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Kessler: The Last Hot Air Engine

Brent Rowell

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Last Subscription Date
08/14/2016
Today's video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqQCCLEKIx0&feature=youtu.be

German immigrant Louis Kessler of Chicago was apparently quite familiar with hot air engines in his homeland. The engines his various companies manufactured were American copies of German Heinrici engines but with the addition of air cooling, making them much more portable (and practical) than the water-cooled Heinricis. While more successful with other business ventures, Kessler wouldn’t give up on hot air engines and was the force behind several successive companies making them from about 1912 into the mid-1930s. His “Kessler Motor & Engineering Co.” made one of the last commercial hot air engines in the 1930s before its inevitable bankruptcy. Both engines in the video are shown operating with their original kerosene burners and appear more or less as they did when they left the factory. The “Duplex Vacuum Motor Co.” engine is dated 1921 and was owned by one of the company’s stockholders who was also Kessler’s next-door neighbor in Chicago.
 

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Brent Rowell

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Last Subscription Date
08/14/2016
Re: Kessler: The last hot air engine

Hope some of you got to see these two running at Coolspring on Friday.
 

stirlingmaier

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Hi Brent,
in my view, Louis Kessler's Company and others like The Duplex Vacuum Motor Co. made air-cooled hot-air engines to bypass water-cooled systems like Heinrici, Aerogen, GHD or Kirsten.
Hot-air engines (let aside toys and very small models) were designed for stationary use. To produce power or to pump water. They must not be "practical" or easy to move around. Positioned at their site they had to work for hours and hours. And there is no doubt that water-cooled hot-air engines are better when long-running is required.

Air-cooled hot-air engines used for hours to perform under real load but without forced air-cooling will loose the required temperature difference by the time. And stop running.
As a matter of fact, you will find much more water-cooled Heinricis in the States than hot-air engines of the Kessler family. People in those days knew very well what to buy.

Nonetheless, the Kesslers in full glory will be extensively depicted and described in the comprehensive chapter about medium-sized US hot-air engines. It's scheduled for comp-10. Their disadvantage is - my view - that the don't have forced air-cooling as Ventilators do.
 

Brent Rowell

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Last Subscription Date
08/14/2016
Hi Gerd,
Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion. Not sure what you mean by "bypass" water cooled systems as these were not patented here or in Germany. I believe Kessler wanted to simplify the engines' construction and make them more portable and practical. They were often sold in rural areas where they could be easily moved around the farm for pumping or other small power uses. This made them more practical in that way than non-pumping water cooled engines. I have run these engines for hours on end without loss of power so it is yet to be proven how long they will run with loss of efficiency, etc. I expect they ran long enough to do the jobs required. Each type, of course, has its own advantages and disadvantages. I do not doubt that Heinricis of similar size could perhaps run longer, but with the inconvenience of having to set up a passive water cooling system at each location.

Kessler's companies were relatively small (and not so successful) compared to Heinrici so it's not surprising that fewer of these engines survive today; I don't believe it was because buyers preferred Heinricis. Also, there are more Kessler engines here in the US than Heinricis of similar (large) bore size (3-3.5 inch or 76-89 mm). Most of the Heinricis I have seen here are much smaller and quite a few of them were brought to this country by collectors.
 
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