Here is a new old stock Air Compressor I picked up awhile back. This would have gone on the Ford prior to electric starting and would have been part of a Stewart Air Starter unit.
Trying to add multiple photos
It actually worked!!! I feel so smart, now. I have fewer and fewer of those times as I get older.
The photo upload or the starter?
Lessee, you turn the crank on the front of the car, the compressor turns the air motor, which starts the car. Yeh, that'll work.
Nice device, Stan.
Pretty slick unit Stan, thanks for sharing.
Does someone have a picture of what the rest looks like? On some of the traditional air starters on big industrial engines they use "air to head" and push right on the piston when it is on the power stroke. Those work really well as it makes the engine almost impossible to flood. The air is injected just about the time the spark occurs. It was relatively cheap and simple.
I suppose the air tank would be similar in size to a "Presolite" tank. You can also inflate tires with this type of system.
My '13 Russell has a air compressor that pressurizes the fuel tank but can also be used to inflate the tires. The fuel tank pressuring part is limited to about 2-3 psi. You close a valve and it goes much higher.
Thank's Stan!!! Even if only used as a compressor what a wonderful thing to have compressed air on the working man's car/truck/wrecker/farm shop!! There was so much tire trouble in the early days some of the expensive cars had built in/on air compressors so some also had air startors!! If i rember right,i think i saw one on a 1906 National at the OCF and the 1908 Winton had a air starter!Over 100 years later air starters are still in use on some trucks and industrail uses where a eletric system could pose a hazzard!! Great job Stan,and even if we did not see the air tank and the rest of it some of us know air startors worked then as well as now! It was in Augest of 1963 at FT Gorden Ga where i heard a air startor on a truck and i don't think i ever wore that pair of shorts again!!! Thank's again!! Bud.
Air starters are almost universal on oilfield equipment, especially offshore, where fire and explosions are a way of life. If you want to get a good scare, go to sleep next to one of these air starts. When they crank it up, I guarantee you that you will be wide awake, especially if you are still a bit shell shocked like some of us.
This air starter was an air motor that mounted in front of the radiator and spun the engine via a ratchet mounted to the crank shaft. It was a round unit about a foot in diameter. The air tank mounted behind the right front wheel. Somewhere in all my junk I have a Saturday Evening Post advertisement for the whole setup. It probably worked fine when new, Stewart was a big company and built quality products, but it was probably hard to keep it all clean and air tight. My thinking is that a lot of mornings there wasn't air enough to start the T and you ended up cranking anyway.
One of the things interesting about this is that it ran all the time. Most air compressors for T's were intended for auxiliary air and were engaged against the fan belt or something when needed. This had to run all the time so there was always air. It is very well made. I've resisted the temptation to pull the cylinder to see how the piston is made, etc. I'd like to put it on an engine. It should be in the museum in Centerville but for now it is in the museum in the back of my garage in Montana.
The guy I got this from found four NOS ones in an old parts store in Seattle in the 60's. He sold two early on, kept two until I talked him out of this one with increasing numbers of hundred and twenty dollar bills last year. I'd sold a bunch of stuff at the Portland Swap meet and was feeling richer than I should have but finally had to throw in a Stromberg OF rebuild that is usually $250-300 to close the deal. He didn't want to sell it very bad & I still don't know why I wanted it so bad. Needle in my arm for this stuff kind of thing. (Addicted to junk) The black part had been repainted when I got it. He did that years ago, I think. I didn't paint it.
At one point in my life I owned a Corbett truck-about a 48 or 50. It had a 220 Buda?? diesel with an air starter. When the tanks were full of air you could hear it for a mile in the morning spinning that engine to start it. No glow plugs, it started direct on diesel. Once we started it in the morning we never shut it off all day unless we were somewhere with live air to boost it and we left a compressor hooked to it all night to keep the air tanks pressured so it would start in the morning. It had a leak at every joint. We had a 40 foot flatbed behind it (which we called a float) to haul drill collars and drill stem on. Slow and ugly but there was no load too heavy or hill too steep. Grady would know this. It had a 5 and 4 in it with deep under, air powerlock differentials and Bendix air brakes. No power steering and no need for a heater in the winter time. Keeping that thing going down the road was exercise enough to make you take your coat off and strip down to your t shirt at 30 below. In the summer it was so hot in that cab you could light a Camel on the doghouse. It was a conventional but had the doghouse that came back into the cab about a foot to cover the back of the engine. We gave $2000 or 2500 for it and used it for several years, sold it at our auction when we went broke and got about $2000 for it. It might still be out there working somewhere. That was 30+ years ago. Probably collectible now.
It had to be very hard on the front cam bushing. I bet it wiped the bearing out in no time.
I suppose this thing had some sort of pilot valve unloader for the compressor, once the tank was up to pressure it just turns against no pressure just like a modern air brake system.
Those industrial air starters really do scream especially the IR's. The TDI turbos are a little quieter. In the oilfield they generally just vent natural gas right through them to atmosphere. If I recall right the IR's worked best at about 150 psi inlet. The air to heads make almost no noise at all. Things just start turning. I was talking to ship engineer just before Christmas and some of those have air to head and some ring gear. With this you would make darn sure to shut off the air tank tight for the night.
Kind of related, I hope.
I have seen tiny four-cylinder flathead engines that were used for starting devices on oil-field engines. I can't remember who made them.
Was there ever a gasoline engine-powered accessory starter for any of the early cars?
John Deere used a couple of different "pony engines" on there biggest 2 cylinder diesels. The biggest was a V4.
Caterpillar used them too. The Cat ones used Ford Flathead V8 internal parts (rods pistons valves). These systems used a integrated water jacket as well as they piped the exhaust through the intake manifold. Once you got the pony going you would go for coffee on a cold day. Then come back and start rolling over the diesel with the injection off. When you got it loosened up and a little heat in it you were in business.
Thanks Les. IIRC, these things that I saw couldn't have been more than a litre in capacity. They looked to me like they'd be perfect for building a sweet go-kart!
Yup,I have a friend who still has a JD 720 Diesel with the pony and when you got the V-4 up to what seemed like 10,000 rpm you would start rolling over the big engine then put compression to it! Most of the pony Cats were two cyls but i think the early D-9's had small 4's?? While looking through the book for the HD-21 powershift i once had i found there was a No Starter option with a extra pump in the trans for push starts!!Bud.PS,With that 12-71 Detroit i shure miss Spooky Old Allice!!Bud.
A guy came into our airport a couple of years ago with a Russian plane that was used as a trainer for future pilots. It was tandem, with a radial engine. It was a rather big old clumsy looking brute. It had an air starter on it. Schrader valve stuck out the side of the fuselage so you could recharge the air tank. He said it was very reliable. The plane also came with a hand pump so you could pump up the tank by hand if you got stuck somewhere.
The patent explains the operation,
use and control of the compressor.
Patent number: 1196609
Filing date: Aug 11, 1915
Issue date: Aug 29, 1916
What was/is the worlds largest diesel engine in Diesel House (museum) in Copenhagen is started up using pressured air. I believe many ship engines are the same. They use the method of blowing the air into the cylinders at the right time.
As an ole trucker and farmer, I gotta jump in here.
I graduated from Anderson High School (Indiana) in 1961. Our old gym burned in my sophomore year. While they were building the new one, we would always hear the pony motors running on the big machinery when we walked to school. At that time, we didn't know what they were. Like Les said, the operators were over drinking coffee.
On the 70, 720 & 730 John Deere diesels (also the 80 Series) they had a little V-4 pony motor. Bud was right, they seemed to turn about 10k, but actually, were 4500 and 6000 depending on the model. I learned this while turning wrenches in the early '70's.
Grady - you're right about waking up if you sleep next to an air start - kinda. If you do wake up, and stay awake, it's one of two things: either you're a newbie or your not tired enough. After a few years of sleeping in truck stops, you still hear them, but just roll over and go back to sleep. BTDT.