Updated info: identify Petter's engine

Discussion in 'Identification' started by mikeb500, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. mikeb500

    mikeb500 New Member

    Hi all,

    a while back I posted for help identifying a Petter's engine (see here for info and photos).

    http://www.internalfire.com/modules.php ... pic&t=1757

    Anyway, despite lots of great advice and extensive searching, we have never been able to find an engine number (its not on the crankshaft flywheel, etc.).

    Recently we had a visitor and when he saw the engine, he claimed that this was a very very early engine, one of only a few prototypes Petter produced and thus it never received an engine number.

    Can anyone help verify this claim ? Or does anyone have more details about Petter producing a small series of prototypes ?

    Thanks for all your help,

    /Mike B.
  2. goodchip

    goodchip Member

    Hello Mike,It is an early engine but not a prototype.It is pre 1902 and quite rare. In the seventies I was allowed by Yeovil Museum to get run the first Petter engine running. I would say that it would be between 98 and 02/03. John
  3. petternut

    petternut Administrator

    My information from a retired Petter employee is that Petter always regarded the first hundred engines of a type as prototypes and allocated them serials. So that for example the 5hp Junior is said to start at 40100 but actually started at 40000, or the S type that started earlier than 32580.
    Over the years I've come across several engines of several types that were protypes both by this logic and their features.

    Often these prototypes seem to have gone, for testing, to "friendly" dealers or family connections, these two attributes being combined in one Eire dealer. (whose name eludes me today- John?)

    Note however that I cannot say this applied earlier than 1913.

  4. goodchip

    goodchip Member

    Yes Roland,interesting subject,I have never heard of a definite number of engines being prototypes but certainly in these early days it was a question of try it and see! Any lamp start engine was an imperfect beast (Cummins called them an 'interim solution') at the best of times until Dr.Diesel developed his 'Rational Heat Engine' so many changes took place in these early engines and indeed the first ones were given to friends and directors to try out.I don,t think a trial engine would be sent to Ireland,bit far away to keep an eye on it. I cannot see any logical reason why Petters would not number a sales engine,they were an established successful business and not to number an engine would be terrible practice and I don't think would be allowed. Mikes'engine has been some what played about with so the mind boggles at what could have happened to the number. The most usual place was on the top of the flanges.hardly any of these early standard engines have exactly the same vapouriser,most differ in minor ways .At the time this engine was made the agent for Belfast was S.J.Brownlee.If I am right he was married to one of the Petter daughters.Don't forget that we are talking before the Irish took back their country from our rulers! Just been thinking though,there was a Cork agent,may be this one was the son in law? Was it the Cork agent that had the sub bases cast for the HandyMan engine?I will see what I can find out. By the way the term 'surface ignition'(S type) was used for some years in the works before any engine carried it. John

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