PORT HURON DOUBLE TANDEM COMPOUND

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Wesley Reese
This picture is from a 1908 Port Huron catalog. I am told that only a few of these were built and that only one survives, somewhere in Iowa. This must have about the cleanest lines of any engine. Courtesy of Wesley Reese, Box 67, Austinburg, Ohio 44010.

Box 67, Austinburg, Ohio

I am sending to the Album a picture of a Port Huron double
cylinder tandem compound engine. So far as I can learn only three
companies built engines of this type. We know Garr Scott built them
in their Big Forty. It appears Minneapolis also built some, but I
have owned or seen Minneapolis catalogs covering most of the years
back to the turn of the century but have never seen one showing a
tandem compound double.

Apparently many engines of various kinds were built of which
pictures are scarce or non-existent. Every so often I see
references to Advance cross compound engines. I have seen many
Advance catalogs but never a photo of a cross compound. I know
Advance built a rear mounted single late in the career of the
company, but I would like to see a photo of an Advance double,
which it would have to be if it were cross compound. I once came
across a mention of a 50 x 150 Nichols & Shepard. Could this be
an error or did Nichols & Shepard actually build an engine of
this size?

I have an engineers’ handbook published back in the nineties
that treats of a Port Huron engine with poppet valves. The
illustrations are fuzzy and the description is meager but the idea
I get is that there are two poppet valves moving back and forth in
lines perpendicular to the line of travel of the piston. It does
not explain how the valves are actuated. I have asked old engine
men, some of them Port Huron men, about this engine and they claim
never to have heard of it. Probably only a few of them were ever
made.

In Floyd Clymer’s book of steam traction engines there is a
picture that puzzles me very much. On page 95 in the lower right
corner there is a picture of a double cylinder Minneapolis engine.
This shows the differential and idler gear on the left side. The
clutch is on the flywheel on the right side. How is the power
transmitted to the idler gear? I have seen several Minneapolis
doubles, but they all had the gear train completely on the flywheel
side as shown by the picture in the upper left hand corner of the
facing page.

Speaking of flywheels, or band wheels, as some prefer to call
them, how many readers know of one fracturing in heavy gear work? I
know of one, a Minneapolis double, pulling twelve plows in prairie
sod. It would seem the pressure of the clutch was more than the
wheel could take and it broke into three segments. Two pieces
landed forward of the engine and the third piece sailed back over
the engineer’s head. It was a bit of grim humor around the
neighborhood to say ‘the engineer kept his head.’

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