adopted for heating and cooking.

Bill Lopoulos purchased this particular engine from

Nate Lillibridge. It is in excellent original condition and is one of about eight known. While it can be run on hydrogen, it runs best on illuminating gas. Bill was fortunate to have a cylinder of the gas mixed by Wayne Grenning to run some experiments with. He ran this engine and the one down at Kinzer on the mixture and noticed a marked difference in performance. There are several other flame ignition engines that require the gas mixture to run properly, including the Paradox toy flame ignition engine.

An illustration of the flywheel side

of the Crown Pumping Engine.

The following article was written when the Crown engine was NEW! The Crown Gas Pumping Engine Our illustrations (Figs. 1 and 2) represent respectively perspective and sectional views of a gas engine made by the national Meter Company, of 51 Chambers Street, New York, and adapted specially for pumping. In several of its forms the gas engine has measurably solved the pressing demand of many of the industries for a compact and a efficient motor for small powers which should be less expensive than steam and at the same time free from the objectionable features, which, in many situations debarred the introduction of the steam engine. The correctness of this view is demonstrated by the enormous extension of the introduction of this class of machines within the last five years or so.

The adaptation of the gas engine specifically for pumping purposes is apparently a new departure inaugurated by the manufacturers of the "Crown" gas engine, and it strikes us at first thought that it will be likely to prove a most advantageous application, and one that must become exceedingly popular so soon as the merits of this class of engines, on the score of automatic action, freedom from liability to explosion, from dirt and ashes, and other annoyances that accompany the steam engine, and economy become more generally known; for there is a very general demand for an engine for this special service, which none of the existing devices, ingenious though many of them are, seem to have

fully met. 

The details of the construction of the "Crown" gas engine, which will appear in Fig.2 are about as follows: The engine frame is supported on two legs above the base to make room for the pump b. The engine cylinder is placed horizontally, and the motion of the piston is communicated to the pump through the bell-crank lever c, and the vertical rod connecting with the pump piston. A connection rod unites the crank a with the lower end of the rocking arm. In the back of the power piston there are two springs, furnished with a central guide ring, into which the end of the piston rod enters. The piston rod is held against its seat by the pressure of a spring bearing upon the end of a steel pin inside the rod. The pump cylinder is made of composition, the valves being of the best rubber composition for water valves. The water is forced or lifted through a cored passage in the frame to the chamber l in the cylinder, whence it escapes through the passage k, the air chamber equalizing the flow. The charge of air and gas to the power cylinder is admitted through the intervention of two valves d and e, both solid, and so accurately fitted as to require no packing. The gas supply valve e also regulates the flow of gas to the lighter jet at g for igniting the charge. The instant the flow of air and gas to the cylinder stops, the valves close and the charge is ignited. The valves receive their motion from the main shaft through independent eccentrics. Their action is simple and positive, and they have no parts to work loose or get out of adjustment. The gas supply is received through the pipe f. The engine is supplied with a fly-wheel to insure steadiness of motion. It is exceedingly compact, occupying only 8X21 inches of floor space, and being only 17 inches high. Its total weight is 100 pounds.

From the foregoing description, the extreme simplicity which characterizes the construction of this compact and convenient form of motor will be apparent. As regards its economy for the particular service to which it has been adapted in the case here under consideration, we have the assurance that the size here shown has a capacity of raising 200 gallons of water 50 feet high per hour, at a cost of one and three-fifth cents -- estimating gas to cost $2 per M. The cleanliness, safety and economy of the gas engine, as we have remarked at the outset, are qualities that are rapidly gaining its introduction for many varieties of service, especially for small powers, and in situations where the steam engine would be inadmissible. For the special purpose of pumping water, it would appear to be particularly well adapted, as our readers have concluded from our description.

The same makers are preparing to construct gas engines for miscellaneous and special uses, of all sizes, from that capable of driving a sewing machine, and upwards.

The engine here described may be seen in operation at Chase's, No. 12 Cortlandt Street, New York.

2002 Featured Tractor

The Case Model VAC

The 1952 Case VAC before restoration.  

The featured tractor for 2002 is the Case, Model VAC The example pictured here belongs to Robert (Mac) MacDonald. The tractor was originally purchased brand new in 1952 by Bud Paddock who had a chicken farm on the line between Pelham and Amherst, Massachusetts. The tractor spent many years with a bucket on its front end, scooping up "you know what". When Bud finally closed the chicken farm, he used the Case to haul firewood out of the woods for his cordwood business. Bud had found that the Case was quite dangerous for this kind of work, and at one point he seriously considered giving it to an organization that demonstrates how unstable this kind of tractor can be by purposely flipping it over!! Bud changed his mind about this, however, and parked the VAC in his woods where it slowly began to rust away.

Well, Mac grew up in the area, and as a kid he had worked for Mr. Paddock on the chicken farm and had driven the Case tractor many times. When Mac began to fix up old tractors about ten years ago, he asked Mr. Paddock if he could buy the Case. Bud GAVE it to him, but on the condition that he never use it for the kind of work that would make it flip over. The tractor needed very little work to make it run again. Mac rebuilt the generator, rewelded the broken manifold, and bought a new battery. The engine itself needed no work at all. Since then, true to his word, Mac has only used the VAC for light jobs like scraping his unpaved driveway and pulling a wagon for cleaning up leaves and brush.

The Case VAC is the cultivator version of the Case Model VA, so it has a tricycle front end. The regular VA would have a wide front end. The VA series was made from 1942 to 1955. The tractor has a four cylinder gas engine with a bore of 3.25 inches and a stroke of 3.75 inches for a displacement of 124 cubic inches. The compression ratio is 6.0 to 1. This tractor has a hydraulic system and drum brakes. The electrical system was originally six volt, but it has been converted to twelve volt. Mac will probably not convert it back, because the original parts are long gone. Besides, that's part of the "history" of an old tractor - the things that the various owners did over the years to repair or "improve" their tractor. Leaving those little details "as is" makes each tractor a "one of a kind" original.


The "S" in the Central Mass. name stands for STEAM!! One of the things that is always prominent at the CMSGMA show at the Orange Airport is the steam display. It is usually coordinated by Ed Bergquist, Jim Boyko and Ed Jones. The display consists of a boiler capable of supplying steam to two or three moderately small steam engines. Steam is also supplied to the "steam table" where any member is invited to display and run toy steam engines or working models.

All of these steam whistles belong to Ed Bergquist.

  It's always interesting to watch a steam engine run.

This Simplex steam pump was made by Geo Blake Mfg, and it is owned by David Clark.     

This Cagney locomotive is owned by CMSGMA and it is an actual operating steam locomotive of 15" gauge.

There is no "cab" because the engineer must sit on the tender when operating the engine.