TTG Orange Logo

How Old Iron Works

2014 National Threshers Association Reunion SlideShow

Hit & Miss Engines

Hit & Miss engines were made by a multitude of engine manufacturers during their peak usage which was from approximately 1910 through the early 1930's when they began to be replaced by more modern designs. Some of the largest engine supplier's were Stover, Hercules, International Harvester, McCormick Deering, John Deere and Fairbanks Morse.

A Hit & Miss engine is a type of flywheel engine. A flywheel engine is an engine that has a large flywheel or set of flywheels connected to the crankshaft. The flywheels maintain engine speed during engine cycles that do not produce driving mechanical forces.

The flywheels store energy on the combustion stroke and supply the stored energy to the mechanical load on the other three strokes of the piston. When these engines were designed technology was not nearly as advanced as today and all parts were made very large.

A typical 6 horsepower engine weighs approximately 1000 pounds. Typically, the engine material was mainly cast iron and all significant engine parts cast from it. Small functional pieces are made of steel and machined to perform their function.

Hit & Miss engines were made to produce power outputs from 1 through approximately 100 horsepower. These engines are slow speed and typically ran from 250 revolutions per minute (rpm) for large horsepower engines to 600 rpm for small horsepower engines.

They were used to power water pumps for cultivation, saws for cutting wood, generators for electricity in rural areas, running farm equipment and many other applications. Some were mounted on cement mixers. These engines also ran some of the early washing machines. They were used as a labor saving device on farms, and allowed the farmer to accomplish much more than he was previously able to do.

The engine was typically belted to the device being powered by a wide flat belt, typically from 2 - 6 inches wide. The flat belt is driven by a pulley on the engine that attached either to a flywheel or to the crankshaft. The pulley is specially made in that its circumference is slightly tapered from the middle to each edge, like an over inflated car car tire, so that the middle of the pulley is a slightly larger diameter. This keeps the design flat belt in the center of the pulley.

Although thousands of out of use flywheel engines were scrapped in the iron and steel drives of World War II, many survived to be restored to working order by enthusiasts. However in recent years engines with original paint have become more desirable to many collectors than repainted engines. Numerous preserved Hit & Miss engines may be seen in action at shows dedicated to antique engines.

Except for some of the big engines still in use in the oil fields, most have become collectors items. Nothing today sounds quite like a Hit & Miss popping along at a show. Let's hope these relics of the past will be here for future generations to enjoy.

Examples of Hit & Miss Engines in Small Tractors

* In Progress . . . . .
A TTG Design/Build Hit & Miss Tractor...
Photo of Tractor
View Here

The Tractor Guy's are members of the

31 Kent Cornwall Rd, Kent, Ct.
More Information

TTG Home Page
Photo of Animated English Bull Dog
© 2011 ~ 2022 site was designed built and is maintained by all rights reserved