How We Buy Gas Engines
If we could follow the plan suggested by the first portion of this article, in buying Wood Workers' Vises, it would be comparatively inexpensive. There are but 13 styles of Wood Workers' Vises, and the total cost of buying a sample of each, together with freight and other expenses, is less than $100.00. There are five times as many Gas Engines as there are Vises, and the cost of a medium sized engine is from fifty to one hundred times greater than the cost of a Vise, so that the buying of sample Engines is quite out of the question.
Therefore, instead of having the Engines come to us, we must go to the Engines. It isn't sufficient that we go to the places where Engines are made. In a Gas Engine factory we find engines running under tho most favorable conditions, operated by men who know all the points of the Engine.
As the Engines we sell are to be used for all sorts of purposes, and under all sorts of conditions, we must— as far as possible— ascertain how successfully an Engine works under these different conditions, and so we are led in the course of our investigations into machine mac shops, flour mills, nickel plating plants, printing offices, bakeries, farms, in fact in the direction of all industries requiring power. In some cases we have written upwards of thirty letters to the various users of some particular make of Engine.
About four years ago, after going into the matter as thoroughly as we could, we selected a line of Gas Engines, and since then have sold this line.
There are at present over one hundred different Engines made, but, in our judgment, there are not more than five or six makers whose product is strictly first-class. The Engines we sell are made by one of these five or six. The other four or five Engines we are not —for obvious reasons— saying anything about.
If any one chooses to enquire of us about any make of Gas Engine (and will enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope for reply), we will be pleased to tell them what we know about that particular Engine, or tell them if we don't know.
Realizing the importance of the Gas Engine question, we have never ceased our efforts to learn more about them, and in the past four months our engineer has visited seven Gas Engine shops, located in five different cities. Our engineer isn't an Expert and does not pose as such. He has served an apprenticeship in one of the largest steam engine shops in the country, has sold and used steam and gas engines for many years, and has, we believe, plenty of good, every-day common sense. We print here a letter received from him, which was written from a city nearly one thousand miles distant, where he had gone for the purpose of investigating a certain make of Gas Engines. The maker of these Engines claimed to have something in the way of an Engine that was superior to all others.
To-day I visited the Gas Engine Co., made a thorough examination of the Engine, and an inspection of the shop, its tools and appliances. At different times in the past few days I have made inquiries of different parties who have these Engines in use, and have inspected a number of them.
The is a good Engine, but it, along with most of the others has its faults. I mailed you the catalogue, and you will see from cuts that the Engine is of neat design. The Engines are well and substantially built, have large crank shafts and liberal bearing surfaces, and the workmanship is A1. It has no special features to place it above other makes, that I could see.
Some of the features I did not like were:
First, while their catalogue states that they can furnish electric igniter, they do not recommend it, but strongly advise the use of the tube as being more satisfactory. The fact of the matter is, their electric igniting device is not satisfactory.
Second, they depend wholly upon the suction to open the inlet ( gasoline valve), its own weight closing it on the compression stroke. The valve can be regulated as to its opening, but to change it the air chamber must be removed. This valve would be at a disadvantage in a cold climate, as it would be likely to freeze to the seat, there being always a certain amount of moisture in and around the air chamber. One or two drops of water should they freeze to the needle point of valve, would necessitate thawing out before the suction could open valve; also the gasoline supply is partly regulated by a Globe Valve.
Third, they have no water chamber around the exhaust valve, yet the catalogue says they have.
Fourth, the pin in the piston is a driven fit, and I heard of two cases where the piston was cracked by the expansion of pin.
Fifth, practically speaking, there are no take-ups or adjustments to the bearings.
Sixth, the connecting rod is too light, and the straps are separate —that is—the rod screws into them and is fastened with lock-nuts. This certainly is no advantage, and is not as strong as where the rods and straps are one solid forging.
The Valves, Valve Rods and Governor are similar to those on the engine which I wrote you about last week, and are operated nearly the same, excepting that the others are better and more simple, as they use a plain eccentric, while this Engine has four gear wheels, a loose roller being fastened to the large gear; every second stroke comes in contact with the boss operating valve rods.
These people get high prices; in fact, higher than any of the five last makes I have written about.
In conclusion, I might as well say that there is hardly any use in our considering the matter favorably as far as this Engine is concerned.
Although this article is headed How We And You Buy, we have confined our remarks to but one side of the question —that is—' How We Buy. You see, we know how we buy, but don't know much about how you buy. There are so many of you and you have so many ways of buying, that we will conclude by suggesting that you put your way of buying along-side of ours, and then judge as to whether it won't pay to let us do a portion of your buying for you.
In the case of Wood Workers' Vises, it has cost us considerable in time and money to ascertain the best Vise at the lowest cost. In investigating the subject of Gas Engines, we have spent hundreds of dollars. This same may be said of everything we sell, and this experience, which has cost us so much in time and money, we offer to our customers, believing that in nearly all cases it will be to their advantage to Reap where we have Sown.
Many large Manufacturing Establishments, as well as all Railroads, have a Master Mechanic and a Purchasing Agent. They are not luxuries, but expensive necessities such as cannot be afforded by owners of medium and small sized shops.
In our Catalogue you have both the Master Mechanic and the Purchasing Agent, and the best part of it is they draw no salaries, and are at your service day or night.