Restoring the De La Vergne Oil Engine

The Thursday crew recently picked this engine as a project, and had the engine running at a November 2000 open house.

De la Vergne Engine
This De La Vergne oil engine is the same as used to power the Marconi transmitters on Cape Cod Massachusetts in 1902. It is similar to a Diesel but depends on the heat of a large combustion chamber to ignite the air/fuel mixture, not high compression. It has fuel injection that sprays oil into the combustion chamber. The Thursday crew recently picked this engine as a project. They spent many hours cleaning the rust from the water jacket, remanufacturing the fuel injection nozzle, and adding plumbing and tanks for fuel and cooling water. Star Gas installed a propane preheater for the combustion chamber. The crew also removed the piston, unstuck the piston rings, replaced a broken piston ring, and reassembled the engine.

De la Vergne Engine
A 6″ diameter exhaust pipe was run from the engine to a precast concrete tank buried in the ground. As unusual as this might seem it is historically accurate.The photo at the left shows the engine running at a November, 2000 open house.The engine was not particularly loud, but it really shook the ground at every power stroke. The governor regulated very nicely at 200 RPM.
Photo courtesy of Richard Anderson.

De la Vergne Engine
The Thursday crew built a very nice roof to protect the engine.

De La Vergne Oil Engine
An early image of the engine during setup.

De La Vergne Oil Engine
An early image of the engine during setup.