This month's Vintage Iron topic comes from Joseph Prindle, a reader from Wisconsin. He has identified the mystery engine in the photo postcard on page 55 of the May issue. It is a Perfection gasoline engine made by Lang & Scharmann Manufacturers, Marshfield, Wis.
He sent me copies of three different newspaper ads he found in the Marshfield Herald. However, they were from microfiche and would not reproduce well here.
Joe has researched the company and found that its time in the engine business was short-lived. There is no mention of the company in The American Gasoline Engine by C.H. Wendel. We have no mention of the company in our files, and Joe has searched through several years' issues of Gas Power and Gas Review, but found nothing.
Joe is starting a registry of Perfection engines, and would like to know if any other readers are aware of any. He only knows of 2 more, a 4 hp and 8 hp.
He also sent us copies of the engine's patent papers: "Patented June 14, 1910, #961, 156 governing mechanism explosive engines" and "Patented Sept. 20, 1910, #970, 545 Ignitor for explosive engines" with both applications filed on May 10, 1909, by Peter Paulson, Marshfield, Wis.
The "Perfection" used the trademark "Made in Marshfield." Joe's research found an Aug. 5, 1911 advertisement in the Marshfield Herald introducing "The Paulson" engine built by Lang & Scharmann. An Oct. 21, 1911 advertisement in the same paper shows the same engine, but calls it "The Perfection." The ad makes no mention of Peter Paulson.
The last ad Joe has found for these engines appeared in the Dec. 16, 1916 issue of the Marshfield Herald. He assumes that to be the end of the line for the Perfection engine. Research in other area newspapers and trade magazines turned up nothing. Joe says it must have been "tough going" for Lang & Scharmann, because local newspapers of the era were full of ads for the local I.H.C. and Stickney dealers, and an aggressive Fairbanks-Morse dealer was located just 30 miles away in Wisconsin Rapids.
Joe has one piece of original advertising memorabilia: a Perfection ashtray. If anyone else knows anything about this company, contact Joe at 1340 22nd Avenue South, #12, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., 54495; (715) 424-0793; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"... A Mechanical Masterpiece"
Excerpts from a 1911 advertisement for Perfection engines
"A few reasons you should buy a Perfection: The Perfection engine is a mechanical masterpiece. In its makeup are all the latest improvements of design and construction. Every part of this engine has been the subject of careful thought and severe practical test. As it now stands, it is without a peer. It is highly efficient without being complicated.
"In quality, the Perfection engine is unsurpassed. Where smooth, steady, reliable and closely regulated power is required, this is the engine that will satisfy."
"How the Perfection is constructed: Note the following points which comprise a few of the more important features in the construction of the Perfection:
"The base is of massive construction, the metal is concentrated where the greatest strain will fall. The result is great strength without undue weight. The cylinders are bolted securely to the base on a long-acting bearing, as a safeguard against heavy breakdowns. The construction is much superior to the overhanging cylinder. The bearings are especially liberal. This enables the engine to withstand the severest strains with a small amount of wear. The flywheels are carefully finished and accurately balanced, giving to the engine that smooth, steady power which is a great source of satisfaction to the engine user. Both intake and exhaust valves are in the cylinder head where they are easily accessible. The valves and valve seat are ground to an exact fit, each valve being ground in the particular seat in which it will work. The compression of the Perfection engine is perfect as a result of the accurate fit of piston and valves and the careful packaging. Good compression means great power.
"A single push rod operates the sparker and exhaust valve. The push rod is entirely controlled by the governor. Spark and fuel are used only when they are needed. The ignition is of the make and break type, the most approved design. The governor is equipped with a speed regulator by means of which the speed may be varied while the engine is in motion. All Perfection engines are water cooled. The cylinders and head are completely jacked. The water from the cooler, passing through the jacket, carries away the excessive heat.
"Guarantee: If properly installed and operated, we guarantee the Perfection gasoline engine to deliver more than the actual rate brake horsepower, and to be reliable and economical under any climatic condition. We agree with the purchaser of each Perfection engine to make good by repair or replacement, when delivered at our factory, transportation prepaid, any part of such engine, except batteries, proven to be defective in material or workmanship, within one year from shipment. This guarantee is not binding when said engine is damaged by accident, misuse or neglect." FC