The Standard [1903]

A New Engine And A New Speed Launch

by E. W. Graef

It gives me a great deal of pleasure to describe this new engine to our readers, as it is a new departure in the gasoline engine line, and is well worth your while to read if you want be up to date in engine lore. It is a very decided advance in marine gasoline engine construction, and puts the ordinary launch engine to shame when it comes to starting, stopping and reversing, and in the positive manner in which these operations tale place, with no labor connected with it; and I am not telling you a launch-engine-catalogue story, either, when I say, that it is as easily controlled as a steam engine, and practically in the same way. You pull a small control lever ahead, then turn on the air throttle valve, and the engine will start ahead; push the lever back and turn on the throttle and the engine will reverse; pull the lever in the central position, and the engine will stop; to get the different speeds ahead or astern, you manipulate a small spark lever in conjunction with the control lever already spoken of. One of the great advantages of this type of engine is that it is coupled direct to the propeller shaft, just as a steam engine is, and consequently is minus the reverse gear or reversible propeller so generally in use in maritime outfits. Then, again, the engine is not kept running while making a landing, but is stopped, started, slowed down, or reversed, just as a steam is, consequently doing away with that unpleasant vibration and noise that accompanies letting the engine run while the boat is at rest.

No doubt the near future will develop even the smaller sizes of gasoline engines in the same way, or at least do away with the cranking of the engine and the uncertainty of starting on the instant, which is so common in all makes now.

This new Standard engine shown in the picture is rated at 110 h.p. and will not be built in smaller sizes for the present, and even the larger ones to order only, as the firm intended to build their regular stock engine as in the past until the new engine has developed, and its small faults eliminated as fast as they show themselves, although i must say it works very nearly perfect now, as it has never refused to do any of the functions required of it, excepting in a race without the Leighton boat -- something got into the circulating pump, and they were compelled to stop the engine to remove the pump valves, otherwise it would have become overheated. This would have happened with any type of engine, so much stress need not be given to the incident, though, I make not of it to show the reason why the Leighton boat came in eight minutes ahead on a 13-mile, her time being 34 minutes and 53 seconds, and that of the Standard eight minutes more, she having been stopped about three minutes. it is quite evident that these two boats are close together in speed, although the Standard rates a little higher that the Leighton outfit, and would have to allow her a little time. It is, however, a question, which really is the faster, boat for boat? Either of them are able to make it interesting for most of the fast steam yachts.

The following is a description of the new Standard engine, and I will go into the details enough to help the reader understand its operation -- that is, if they are at all familiar with gasoline engines -- and if you will look at the picture showing the starboard side of the engine it will help you understand while reading. Although there is no vaporizer shown, you will find the inlet to the supply pipe which runs along the top of all the valve chambers, the inlet being at about the middle of the second cylinder. The vaporizer is piped to this inlet, and is of a very special design, needing no regulating after being once set. There are six cylinders of eight inches in diameter, and of a uniform stroke of ten inches., and are cast in sets of three, being bolted together to look like one casting. The bed, including fly wheel, is seventy-seven inches long and twenty-four inches wide; the fly wheel is twenty-four inches in diameter; the length of engine from center of shaft is about thirty-eight inches, and is fifty inches from bottom of fly wheel to top of engine. The complete weight of the engine as shown in the picture is 3,200 pounds.

The after bearing is made very long, and contains the usual thrust bearing used in steam-engine practice, and a spiral gear for driving the two to one cam shaft besides. On the after end of the engine, and fastened to the bearing cap, you will see the air pump, which supplies the air for starting and handling the engine in close places. Directly under this bearing is the circulating water pump, which keeps the cylinders cool while running.

The main cam shaft is the one shown with the top pinion (forward) and is arranged so that it slides fore and aft, to engage either the reversing or go-ahead cam at the will of the operator. The lower short cam shaft also slides with the main cam shaft, and engages the go-ahead or reverse cams, which time up the compressed air valves that are shown of the three forward cylinders. The one-control lever shown in a horizontal position forward and just above the main cam shaft controls these two cam shafts, the mixture valve and also acts as an electric switch, and only allows the current to flow when the lever is thrown in the ahead or astern position. The small vertical lever shown just above the control lever is used to advance or retard the time of the sparkers which are shown on the rocker shaft just above the main cam shaft. The rocker shaft also acts as a fulcrum for the exhaust mechanism, the valves of which are operated mechanically. The inlet valves operate by suction, and are on top of the valve chests, the six caps shown containing them.

On the three forward cylinders, and just above the exhaust outlet, a small pipe is seen with a valve on the end of its branch; this is the compressed-air pipe to the compressed-air valves with which the engine is started. The air is led to these valves through a pipe from the compressed-air tank placed at any point in the boat, and kept supplied with air from the air pump at the end of the main engine shaft. The small cam shaft is so arranged that when the main lever is pulled to the full head or full astern it cuts the compressed-air cams out of use so that the air valves do not act when under gasoline power.

A careful study of the pictures will give the reader a good general idea of the construction, and will show the position of the cranks and that they are always in position for starting, there being no dead center. The engine is shown as installed in the high-speed launch called the Standard and drives a three-bladed propeller 36 inches in diameter, 6 feet 6 inches pitch, at 420 turns a minutes.

It is a beautiful sight to see this boat drive through the water at full speed, as she leaves the same with but very little disturbance, practically no stern wave and very little side wave. The hull is 60 feet long, 6 feet 6 inches beam, and has a draught of hull 28 inches, is double-planked of three-sixteenths mahogany, riveted together with copper rivets and burred with the planks lapped and canvas between. There is scarcely any vibration when the engine is going at full speed, or, in fact, at any speed. A ride in the boat gives one the impression that it is going at express-train time, and it makes all other ordinary power craft look like snails when passing them in the same direction.

The Riotte Brothers, of the U.S. Long Distance Automobile Co., of Jersey City, are the inventors, and it is the outcome of years of experience in the gasoline engine business.

(Transcribed from The Rudder, October, 1903, pp. 544-547.)

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page]