We went to the Pumpkin Festival at Hunsader Farms near Sarasota, Florida on October 26, 1996. The Florida Flywheelers were invited to join the show and a good many of them did. It is located 10 miles East of I-75 on CR-675, Halfway between SR-64 and SR-70. It's definitely out there in the outback! The overall activities were great, including farm animals, crafts, dozens of food vendors including hit & miss powered homemade ice cream, produce, live country music and a bunch of stuff I probably missed. If you ever plan to attend this annual event, you'd better get there early because there was a huge crowd!
The hit of the show as far as I was concerned was a 32 Horsepower Fairbanks Morse Engine. This is hit and miss, 11,000 pounds of iron from 1905 that came from a feed mill in Kentucky. Its power was rated at 200 r.p.m., but it was slowed down considerably, so much so that you'd think it was going to stop just as it fired.
This engine is started with a KITCHEN MATCH! A kitchen match is loaded into a special
plunger (see inset) and then screwed into a portal on the side of the combustion chamber. Note the extra matches lying on the side. With safety matches being modern, I bet these "strike anywhere" types are getting scarce.
After rotating the flywheel to bottom dead center of the compression stroke, you then fill the primer cup with a "calculated" amount of gasoline along with a little in the match hole for good measure. Now screw the match holder into the match light portal, hop up on the flywheel and give a good heave-ho in the reverse direction to compress the charge.
This engine is owned by Lew Donaldson of Dade City, FL (Or does it own him? We are all only caretakers.) I expect we'll see Lew at the Florida Flywheelers' shows up at the new Flywheeler Park between Ft. Meade and Avon Park, FL. I look forward to seeing it again and pestering Lew for more information such as bore and stroke, crank diameter, etc. It was neat to either figure out all the parts and what they were for or if not, ask about them.
A whole series of type "N" engines evolved around this design, including match start. By the way, if you didn't want to deal with the match, you could always have someone trip the igniter. The problem is that you'd better trust both the igniter tripper and your own instincts of when to jump off! For the more cautious, there is a hand pump on the side that will pump a mixture of air and fuel into the combustion chamber while you hold the flywheel from turning. The ignitor or match can then be tripped to set off the mix.
Once rolling, you then have to mess with the fuel mix to get it to keep rolling and not smoke up the place at the same time. For running kerosene, a metal flex-pipe is connected from below the exhaust port to the base of the fuel mixer to preheat the fuel. Oilers are provided for the rings and an additional oiler feeds a slinger ring that is chambered through to the crankpin. These engines were designed to provide uninterrupted service over long periods.
There were many other fine engines and tractors at the event, but obviously this one over shadowed them all. 'til next time...
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