Yankee Engine-uity Show
2000 Featured Engine
The "Headless"
Witte Engine
         This is a two horsepower headless. This engine now belongs to Dave Rotigel of Greenburg, PA. You can see some more of Dave's engines HERE. The picture was submitted by Les Bergquist of Granite Falls, MN.  
This is an eight horsepower headless that belongs to Tony Leonard in Rockwell, NC. You can see Tony's web site HERE.  
    Most of the magneto fired headless Witte engines (like Tony's) that were produced between 1915 and 1919 came with the rare Webster high tension magneto. There are many engine collectors who don't know that Webster even made a high tension magneto. This design was very poor and most failed within the first year and were replaced by battery and coil ignition. The fact that Tony's engine has an original working magneto is somewhat incredible!
For the 2000 show, at Orange, the club displayed the Ray Chapdelaine collection of "headless" Witte engines. The collection was shown here many times before Ray passed away and it is still in the possession of his family.
The Ray Chapdelaine Collection
     Ray Chapdelaine began to accumulate his collection of Headless Witte engines between 1975 and 1977.
With help from the mechanics at his family-owned GMC dealership, the collection, as you see it, was completed by 1979. Ray's favorite shows were the ones at Dublin, New Hampshire; Pepperell, Massachusetts; and of course, the CMSGMA at Orange, MA. The whole family would participate, especially in the parades, wearing t-shirts that said "GMC, Witte, John Deere"
     In the past, the engines were displayed along with four 2-1/2 ton GMC trucks from the years 1939/1941, and some John Deere two-cylinder tractors. The matching wagons under the engines were homemade from old steel wheels that had been cut off and had new rims welded to them.
     Unfortunately Ray passed away in 1988. The collection is still owned by the Chapdelaine family: Mark, Mike, Lisa, and their mother, Terry. It is through the efforts of Lisa's husband, Dan Grenier, that the collection has reappeared after twelve years in storage. Dan is a long-time member of the board of directors of CMSGMA; and, with the help of some of the other members who have trailers, the collection was taken out of storage in Lunenburg, cleaned up, and brought to Orange.
The Headless Witte Engine
For the first time since 1987, the Ray Chapdelaine collection of Headless Witte engines
has once again been on display!!
The HIGHLIGHT of this year's show was when Dan hooked all of the Headless Witte engines together in a long train and towed them around the grounds in our tractor parade on Sunday, June 25th. It was a nostalgic moment for all of those who knew Ray, and a real THRILL for those of us who had never seen the "train" or had only seen it in PICTURES!!
    The 22 hp.
The 16 hp.
The 12 hp.
The 8 hp.  
The 6 hp.
The 4 hp.
The 3 hp.
The 2 hp.
A little bit about the history of the
Witte Company:
     August Witte, organized Witte Iron Works at Kansas City in 1870. His son, Ed Witte served his apprenticeship in the foundry as a brass moulder, iron moulder, machinist, metallurgist, and finally as a steam engine designer. By the time August Witte retired in 1886, Ed Witte had already built a crude but workable gas engine using hot tube ignition. Company records indicate however, that actual production of the Witte standard and Star engines did not begin until August, 1894. Witte standard and Star engine styles were built until November, 1914. A 1900 catalog indicates that these impressive sideshaft engines were available in 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 40 horsepower sizes for stationary use. Portables could be supplied in any size up to and including 25 horsepower.
     1911 Witte embarked on an entirely new engine line. The model of simplicity, these engines were the first Witte models to carry the walking beam valve mechanism that characterized the entire Witte line until November, 1923.
     Witte's Junior engine series (now affectionately known as the "headless Witte") included the cylinder and base in a single casting. Likewise the cylinder head was integral, eliminating problems from leaky gaskets and lowering production costs. Both valves were located in a single casting that was easily removed from the cylinder for occasional repairs. Witte portables for 1916 were also available in 6, 8, 12, 16, and 22 horsepower sizes.
     Witte's 1916 catalog attempted to allay the fears of prospective customers by noting that anyone could be his own mechanic, just by reading the Witte instruction manual. To illustrate the point, a catalog illustration depicts the method of checking ignition timing. By using any available straight edge, it was quite simple to line up the fly-wheel mark with the top of the water hopper. Precisely at this time, ignition was to occur, and by removing the spark plug and laying it on top of the engine, anyone could easily determine whether the ignition timing was properly adjusted. Similar explanations were included for valve and carburetor adjustments. As a mailorder merchant, Ed Witte had few equals. His catalogs rank among some of the most colorful and explicit in the entire engine industry. Sumptuous three-color illustrations of the engines certainly were a boost to sales, and the technical data was written in the language of the farmer.
This information is from: "American Gasoline Engines Since 1872", by C. H. Wendel, pp 557-560.
2000 Featured Tractor
The Allis Chalmers
    The tractor featured on the "official CMSGMA 2000 plaque" is a 1949 Allis Chalmers Model C, owned by Don LeClair, one of the members of CMSGMA. It's a "tricycle" tractor, which was the most popular "row-crop" configuration of the Model C. The tractor was used on a "part-time farm" by its original owner from the time that it was new until it was "retired" in the early 1980's. It then sat outside rusting for quite a number of years until it was acquired by John Dupre, also a member of CMSGMA. John has several BIGGER tractors that he enjoys working on, so other than having a couple of tires replaced, the C was still in the same condition when John sold it to Don in 1997.
No, John, it's MINE now and you CAN'T have it back!     Don said the tractor was completely rusted when he got it, but you wouldn't know it to look at it now, would you?? Don replaced the leaky gas tank, the entire wiring harness, and the rest of the tires. Then he removed the rust, straighened the sheet metal and gave it the beautiful Persian Orange paint job that it has today.
    Don didn't need to do any engine work to the tractor at all; and as far as he knows, the engine may have never been apart. He said that at first it smoked and burned oil, but that eventually "went away".
    Don't laugh!! There is a good explanation for that. When an engine sits idle for many years, even if you are lucky enough that the pistons don't get stuck in the cylinders, the rings can still get stuck in their grooves in the pistons. Then, what you have is essentially a piston with NO rings to seal it. The oil from the crankcase will go right by. Once you start running the engine again, the repeated heating and cooling and vibrating will eventually work the rings loose so that they can once again expand as they move in the cylinders. The engine "heals up" by itself!! Through repeated use, it runs better and BETTER!!    
Don doesn't farm with the tractor. He lives in town on a lot so small that there is hardly room to turn the tractor AROUND!! From now on, this Allis C will spend its time being proudly displayed at shows and being driven only in PARADES!!
Allis Chalmers Model C   
In 1940 Allis Chalmers introduced the Model C. It was basically an upgrade of the Allis Chalmers Model B. For comparison, the AC Model C was slightly smaller in size and weight than a John Deere Model B, but it had about the same horsepower.
    While the AC Model B used a wide front axle, the Model C featured a narrow front as standard equipment. This tractor was quite popular. It had a four cylinder engine of 125 cubic inches and retailed in 1940 for about $595. When equipped with an adjustable front axle, it was only $15 more! You could get the engine in an "all fuel" version, with low compression, or in "gasoline only", with high compression. Electric starter and lights came as standard equipment, but the rear power-take-off and the clutch-type belt pulley were extra cost options. The hydraulic pump and hydraulic ram were also optional.
    By the end of it's production run in 1950, over 84,000 Model C's had been sold. By that time the retail price had increased to over $900.
    During this period in history the patent rights to the three-point hitch still belonged to Ford/Ferguson so the "C" didn't have one and any integrally mounted implements were propriety to the Allis Chalmers tractors. You have to be lucky enough to find Allis Chalmers mounted cultivators and plows, otherwise you have to use drawbar-drawn implements of other makes.
    Many different implements were available for the model C tractors, and they are not TOO difficult to find today. There were the 80 Series cultivators, the one-way and two-way pick-up plows, a semi-mounted disk plow, 300 series bedder planters, the 800 series streamlined planters, and the No. 860 4-row and 6-row vegetable planters. By 1949 the "Quick-Hitch" cultivators had been developed. These could be mounted or dismounted in ten minutes as opposed to the HOURS of back-breaking work it took to mount the older implements.  
This is an Allis Chalmers Model C.