WHY A MODEL ENGINE ENCYCLOPEDIA?
As with any collectible, it is important to know how to identify what it is that you are
collecting. To know the date of manufacture, identifying features, missing parts, the correct
parts, etc. make you much more knowledgeable and able to discuss the item at
Model engines are somewhat unique in the collecting world because of their original intended use. It is this use, at the hands of modelers who have their own individual
idea of what they want the model engine to do, that the engines get modified from their
original design. Modifications and parts swapping are common place. Most engine collectors
are interested in obtaining engines in as close to original condition as possible.
But what was the original condition?
This information we hope to provide. We’ve attempted to make sure that the photographed
engines have the proper and original parts. When this isn’t possible, because of
rarity or uncertainty, we will attempt to note the incorrect part or parts.
You will undoubtedly find engines that you cannot match to our descriptions. There
could be several reasons for this: First – we may have missed that model if it is part of a
longer line. Second – it is possibly a reproduction of which we have no details. The most
likely reason is that some previous owner may have removed, swapped or combined
parts from similar engines.
Manufacturers of these little gems, whether built in “small” quantities like JACK
KEENER’s Brats or FRANK DALLAIRE’s Pee Wee’s, up to the “big” manufacturers like
OHLSSON and HERKIMER, were constantly changing their engines. The evolution of the engines thru changes made between the models we have picked for this book and the model you may have in your collection will invariably appear. Much of this constant changing was to improve performance, simplify production or cut costs.
We’ve seen a Cox Golden Bee still sealed in original bubble pack with a black anodized tank, that, had we been handed this engine without packaging we would have insisted that a previous owner had installed whatever was handy. Instead, it points to the fact that manufacturers would use whatever parts were on hand to get the product out the door. It would be totally impossible to catalog all of these changes. All manufacturers, big and small, did this to one degree or another.
What you get from this book depends on how you use it. If you are looking for an absolutely complete listing of all model engines built in North America, you will be disappointed. If you are looking for a good working reference to be used to build your knowledge of these fascinating power plants, then this is for you.
We would welcome any discussions on additions and/or corrections. We too are
constantly learning new things about these mechanical marvels.
The Model Museum
Engine Collectors' Journal