The Uniflow Steam Engine

James Lawler outlines the specifications and problems that go along with his uniflow steam engine


| May/June 1962



Steam Generator

Model 100-20 B.H.P. Steam Generator and four cylinder uniflow engine.

8125 State Street, South Gate, Calif.

It has been ten years since I first announced my Uniflow Steam Engine. Since then I have never ceased working for a better Engine. I admire all the wonderful attempts of some of the steam Enthusiasts in keeping the old type steam cars operating. Keep up the good work!

My own endeavor has been to build an Engine and Steam Generator that would apply to a Modern Steam Car. I have preferred the principal of a Uniflow Engine on account of the potential it has for the average application - and to be manufactured at a reasonable price. In these inflated times, that is very difficult to do, but nevertheless I am still trying. I will not dwell on a lot of past history that already has been written on the right and wrong of the best thermodynamics in steam engine design. I have found in the last twenty-five years of research that the fellows who write the Do's and Don'ts on how to build the best Steam Engine for the present cars never produce one.

In building a satisfactory Uniflow Engine, I found several real problems to overcome. I prefer a Uniflow Engine (single action) to meet the present applications. Here are a few problems one encounters. (1) Blow by had to be licked without severe ring tension, (2) Lubrication is a must-with high pressure steam on the piston travel by force feed to each cylinder, (3) Condensation in crank case, (4) Separation of Engine lubrication from the exhaust steam, (5) Cam Shaft has been a big costly problem. My cams have a forward action for tractors because they have a transmission that is part of the differential. They don't need road speed. For boats, I have designed a cam with forward and reverse. For cars, a cam with forward and reverse, with a high and low cut-off on the forward cam.

My Burner is a Propane Type. I have a thermo-controlled high and low fire.

Now my problem is production. How to let the other fellow have it. I have patterns and jigs for my engine, and my inventory will exceed $25,000 in material alone, and that is only a start....so if we are ever to get a steam unit in the late model cars, it is time to separate Do's and Don'ts - so let me hear from you.