Stationary Engines

A Ruston rebuild. Chapter 1

Sandstone has had a large Ruston Stationary engine in the “to do” line for many years and now, thanks to the assistance  of Danie Pretorius, Curator of Sandstone’s Stationary Engine Museum, this magnificent engine is to be rebuilt for eventual use as a pumping engine for an irrigation system at Sandstone. As with many items acquired by Sandstone, its origins are unclear but thanks to Derek Rayner of Old Glory magazine in the UK, we made contact with Ray Hooley who is the acknowledged expert on such engines and has a comprehensive file on them. He identified the engine from its serial number which is still on an attached plate as

Ruston 8HR 432563, rated 47hp/290rpm, which was sold to agent Hubert Davies - and was despatched from Lincoln to Johannesburg on 12. 9. 1957. Hubert Davies were the Ruston agents for South Africa, based in Johannesburg.

The engine will be moved to Johannesburg for the restoration where Danie has a suitable team to assist with the operation.

Sandstone’s good friend, Andy Selfe, will also be following the restoration as the subject matter for an article in Stationary Engine magazine in the UK.

Our photo gallery shows the engine at Sandstone in the open shed storage  area and then after being moved nearer to the workshop area for inspection. An initial strip shows much dirt and hard work ahead! We shall be posting regular updates as the restoration is in progress














IMG 2970

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The Stationary Engine Collection

Stationary Engines are often overlooked compared with more impressive exhibits.

The smaller examples at Sandstone have their own dedicated Museum situated in the main complex and set up from scratch by volunteer Curator, Danie Pretorius and his energetic team. They have brought together all the stationary engines previously stored in various locations at Sandstone. Pride of the collection however is the National Engine, situated away from the main Stationary Engine Museum, at the Waenhuis. It drives the original generator system that supplied electricity to Hoekfontein Farm. Few visitors fail to notice the distinctive thump-thump from its exhaust when it is running.

Stationary engines have been the backbone of rural existence since the early 1900s, powering water pumps, generators and numerous other pieces of equipment and machinery requiring an independent power source, prior to the general availability of electricity. 

The preservation and restoration of stationary engines is a worldwide activity and leads to much exchange of information between enthusiasts, the Sandstone team is no exception.

Click here to view : The Stationary Engine CollectionThe Stationary Engine Collection

Wolseley Stationary Engines 1909 - 1975.


David Edgington has been researching Wolseley history, and the full range of engines, for around 30 years. This book, around 60 pages with over 100 illustrations, is the culmination of that research and has been painstakingly put together during the last 10 months. It covers Style 1 to 4, Alma, Pre-WD, WD1, WD8, WD9, WLB and the air-cooled engines, plus variations such as the Trojan especially supplied as exports to South Africa.

Offer 1

David is sending me the first 10 copies each one personally signed by him (they are already in the post and should reach me next week). These will be available immediately. I receive them at R161.00 each (including bulk postage rates from England) and I will be selling them for the same price (plus local postage if necessary). This is ZAR 55.05 less than an unsigned copy ordered from his website will cost you.

(If you order the book from his website it will cost you UK£ 13-00 plus about £6-00 postage - so £19-00 (or in South African Rand ZAR 216.06) (Tonight's rate)

If you would like to get one of these which will also eventually become collectors items due to them being personally signed then please contact me urgently - remember that there are only 10 signed copies! It's "First Come - First Served" or, "If You Snooze - You Loose"

If you want one then I will supply you with my banking details for you to do a transfer. Please NO CASH payments to me - only transfers to my account (if you do not have "Internet Banking" then you can do it by going into your bank) as I have to transfer this to David and if you give me cash then my bank will charge me "cash handling fees" to deposit this. If anyone is registered with "PayPal", it would be preferred that you pay direct to my PayPal account. (Remember, I'm not making a cent on these so do NOT want to be saddled with bank charges).

Offer 2

I will be bringing in more books after this which will be unsigned and will probably cost approx. R 130.00 each (plus local postage) (that's aboutR86.00 less than ordering from the website).

Jerry Evans
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Sandstone Heritage Trust - News - Stationary Engines

Inventory of Stationary Engines as at October 2004

1-Ruston & Hornsby
Size 450 Class AP No.127704
2-Massey Harris C34
3-1938 Fairbanks-Morse
Eclipse  No.808205
4-Ruston & Hornsby PR

5-Frank Hartop H


6-Cushman Cub R30


7-1924 Petter Junior
stat_engin_088-1920 Russell Newbery
stat_engin_09 9-1948 International Harvester LB
& MH4 Grinder. No.LBA137817
stat_engin_10 10-Massey Harris Type 2
stat_engin_11 11-1926 Fairbanks-Morse Z
stat_engin_12 12-1945 Fairbanks-Morse Z Style O
stat_engin_13 13-Lister Sheep Shearing Set
14-1919 Fairbanks-Morse Z 
15-1941 Fairbanks-Morse Z Style C 
16-Ruston & Hornsby 1X Class HR
17-1960 Wolseley (Vetsak) WD8
18-Lister LD
stat_engin_19 19-1959 Lister 6/1 Electric Flywheel
20-National Lighting Plant
21-1962-Lister 6/1
stat_engin_22 22-Yanmar NT10
No. F2979
23-Sendeling DM10
stat_engin_24 24-Uniporn Diesel Type O

25-Wolseley (Boeresake) WLB8
26-1934 Lister D / Lister Generator Spec13D2T
stat_engin_27 27-International Harvester LB 
stat_engin_28 28-1930 Lister D Spec 12D
29-1928 Lister Spec83K
stat_engin_30 30-Ruston & Hornsby PB
stat_engin_31 31-Lister A Tank Cooled
32-1920 Blackstone Hot Bulb
33-Texaco Chariot

List of Stationary Engines with Neville Botha

- The Bentall Maize Mill, Model 557.

- Blue Bentall (Oats Roller) , Model XRSE (SE for Sandstone Estates).
Made by Bentall & Co. Ltd, Heybridge, England.

- BMA Oats Roller Mill with electric motor (colour green). Made by R.
Hunt & Company Ltd, Earls Colne, England.

- Rusty red colour - Massey Harris mielie grinder (Brown colour) No. 6
(Safim Massey Harris No. 6 Grinder, Vreneka, South Africa)

- John Deere Mielie Sheller, No. 6694-C.

- Silver Manufacturing Company. Salim, Ohio. No. 8 Model. Shaft
Cutter - Patent D March 25 1890.

Maize Sheller (Made in United States of America). Northson Junior.
All wood.

Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 34 - An engine which is causing quite a stir.


It's called a Daimler Industrial Diesel, London, and so far, no mention has been found of this marque (at least as far as Stationary Engines are concerned), by the leading researchers in UK.

A similar engine was manufactured by Porn & Dunwoody, a firm established in 1927, who specialised in the supply of bought-in spares for the German made Deutz engines until WW2. When it became impossible to obtain spares, they started making their own. Complete diesel engines were then produced bearing the name Uniporn.

Information above is gleaned from The A-Z of British Stationary Engines, by Patrick Knight.

It could be that this engine is a re-badged Uniporn: a similar close-up of such an engine would help to confirm or refute this theory. Investigation into Daimler Industrial Diesel's agents, Liddle, Ingram & Fullards Ltd would be interesting.

Hello Wilf,

This is what Patrick had to say about my letter below. Uniporn engines were made by a London company called Porn & Dunwoody.

Hi Andy

The engine certainly looks like a Uniporn, what with the London in the casting etc. I will have a look through my file and see if I can find anything more.



----- Original Message -----
From: Andy Selfe
To: Patrick Knight
Sent: Sunday, August 14, 2005 10:51 PM
Subject: Pix of Daimler Industrial Diesel

Hello Patrick,

Just back from the show, here are the pictures of the Daimler Industrial, which I suspect is a Uniporn with the name ground off and a brass plate riveted over it. If not, then it's a new one!

Andy Selfe
A Uniporn engine

Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 49 - Sandstone Estates owns intriguing stationary engine

Come and join us at Sandstone Estates for our annual Harvest Festival!

In order to find out more about our Daimler engine a colleague of ours, Andy Selfe, contacted Stationary Engine Magazine. The attached appeared in their December edition.


Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 57 - Pre-war National Engine continues to provide power at Hoekfontein Farm

17th March 2005
Hoekfontein is the central farm at Sandstone Estates and houses both the headquarters of the commercial farming operations and the heritage centre. A pre-war National engine which was apparently purchased second-hand by the Wille family who owned the farm for 150 years has remained in the same place where is has been for many years and is in immaculate working order. However, we don't have a clear idea of how old this engine is and if any readers of this article could throw some light on that we would be most grateful.

To provide background information on National engines we have re-produced details from Patrick Knights outstanding A to Z on stationary engines.
The National Gas Engine Company Limited. Wellington Works, Ashton-under-Lyne.

This is an original article, retyped. The original thumbnails are below.

Founded by Henry M. Bickerton, the National Gas Engine Company Limited was established in 1890, with the production of gas engines to an improved Otto design it’s prime objective. Henry Bickerton was no stranger to the world of the i/c engine, having previously been involved with Mirrlees-Bickerton & Day, builders of the Mirrless diesel engine.
Thos early engines were well received, to the extent that within a short period engines were being produced in a wide range of sizes from 2hp to 160hp. It should be noted that power ratings were quoted for operation on good quality coal gas.

Under normal circumstances, The National Gas Engine Company would supply engines fitted with twin flywheels and centrifugal governors. There were, however exceptions to this rule. The small F-Type (1hp) and J-Type engines (2hp) were fitted with a single flywheel, while at the other end of the scale, the ZC model (160hp) cam out with a single large flywheel and out-rigger bearing.

Where an engine was supplied for generating purposes, single or twin extra-heavy flywheels would be fitted. In such instances the prefix letter “E” would appear after the model letter i.e. LE, ME etc. The model “F” engine differed from the general specification in that it was fitted with an enclosed crankcase, allowing an oil bath lubrication system to be used.
During this early period, engines were equipped with continuous hot tube ignition, with the tubes made of porcelain. Engines of 34hp and upward could be supplied with self-starters at an extra cost. In keeping with other manufactures, The National Gas Engine Company introduced a line of oil engines in the late 1890’s and by mid 1904 these were being offered in sizes from 2 to 30bhp.

By 1905 a range of heavy-duty engines were being produced in single and twin cylinder forms. The twin-cylinder models, built up to 250bhp, were designed with a side-by-side layout, whereby should one of the cylinders become inoperative for any reason, the piston and conrod, etc. could be removed and the engine put back into service while repairs were effected.

This was something not possible to twin-cylinder engines built on a vis-à-vis (horizontally, opposed) layout.

While The National Gas Engine Company found production moving towards the larger industrial type engines, they did not forget the needs of the small power-user, for in 1906, the “K” Type range of horizontal petrol engines was introduced.
Offered in five sizes from 2 to 9 bhp, these engines were equipped with electric ignition in the form of a low-tension magneto and igniter. On later models a high-tension Hills Magneto and spark plug were fitted.

A further change occurred around the mid 1920’s when the popular Wico EK type magneto was introduced in place of the Hills magneto.
For industrial applications a range of tandem gas engines were made available, and by 1912, these had appeared in sizes from 300 to 1, 500bhp. To meet customer requirements, The National Gas Engine Company were prepared to set up their larger engines to operate on town gas, producer gas, blast furnace gas or Coke oven gas, the choice of fuel being dictated by availability and cost.

In late 1912, the company were reported as building 270 engines per month in the 1 to 1, 500bhp power range. Of these smaller models had overhung cylinders, while the larger models employed a girder-bed with cylinder support. Engines up to 185bhp could be had in single-cylinder form, while the larger models were offered in multi-cylinder forms, either horizontal or vertical.

During the 1912/19 periods, the majority of crankshafts used by The National Gas Engine Company were purchased from Mitchell Shackleton & Co. and the letters “MS & Co.” plus two digits, indicating the year of manufacture were stamped on the side web.
One of the more unusual engines built by The National Gas Engine Company was a vertical open-crank petrol/paraffin model. Very little has come to light regarding production of this engine and few are believed to have been built.

Around 1929, a small, horizontal, enclosed-crank petrol/paraffin engine was introduced. Developing 2 1/4 to 2 2/4 bhp at speeds of 800/1000rpm, it was offered with either hopper or tank cooling. The ignition was by Wico EK trip magneto or Wico rotary magneto, which was located, somewhat vulnerably, at the rear of the crankcase. The fuel tank, located over the crank actually formed part of the crankcase. A gas version was also offered in which the fuel tank was replaced by a simple cover plate. An unusual feature of this model was that the interior surfaces were painted an orangey-red colour.
Also appearing around 1930 was the model “V” vertical engine. Available in tank or hopper cooled forms; the “V” engine was of typical National robustness. The valves were of a vertical opposed layout, which was not uncommon at that period. However, on the hopper cooled model, the push rod to operate the inlet valve passed through a tube in the water hopper.

In 1932, the company title change to National Gas & Oil Engine Co, and a year later the model LB horizontal heavy oil engine was introduced with the smaller power user in mind. Rated at 10 – 11bhp, the LB featured a fully enclosed crankshaft and was of the cold-starting type. The general-purpose industrial model came with twin-flywheels, while the electrical model (LBE) was fitted with a single heavy flywheel.

Around 1935, the small vertical BS, DS & ID range of engines were introduced. One special feature of these engines was their renewable cast iron cylinder liners.
In 1938 a National dual fuel engine was developed, whereby it could be operated on oil or gas (after starting on oil), with the changeover being instant. It must be said that prior to 1938, while it was possible to have an engine capable of operating on either fuels, the changeover was no easy task, with the service of a fitter being required to make the necessary adjustments etc. In most instances, this involved several days’ work.
Around 1945, the DSH and DSSH vertical diesel models were brought out to replace the older BS, DS & ID engines. While both models employed the same bore and stroke measurements of 4 1/2 & 6in the difference in power outputs was achieved by simply increasing the operating speed. The DSH gave 7hp at 800rpm and the DSSH 9 1/2hp at 1, 100rpm. The DSH engine featured splash lubrication, while the DSSH engine used force-feed lubrication.

In 1949 the Brush Group took part control of The National Gas & Oil Engine Co, a situation that continued till 1961 when they took over completely. From that date, the company started trading as Mirrless National Ltd.
In 1977 Mirrless-National were in turn taken over by The Hawker Siddeley Group, resulting in a name change to Mirrless-Blackstone (Stockport) Ltd.
In 1992 they were still trading under this name, building large diesel engines for ships, locomotives and power stations.

Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 59 - Stationary engine open day at Neville Botha's - 2006 South Africa

Neville Botha, the doyen of stationary engine collectors in Southern Africa, held one of his popular annual Open Days at his home, some 70-kms from Johannesburg recently. Even though the weather was dreary the enthusiasts brightened up the day by showing their engines and support.

Neville is an inveterate collector of old items and has a wonderful cross-section of stationary engines, tractors, vintage cars, petrol memorabilia and agricultural machinery.  He also has a priceless collection of detailed items such as cream separators, tools, blow lamps, refrigerators, ox yokes and literally too many items to begin to list or photograph.

Neville’s Open Day is a relaxed affair in his garden on the banks of the Klip River.  The emphasis is “Bring your own – be it a machine, wife, mistress, or something to eat or drink”. 
Neville Botha in a jovial mood
It is all about comradeship between people with a common interest.  Visitors were treated to a meal of Ox tripe and side dishes provided by Neville and Lu-ann.

While South Africa is not blessed with big shows which happen every weekend through the season as in the UK for example, they are compensated for by these little shows which still provide quality items on display, excellent ambience and the enjoyment by owners and visitors which is tangible. As Rodney Burnett (who brought along his 1920's  Fairbank Morse 7HP) commented “ It is an absolute honour to be involved in an event such as this".
Of interest, Jacqui Evans (daughter of Jerry Evans) noted as the first lady in the country to restore and run a stationary engine (Wolseley WD 9) was proud to show off her “work of art”. 

Neels Booyens brought along his 1927 Open Crank Ruston Hornsby (Model AP 6HP) . When Neels acquired this engine two months ago it was considered to be beyond restoration with many parts missing. It is a credit to Neels' talents that it is now running beautifully and is in pristine condition.

Norman Spykermann had a display of Lister D's and vintage Ransomes lawnmowers. Gerald Buitendach showed a Slavia diesel  powering a water pump  as well as his Delco Lighting plant.

Jacqui Evans & Shaun Fourie with her Wolseley WD9
Hendrik Massyn ponders while Justin Ludewig tinkers
Justin Ludewig showed his  recently restored 3 & 6 H.P. International M's  running on L.P.G. as well as his McCormick powered Gorilla.

Hendrik Massyn from Kroonstad was there with his BSA and Douglas aircooled engines. His ever ready hip flask of mampoer (for overseas readers mampoer is similar to "moonshine") was in great demand and exhibitors were kept well lubricated.

It was a joy to see the children operating Neville's corn grinding driven mill driven by a Bamford. They had a field day and sold packs of freshly ground mealie meal to all and sundry for pocket money.

Neville’s magnificent private museum was open to all visitors.  One could spend many hours in the museum looking at the magnificently restored and presented engines and other items which covered every wall in a number of different rooms.

Two of his big Ruston & Hornsby engines ran all day in the engine room.

It was a fun filled day enjoyed by all and we look forward to the next one!
Lister D shown by Norman Spykerman
Slavia Diesel shown by Gerald Buitendach

Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 104 - French engine discovered in a scrap yard in Petit, France

8th June 2006

David and I have been having some fun and games with a French engine we discovered in a scrap yard in Petit. It is a TRAIN JT 175 2 stroke all aluminium alloy engine made by E Train et Cie Constructeurs, Paris. Dated probably about mid 50s as the bolts are both BSF [ 3/16 " BSF can you believe it!! ] and metric.

Trains are known for motorcycle engines but it seems that they also built a range of stationary/industrial internal combustion engines too.
We can find very little information on the engine on the internet and have put an enquiry to SEM to see if there is someone in Europe who knows these engines outside the motorcycle fraternity.

The device had us beat for nearly 3 weeks because we couldn't figure out the engine timing marks !!! All that was functionally wrong with the engine was a broken earth lead on the magneto.

Above is a picture of the engine as we found it. The lever in the front is a starting lever.

We finally got the damn thing to run , at first very erratically , but then I realised that the plug kept oiling up and putting some load on the drive end improved things. I used Villiers 2 stroke timing data from Phil Taylor in Cape town to get it going--that was a good tip he gave me.

We are using a 25:1 2 stroke mix as we don ' t want to seize the piston.

After the initial run to reassemble the governor, I had to tap some new M6 threads into the magneto flywheel as the French decided to use 3/16 BSF in the 1950s which is definitely "not in stock" in 2006 and a non preferred bolt size [like the M7 they like to use on Peugeot and Renault cars], so I had to strip the magneto flywheel off the crankshaft again and when I was reassembling the engine, I found the actual timing marks. Oh and to add to complications all the crankshaft bolts are LH rotation threads.

The drive end flywheel TDC mark is not at TDC but lines up with a bolt about 40 degrees before TDC. Then the real subtle stinger is that I couldn't understand why the magneto flywheel had a timing mark on the inside of the spoked area until I realised that the white line above the SEV logo on the magneto coil was in fact the magneto timing mark!!!!!! The suggested timing advance, a la Villiers, was but a degree or so out from this mark and in fact the engine is timed at just before TDC!!!

So having deciphered the secrets of the magneto timing I set it all up correctly, fitted the flywheel governor which also is a cover over the magneto [ amazingly it is machined from solid leaded bronze , I assume to remove the need to oil it as the oil would foul the points] , connected up the linkages to the carb and the engine started on the second pull of the starting lever .

The plug gap is also illogical because a gap of 0.6mm gives a good cold start but the plug starts misfiring as soon as the engine is warm. If I take the gap down to 0.4mm, the engine runs sweetly and the plus does not misfire. The only logical thing I can think of is that the plug gets too hot with the larger gap and the insulator starts to short. The only plug I can get of the correct reach is an NGK BP6 ES that is specified for a VW Beetle engine, maybe the heat range is wrong for this engine. Plugs were obviously a problem back then because the plug thread is a bronze insert in the all aluminium head.

Now the next subtlety- the carb floods until the engine starts and the air correction jet comes in and leans off the mix!!! So to start it one chokes it for no more than 1 pull or the engine floods catastrophically!!!

To stop the engine, there is a tickler valve UNDERNEATH the carb. This little valve shuts OFF the fuel when you press it!!!! Now that took some guess work because we couldn't figure out why the main jet needed a tickler and not the carb float. The tickler valve also seems to be an "antiflood valve"as closing it off when cranking the engine certainly stops excess fuel and allows the engine to clear itself once it fires. [It floods at the drop of a hat]. I made a new diaphragm for the tickler valve from the diaphragm of an old AC mechanical fuel pump. The rest of the Solex carburettor was not only complete but in good condition after I had removed the extinct wasps nest from the venturi.

The engine is not particularly high revving and sounds comfortable at about 1500r/min and will go to 2500. It is not well balanced and idles about 1000r/min .

This engine is certainly not for the average farmer who grew up with Lister Ds and Ford tractors.
It defeated us for 3 weeks because of the timing !!!

Cheers for now---


Heritage - News

Stationary engine news from the Western Cape

13th November 2007

In January 2001, the SWAT team of the Cape Vintage Engine & Machinery Society visited Kersefontein, near Hopefield, to meet owner Julian Melck. We were following up leads on old engines, and we were not disappointed. On the farm were two Fairbanks Morse YH engines. One, a 14HP model is still standing on a concrete block where it used to run a centrifugal pump, drawing water out of the Berg River. 

This engine is badly rusted from standing out in the weather and has parts missing from it. It would take an enormous amount of work to restore. However, there was another, of 10HP, stored in a shed, lying in pieces, along with the generator which it used to drive. Julian persuaded me to restore this for him. This included making new main bearings and a combustion chamber. These jobs were done over the following two years or so, and then an attempt was made to start it. The bearings were still too stiff to allow the operator to swing the flywheel rim against compression, which, like with a Lanz tractor, is the normal way to start it. It needed to be 'run-in' by another engine or tractor, using a belt.

The opportunity arose recently at our local Engine Show at Peregrine Farmstall, on the N2 in the Elgin Valley. With the help of Hermann Geldenhuys who has a similar engine, we belted up the engine to my Ruston & Hornsby 2Y HR and ran it for a while, with Hermann doing adjustments on the fuel injection pump. At this stage we had the combustion chamber off.

Soon, the engine was turning over more smoothly, and we decided to fit the combustion chamber and start heating it with a blow lamp. Hermann held off the fuel, until he was satisfied that the chamber was hot enough, all the while with the decompressor valve open. He then allowed the fuel pump plunger to come into contact with the push rod, and soon we were rewarded with a chuff, and before long, the engine was running! 

We didn't have the water jacket connected to a tank, and the recirculating fuel system wasn't complete, so we just added fuel and water to the engine as needed. We ran the engine for about an hour, and tried to phone Julian, to tell him that the engine was running again for the first time in about 40 years! We ran the engine again later on Saturday for another hour, and then worked out what we needed to connect to a water tank, and to make the recirculating fuel system work. 

Early on Sunday morning, these connections were made and we fetched and connected up the exhaust silencer. We started up with the belt from the other engine again and ran the engine for a couple of hours until we had a blockage in the injector. When this was cleared, we decided to try and start by hand. This engine has 'Electric' flywheels, smaller in diameter, but much heavier than the standard. This makes it more difficult to bounce the piston off compression in the wrong direction to start up. However, in the morning, I had noticed that although the belt had slipped off, we were still able to start the engine with the momentum of the flywheels running in the normal direction. 

With four people turning the flywheels in the normal direction and another on the blow lamp, Hermann let the fuel pump go, and with a few light touches on the priming handle (too much fuel floods and cools the hot spot) she was away! 

We have discussed the future of the engine with Julian, and the plan is to put this engine in place of the other rusted and incomplete one, which has always been called 'The Cannon', so that it too can pump water out of the Berg River. A building will be constructed around it, there is a reservoir there, and a wind-pump to add to the water supply.


First start in 40 years is always an exciting moment for the restorer!


Detail of the cylinder head end, with the fuel reservoir, decompressor valve and chimney for the hot bulb of the combustion chamber


Yours Truly and Hermann, who helped get it going, he has a similar engine:


Look at the oil as it pours from the mouth of the oil can down into the cup on the fuel pump eccentric!


This was Sunday morning, with the water tank connected, silencer fitted and the fuel system sorted out: