Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Messages


Fuel Pumps on a steamer in 1905?

Posted by IronChief 
Fuel Pumps on a steamer in 1905?
July 25, 2018 08:30AM
I have an original owners manual for the Mason Model C engine written in 1905, and it describes it's various parts. There are two crosshead driven pumps on that engine, one is for water and the other surprisingly is labeled "Fuel pump" Which I've always understood to be an auxiliary water pump or oil pump. What I'm trying to figure out, I wasn't aware that any other type fuel system was being used in widespread use other than pressurized fuel tank systems at that time which doesn't require a fuel pump. The Stanley's did introduce their patented and much protected fuel system a few years later with fuel pump and reservoir.

Anyone have any idea why this engine was equipped with a fuel pump in 1905?


Re: Fuel Pumps on a steamer in 1905?
July 25, 2018 11:24AM
Hi Ron,

A few cars did that...just don't ask me for too many specifics as my memory is blanking. The idea was to size the fuel and water pumps so that they delivered approximately the correct fuel to water ratio. Some engines went so far as to connect both of these pumps to the valve gear so that, as you shortened cutoff, you decreased fuel and water.


Re: Fuel Pumps on a steamer in 1905?
July 25, 2018 12:12PM

Thanks for that. It's strange that Mason sold engines to a lot of different makers and the only fuel systems I've seen in those years have been pressurized fuel tanks. It could be a situation where Mason intended it as a fuel pump, but most people used it for something else like an oil pump or added another water pump for redundancy. Just another mystery lol.

If you can think of those makers that used the Serpolet-esque fuel/water systems, let me know.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/25/2018 12:34PM by IronChief.
Re: Fuel Pumps on a steamer in 1905?
July 26, 2018 12:11PM
Hi Ken,
I offer that an elegant solution is to pump fuel direct to fire via the burner mixing tube. This is a safe solution where fuel is contained in safe diameter tubing under pressure. Pressure vessels with air fuel mixture could be concerning and require extra caution. Note that in that day, material science was still being developed.

However, the down fall is; what do you do when the engine isn't running? Kind of like the Chicken and the Egg. The wheels do provide nice leverage and perhaps you can jack the tire off the ground, spin the wheel to actuate the pumps and do this until one has steam to run the engine...just a thought.

I don't have any research that I can recall that would stir me to this conclusion. It is sort of a shoot from the hip idea...hope it might stimulate thought.

Kind regards,
Re: Fuel Pumps on a steamer in 1905?
July 26, 2018 01:17PM
It would have to have some sort of an accumulator with air over liquid ala Stanley so it could be stored at pressure. As you know liquids will not compress, if it was 100% liquid, it could only work if the pump was running. Like hydrostatic testing of a boiler, the pressure can be 0 psi or 300 psi with little to no change in actual fluid volume. The pump would have to be running all the time with a spring loaded pressure relief bypass to the main fuel tank. Or it would have to have an accumulator tank or some sort of reservoir with air over liquid to store energy for flow. That is basically how the Stanley fuel system works and it is a small amount of air and why they need to handpump a little air when starting up to keep the fuel pressure high, when the car is moving the fuel pressure is automatic.

Re: Fuel Pumps on a steamer in 1905?
July 26, 2018 07:17PM
Ron's right, usually there is some kind of accumulator.

You have to consider that it isn't that critical. When the car is parked, there is no steam consumption and, therefore, not a lot of need for feedwater and fuel. Assuming the boiler retains enough reserve pressure, the engine can be restarted and the fuel and water flow resumed.

The weakness of this system, in its purest form, is that you can never actually match fuel and water flow precisely. Either the temperature will steadily climb or steam generation will fall off. The Serpollet system used a pure flash boiler, meaning the tubes ran red hot and temperature control wasn't an issue. As one might suspect, this was not the route to long term reliability.

When you get right down to it, an interlocked fuel and water pump is essentially equivalent to a Newcomb or White flow motor. In each case the fuel flow is proportional to the feed water flow. Newcomb and White added pressure and temperature controls to the basic architecture so as to keep the steam parameters within spec.

One example of this type of linked pump is found on the GE wobbler engine in Tom Kimmel's collection.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/26/2018 09:46PM by frustrated.
Re: Fuel Pumps on a steamer in 1905?
August 01, 2018 06:32AM
I have that same engine in my 1901 Locomobile/ Likamobile I use the second pump for water I think it would not be good for fear of any gas leaks

Re: Fuel Pumps on a steamer in 1905?
August 02, 2018 06:50AM

I agree, that type of fuel pump with gasoline that close to the burner would not be very safe. My experience so far with ram pumps and standard graphite packing has resulted in less than a perfect seal. Water pumps like that, will start leaking then stop leaking, tighten the packing up and it makes a knocking sound etc. Seems there is no perfect adjustment to prevent it from leaking or knocking. With water, the occasional drip is of little concern, but fuel on the other hand..

When I seen that in the manual er I was actually informed of it prior to seeing the manual, it was puzzling and it didn't fit with how fuel systems were then handled in 1905 for a general purpose engine sold to many different builders that I was aware of.

Seems to me that an engine driven air pump would have made more sense for raising the fuel pressure under way.

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

All files from this thread

File Name File Size   Posted by Date  
masonfuelpump.jpg 175.4 KB open | download IronChief 07/25/2018 Read message
IMG_2074.jpg 345.2 KB open | download jjtjr 08/01/2018 Read message
IMG_0001b.JPG 140.5 KB open | download jjtjr 08/01/2018 Read message