1905 New York Motor Boat Show

Speedy Motor Boats for This Year's Races

E.R. Thomas Orders Powerful Engines at Sportsment's Show

Will Enter All Events

Wild Animals and Water Sports Divied Up the Interest in the Madison Square Garden Exhibit

With the definite announcement yesterday at the Motorboat and Sportsmen's Show in the Madison Square Garden that E. R. Thomas would be as active a competitor this season in motor boat racing as he has been in the past with automobiles, and the assurances from several other quarters that a number of fast boats will be seen in the opening races, the prospect for new records by the so-called auto boats this year is regarded as certain by all who are actively interested in the sport.

The interest that is being taken, not only in the boats of moderate horse power for pleasure purposes, but also in the more expensive ones, designed for speed only, has surprised even those who were the most sanguine in predicting a lively racing season. Many of the contests last year were a disappointment, owing to the limited entries, but toward the end of the season a change was apparent, and where there was one boat last year entered for a race there will be three or four this season. The auto boat racing season will open on Decoration Day at the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club, and a number of the new boats will be there for their first speed tests.

The earnestness with which Mr. Thomas has adopted the sport of motor boat racing was evinced yesterday when he left an order at the Sportsmen's Show for two eighty-horse power French motors to be installed in a racing boat that is now being designed by H. W. Fletcher, who made the new mile road record in Cuba of 0:45 besides winning the 100 miles race at Ormond and other events. The boat will probably be ready for use early in the Summer, and Mr. Thomas intends to race it himself.

Rumors of several other fast boats being built for this season's competitions were circulating about the Garden yesterday, and some of them are likely to materialize into realities. An indication of this uncertainty was shown two days ago when the salesman of a prominent French motor said that he had sold one of the largest motors he has on exhibition.

"That is," he added. "I am now waiting for the purchaser who said he would buy it to come back and close the bargain."

Mr. Thomas will naturally enter his new boats for the biggest prizes of the season, hence he may be seen as a competitor for the challenge cup offered by the American Power Boat Association, which is now held by W. S. Kilmer, owner of the Vingt-et-Un II. The latter boat won the trophy last Fall on the Hudson River, and the Standard, the first holder of the cup, has since challenged for the trophy. The race will be sailed in August at the Chippewa Bay Yacht Club, in the Thousand Islands. Mr. Kilmer has his Summer home there, and the Vingt-et-Un II will be used on the St. Lawrence this Summer.

Motorboat enthusiasts are also anxious to see the Onontio in a long race, as she gave promise last Fall, when she made a mile at the average speed of nearly twenty-eight miles an hour, of being an unusually fast and serviceable boat for long distances. The Onontio has never had a complete test, and when she is pitted against all the new boats that will be seen early this season some rare sport will be in store.

(Transcribed from the New York Times Feb. 26, 1905, p. 10. )

*  *  *

Motor Boat Engines at the Sportsmen's Show

At the eleventh annual Sportsmen's Show, now being held in Madison Square Garden, New York, the exhibit of motor boats and their engines, together with a large oval display tank in which the boats are shown in action, occupies the entire main floor. Although there is no great change in the construction of the boats themselves, there is a decided increase in the size of the gasoline engines used on some of the larger ones for the purpose of developing high speed, and the number of cylinders used is as high as six or eight.

The accompanying illustrations show several of the noteworthy engines on exhibition. The 250-horse-power, eight cylinder Craig engine used in the Onontio when she made her record nautical mile in 2 minutes 26 seconds (28.42 statute miles per hour) last October is the largest engine at the show. The large inlet and exhaust pipes used on this engine are noticeable in the photograph. They are 3 and 4 inches in diameter respectively.

The cylinders have a 7 3/4-inch bore and a 9-inch stroke, and, their heads contain twin inlet and exhaust valves mechanically operated by bell cranks worked from a single cam shaft on one side. The compression used is 80 pounds, and the speed of the engine 850 R.P.M.. A three-bladed reversible propeller was used with it on the Onontio. The cylinders are mounted on nickel-steel stanchions, the cranks being entirely exposed. the bearings and cranks are lubricated by wick oilers. The crankshafts, of which there are two coupled together at the center, are 2 7/8-inches in diameter. They are of nickel-steel, hollow-bored. The bedplate, bell cranks that operate the valves, and a number of other smaller parts are made of manganese bronze.

The total weight of the engine is 3,520 pounds. Variable make-and-break igniters are used on this engine, the current being supplied by two magnetos driven by bevel gears. The two four-cylinder engines of which it is composed are thus independent even to their ignition current supply. Separate carbureters supply each also.

Another engine built on somewhat the same lines as the Craig is the new 100-horse-power, six-cylinder Standard, which has 8 x 10 cylinders and develops its power at 300 R.P.M. This engine has its valves in a valve chamber beside the cylinder. The inlet valve is automatic, or suction-operated, and is provided with a small piston on its valve stem. This piston (which is fitted with one piston ring) works in a closed cylinder having but two or three small air holes, through which the air can escape. Thus it forms an air dash pot and keeps the valve from seating too heavily.

An extra set of cams permits of running backward. Three of the cylinders are fitted with auxiliary valves for letting in compressed air for starting and reversing purposes. A special cam opens the exhaust valve during every up-stroke of the pistons, and air is admitted during every down-stroke, so that the tree cylinders form a single-acting compressed air motor under those conditions. As soon as the other three cylinders begin to fire, the air is shut off and the whole engine is run on gasoline. Sufficient air is carried, at a pressure of .75 to 100 pounds per square inch, to run the engine two or three minutes this way alone. The air is compressed by an air pump driven by an eccentric on the crankshaft. The starting and reversing feature makes a clutch and reverse gear unnecessary, as the engine can be started and reversed under load.

The 150-horse-power Simplex engine of the Challenger, which boat covered a mile recently in Florida at the rate of 29 1/2 miles an hour, consists of eight cylinders cast in pairs and bolted to a single aluminium crank case. The crankshaft is a steel forging of generous size. The bore and stroke of the cylinders are 8 1/2 and 6 3/4 inches respectively, and the compression used is 95 pounds. The motor develops its full power at 800 R.P.M. it is fitted with a jump spark ignition from storage batteries and two spark coils, the secondary current being distributed to the various spark plugs by means of two high-tension distributors. The oil is kept at a certain level in the eight compartments of the crank case by means of a special oil pump. A small scoop on each crankpin box dips into the oil and raises a small quantity of oil at every revolution, pouring it into a trough in the upper part of the case, which directs it to the bearings. The sight-feed oilers at the top of the engine also oil the bearings and cylinders. a single automatic carbureter supplies all eight cylinders. in this carbureter the main air passage is very small, and the auxilliary air enters through specially-shaped passages determined by experiment and so shaped that the rate of admission of the air varies with the speed of the motor. The motor has all the improvements suggested by a large automobile experience, such as the ends of the exhaust valve springs being passed through holes in the valve stems instead of being secured by a washer and pin, for example. it is set at an angle of 5 deg. in a boat, but the special oiling system assures a liberal supply of oil to all bearings, without too much oil at the lower end and consequent fouling of the spark plugs.

The two six-cylinder engines shown by the Gas Engine and Power Company, of this city, were two of the finest and best-finished engines at the show. This company's product, both motor boats and automobiles, is sold under the name "Speedway." Two types of four-cycle motors, besides several small two-cycle engines, are manufactured by it. the most interesting engine on exhibition is the six-cylinder, four-cycle motor with elliptical brass water jackets. The inlet and exhaust pipes pass up within the jackets, and the only pipe or piece of machinery exposed besides the cylinder is the rod that operates the rocker on top for opening the exhaust valve. The inlet valves are automatic, and, with the exhaust valves and spark plugs, are located in the head. The contact maker is on a vertical shaft at the rear end of the motor. Individual spark coils with tremblers are used. The cylinders are mounted upon steel stanchions instead of on the crank case. The bore and stroke are both 6 inches, and the motor develops 60 horse-power at 900 R.P.M. The other four-cylinder motor is of the standard automobile type, with individual, integrally-cast cylinders bolted to the crank case, with mechanically-operated inlet and exhaust valves, single carbureter, jump-spark ignition, etc. It has a 4 1/2-inch bore by 5-inch stroke and develops 42 horse-power at 900 R.P.M. The company also builds a 7 horse-power, two-cylinder, a 10 1/2 and a 21 horse-power three-cylinder, and 14, 28 and 60-horse-power, four-cylinder motor of this type, as well as a 90-horse-power six-cylinder. A 3-horse-power single-cylinder and a 6-horse-power double-cylinder two-cycle engine are also manufactured.

One of the novel motor boats on exhibition was shown by the Electric Launch Company, of Bayonne, N.J. The motor of this boat was placed forward of the cockpit in the bow of the boat, and the cockpit contained four small seats with aluminium backs, such as are seen on automobile racers. The steersman is intended to sit directly back of the motor, and the whole layout is much the same as on an automobile. The Panhard boat was constructed on similar lines, although the motor in this instance was not placed so far forward. The design does not appear to be as good as the usual one, in which the motor is placed in the center of the boat; for with the motor in the bow, the boat is liable to be top-heavy in a seaway, and the motor also is difficult to get at for adjustments.

(Transcribed from Scientific American, March 4, 1905, pp.186-187 )

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page]


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