1898 Reid

This is an internal combustion engine made in 1898 by the Joseph Reid Gas Engine Company of Oil City, Pennsylvania. It provides everything in my shop: power to my machines, my lights, my compressed air and my heat. It is a 750 cubic inch two cycle engine producing a nominal 15 horsepower. The flywheels are five feet in diameter, and it weighs more than 4000 pounds.

This engine was originally intended to burn natural gas. I burned propane when I first had the engine, but for better economy, I switched to liquid fuel. I have found the best performance using a mixture of kerosene and gasoline. To make this work, I tried several carburetors with less than satisfactory results, so I made my own. It is a two jet venturi type controlled by a butterfly and both jets in the ventury. This uses between .89 and 1.18 gallons of fuel an hour, compared to 2 to 5 gallons of propane an hour.

I heat the shop with this engine by pumping the engine’s coolant through cast iron radiators inside the shop. It is very affective, and it lets me get more use out of the fuel. I have a separate cooling system outside the shop for in the summer. It consists of a Model T radiator over a 250 gallon water tank.

See a video of this engine running the line-shaft.

Here’s a good look at some of the plumbing this engine required.

This is the carburetor that I made. It connects to the engine’s gas regulating links, enabling me to burn propane or gasoline without altering the configuration. This is necessary because I start the engine on propane and switch to liquid fuel after it warms up.