Thursday 21 November 2013

The first rotary engine?

This came to me yesterday and I have to say its a first for me, rather a frightening thing to have in your engine bay?

This was a mail I sent to yacht designer and sports car restorer Dudley Dix, check out the link!

Ever seen one of these Adams-Farwell  motors, I have not, must be the most dangerous motor yet! The car dates back to 1906.


 Dudley sent it to a friend named Hunter who has experience with engines.

These comments from a friend of mine are interesting. He commissioned and is building the prototype of the Didi Sport 15 that I added to my blog and website a few days ago. More pertinent, he used to build and maintain racing Lotus Sevens in Australia and has been around cars and machines a long time.

Subject: RE: The rotary engine!

Most of the early French WW1 aircraft engines were rotary, saps a lot of horsepower and can’t make high revs so it was obsolete quickly.

I believe the biggest problem is the gyroscopic effect of the engine mass affecting the dynamics of the handling of the aircraft.

The air intake on this one is in the center and the inlet manifold is made by capping the top two cooling fins on the air-cooled cylinders and heads.

The intake air comes from outside the engine compartment with a short snorkel arrangement.

I love the Smithsonian air and space museum we should go together sometime.

Subject: Re: The rotary engine!

Isn't the aircraft engine a radial engine rather than a rotary engine? This one the casing spins around the crank rather than the crank spinning inside the casing. And somewhere in the video he mentions the carb, which sits on the top. I mainly wondered about the exhaust gasses getting mixed into the intake air.


Subject: RE: The rotary engine!

Very Interesting.

I have not seen one in person but I kinda recall that they intake through the crankcase and are supercharged and fuel injected.

Think aircraft engines and it will make sense, but I’m sure there are more than one variant, not sure of this one’s origin.

Thanks for that.


Some history:

Adams-Farwell Rotary Engine

Photograph courtesy of the Canada Aviation Museum, Ottawa

from The Early Birds
Application for Membership
Collection of Cheryl Moore, 2-2-05
     1903, associated with Emile Berliner in experimental aeronautic work. The Adams Farwell rotating automobile engine, 5 cyl., 50 hp., variable compression, was remodeled and put into the Moore airplane at Washington and flown at Bennings racetrack by Mr. Moore.
     Developed new engine with variable compression which came to be known as the Gyro which was manufactured and marketed by the Gyro Engine Co., of Emile Berlinere, betginning about 1911. Models of 7 cyls., variable compression, 50, 80 and 110 hp were made. Paul Peck made duration and altitude records for America with one of these engines in "Miss Columbia."
     In 1913 the engine was demonstrated in England in a Wright B flown by George Beatty, a new 7 cyl. 80 hp engine.
     During the war Mr. Moore was consulting engineer for the Air Corps and chief inspector of Rhone engine production and continued subsequently with the Air Corps until 1926 when he went with Aeronautics Branch, Dept. of Commerce, as an engine and airplane construction expert. In 1929, he formed the General Airmotors Corp. and produced a new radial fixed engine with variable compression of 125 hp.