Letters from readers, February 1943
During my wanderings round this part of the country I have come across a piece of machinery that may be of interest to one of my fellow subscribers, to wit, one single-cylinder De Dion-Bouton engine complete. The present owner bought the car 20 years ago, and says that he used it for ten years for delivering milk. About five years ago he cut the chassis in half just behind the clutch and embedded the front half in concrete to use as a power plant for driving farm machinery, where it lies now. He knows little about it except that it is “6 h.p.” (developed or R.A.C.?) Everything aft of the clutch is lost, but the remainder is as follows: Single cylinder mounted on alloy crankcase presumably enclosing flywheel. Atmospheric inlet valve mounted above exhaust valve, mixture drawn from a Claude! Hobson carburetter via about 2 ft. of copper pipe, the carburetter being mounted alongside the crankcase. Cooling by a magnificent bronze pump mounted on the front frame cross tube. Ignition is now by a magneto, but I don’t think that this is original, as there are some odd bits on the timing case doing nothing, either a governor or a magneto control. The clutch is also interesting, being built up in a most elaborate fashion with steel, alloy and, to keep the internals dry, a lovely bronze cover plate.
A certain amount of compression is still evident and the main bearings appear to be sound. The engine is so dirty that the dirt has prevented serious corrosion, in spite of its open-air life, so I imagine it would run with a little attention and a new magneto. Can anyone tell me what the original ignition lay-out was and its approximate age? Incidentally, what remains of the chassis is of tubular construction. The whole assembly is available for a very few shillings.
Wishing you all the best for the New Year, and may the great “After” find you still going strong.
I am, Yours etc.,
K. M. Miles (Sgt.). No. 3 Company, R.E.M.E.
[We should say the date of this interesting engine is around 1902.—Ed.]