Jerrys Old Engines in South Africa

United States Motors Corp, genset jumps onto my pickup!!

10th December 2009.

A friend, Lodewyk Lesch, mentioned this genset to me some time ago but did not want to part with it as it originated from a "family farm". I had not seen it but mentioned that it would be better off in my shed than his. I had to mention this a good number of times over the last year. Eventually the call came today - "Do you want it or not ??". Within an hour it had jumped onto the back of my pickup!!

It is a "United States Motors Corp." genset. The engine is unfortunately probably past repair as a previous owner had totally stripped it and only retained the crankcase, head, bearings and crankshaft. This was then used as a "Bearing Block". He had replaced the flywheel with a "Vee-belt" pulley and driven the generator from a small Lister engine (probably a Lister "D").

My first thoughts on seeing the engine, were that it may have been a Wisconsin or Kohler engine but I do not profess to be an expert on small American aircooled engines and was not sure.

From some quick Internet research I discovered that "United States Motors Corp." had used a Briggs and Stratton engine modified by themselves so I should not actually say that the engine is "past repair" as parts are probably still around but the cost of importing these to South Africa would be prohibitive (on my budget anyway). The design also  looks very much like a Wisconsin - does anyone know if they used Wisconsin engines as well (see advert below for Wisconsin A.K. - 1951).

Update 11th December 2009. With help from friends on the SEL and OldEngine e-mail lists I have been able to positively identify the engine as a Briggs & Stratton Model B.
(2 - 3 H.P.,  Bore =  2.625”, Stroke =  2.625” and manufactured between  1934 and 1948)

What is of interest on this set is that the generator and electrical control board appear to be complete and in good condition. Lodewyk did mention that it was in working condition when removed from it's "place of work".

I will do some more research on the unit before I make any final decisions but the options, at this time, are:

a) Find another similar aircooled engine to power it. I have a Villiers engine (incomplete) that would probably do the trick - marry the "Pommie" Villiers engine to the "Yankee" generator as Peter Ogborne in Australia recently did.

b) Then I have an Australian built aircooled Ronnie NHA which I could consider but this is only rated 4 H.P. @ 2400 R.P.M. The genny needs 2600 R.P.M but how much difference could 200 R.P.M. make ?   The "Yanks" and "Aussies" seem to get on O.K. with each other :-) Comments please.

c) I also have a Wisconsin Magnum (8 H.P.) looking for something to do but this is a modern engine and would not look right with this generator (circa 1950 sometime).

d) I could couple it to a 4 H.P. Bernard engine - do the "Yanks" and the "Frogs" go well together - I think NOT!

e) Maybe I should run it with belts off a Lister "D" as it spent much of it's working life being used that way.  (Working clothes et al.)

I would appreciate any information or suggestions on the engine and generator from list members - thanks in advance.

More later - right now I've gotta get back to drawing some tags for Mike Royster :-)

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A view of the unit.

View from the other side.

And another view of the unit.

The Brass spec plate - painted in 2 colours.

The Electrical control box.

Control switch on side of box - it looks
like this could be set to automatically
start the engine at a certain time or would it
be when a light or other "load" was applied?
 Comments appreciated.

The Electrical Control box from a different angle.

An advert for "United States Motors Corp. copied
from "Popular Science" Magazine - July 1951.
My engine looks like the top illustration.

An enlarged view of the previous advert.

An advert from the same magazine for
Wisconsin A.B. & A.K. engines.

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