Preston Foster Hall - Page 1

Preston Foster Memorial

This section of the exhibit holds memories of Preston Foster.  The plaque to the right of Preston’s photo is a “Thank You” to Preston from the Fuller & Johnson Museum.  The inscription reads, “Always ready to help a fellow engine collector.”  That inscription together with Preston’s Ohio license plate speak volumes about his life.

Foster Orange Light

Why is there one orange light in Preston Foster Hall?  Orange was Preston’s favorite color!

Continental Gas Engine 

Continental Gas Engine Company - Serial Number 120 A

These engines were built in the early to mid-1880s by the Dalamater Iron Works in New York City.  Designed by Charles Gaume, his engines operated on a non-compression cycle using city illuminating gas ("coal gas") and a carrier flame for ignition.  An interesting feature of this engine was a rotary plate valve located on the end of the cylinder that controlled intake air, fuel, and ignition.  Another curious feature was its unusual variation of the non-compression cycle, allowing for a purge cycle every other revolution.  This feature unfortunately resulted in only one power stroke every two revolutions.  Being compliant with Otto’s four-stroke patent, Gaume’s engine operating without a compression step was at best a novelty.  Today, only two examples of his engine survive.

Crown Gas Pump 

“Crown Gas Pump” Built by National Meter, Serial Number 650

These compact engines were built between 1881 and 1886 and used for pumping water from street level to the higher floors of buildings in metropolitan areas.  A vertically-mounted water pump was driven by a bell crank, conveniently discharging through the cylinder water jacket before exiting into the building’s water system.  Designed in New York City by Lewis Nash (a holder of a great many early internal combustion engine patents), this engine utilized the non-compression cycle, burned illuminating gas for fuel, and incorporated carrier ignition.  All of the functions of the engine were carried out by a pair of eccentric-driven spool valves that paralleled the bore of the cylinder.  They were only built in the 4/10 hp size.  Of the estimated 1500 or so that were originally built, 14 survivors have been identified today.

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