The Advance Engine


| September/October 1960



Valve Advance Engine

Cylinder and Valve Advance Engine

Higgins, Texas

Since Blaker's article on valve gears and his attack on the Advance Engine and the Marsh Valve Gear in particular -- appearing in the ALBUM over a year ago, I've received a number of critical letters from past and present owners of Advance Engines and all agree the article is at variance to facts.

There goes an old saying, 'The tree with the best apples has the most clubs hanging in it.' As most everyone knows, the Advance was never a controversial Engine. It was favorably known throughout the U.S.A., Canada, the Pampas of Argentine to the Steppes of Russia for exceptional power, economy and symmetrical design. To quote Mr. O. C. Fry, Flint, Michigan, and raised at Battle Creek, Meinard Leafever, - 'his was a master mind.' He designed three engines, the Upton, Port Huron and Advance with similarity of design.

For several years following 1900, the writer at different times operated Advance Engines in Kansas and Oklahoma, both simple and compound, and owned one for ten years. All who have seen them perform in the belt will agree they TALK for themselves. Blaker writes the sharp exhaust is the result of bushing in exhaust pipe, which is not true. Advance Thresher Company furnished NO bushings for either simple or compound engines and made no provision for same. On another occasion, he has been quoted as saying it is not possible to set their valve with equal ports for both motions. This also is false, as Advance Engineers will testify.

It's reasonable to suppose Leaf ever selected to equip the advance Engine with the Marsh Valve Gear as best suited to operate the ALLEN DOUBLE PORTED VALVE which gives the same opening to live steam as a single ported valve with half the movement. With this short travel and quick release, Advance operates with up to half less back pressure than other engines. I saw this test run at Kansas State College the winter of 1903-04. It's true you can't vary the 'cut-off with the Marsh reverse, which in my humble opinion is mostly theory and 'eye wash' on an engine controlled by governor.

For many years I owned a 9 x 10 Prick. I appreciated its many fine and exclusive patented engineering features, together with its rugged construction, Its reverse gear (Landis Shifting Eccentric) had a half dozen notches on its quadrant we rarely used.