Image Archive



Detailed Record


Title: Inboard naptha engine

Accession Number: 1958.1557
Category: ENGINES
Type: naphtha engine
Maker: Gas Engine & Power Co.
Place: USA, NY, Morris Heights
Date: Before 1904
Materials:
Description: Naphtha inboard marine engine. Manufactured by Gas Engine and Power Co., Morris Heights, New York. Made before 1904, probably 1890s. With brass covered retort (boiler), iron block, three cylinder, single-acting wood and brass flywheel. In 1883 Frank Ofeldt developed a unique power system which he hoped would replace steam. His naphtha engines are steam engines that boil naphtha (a form of gasoline) instead of water to drive the pistons. At the time, the government required a license to boil water in steam engines but did not require one to boil gasoline. Therefore, for the first time a gentleman boater could operate his own power boat without the assistance of an engineer. One would have to be of "gentleman's" means to own one of these vessels. In the 1880s, a 21 foot boat with a Naphtha engine cost $750 - one and a half times the annual wage of craftsmen who built them.

Mystic Seaport Image ID m157415    Information regarding reproductions