The Crown Pumping Engine

Flywheel side
The flywheel side of the Crown Pumping Engine.
The builder's plate     The featured engine this year was a Crown pumping engine. The engine was made by the National Meter Co. in New York City in 1883 and was used to fill water tanks in apartment buildings in the city. The water pump is an integral part of the engine and was made by the Crown Pump Co. The engine was rated to be able to pump water into a tank 100 feet above the engine. The engine was listed in National Meter Co. catalog as late as 1900. It is suspected that they made as many as 1500 engines and they were poor sellers since they used a tremendous amount of fuel. They most likely continued to sell them until their supply was exhausted.
The pump side      The engine is a non-compressing design, and is two-cycle. It is a true flame ignition slide valve engine, using two spool valves to admit and ignite the gas. It was designed to run on illuminating gas or town gas, the same gas that was used to run gas lights in homes in the late 1800ís. Illuminating gas is predominantly a mixture of hydrogen and methane, with a small amount of other gasses that serve as illuminants. Illuminating gas was piped into homes as late as 1900 to 1910. Electricity proved to be a cheaper and safer alternative to the gas for lighting and different formulas for gas were adopted for heating and cooking.
     Bill Lopoulos purchased this particular engine from Nate Lillibridge. It is in excellent original condition and is one of about eight known. While it can be run on hydrogen, it runs best on illuminating gas. Bill was fortunate to have a cylinder of the gas mixed by Wayne Grenning to run some experiments with. He ran this engine and the one down at Kinzer on the mixture and noticed a marked difference in performance. There are several other flame ignition engines that require the gas mixture to run properly, including the Paradox toy flame ignition engine.

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