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Paradox Toy Engine and What Kind of Gas

Oostvogels

Registered
Hi,

Would anyone know what manufactured illumination gas used to be?
Again we found a small toy engine called Paradox and according to an article in the British Stationary Engine it only could run on that kind of gas.

Help would be very much appreciated and also if you can tell us more about this engine.
Best regards Adrie and Jeanne Oostvogels
 

Farmall

Registered
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

about the time the Paradox was made, it was probably made from coal. As it was replaced by natural gas, you should be OK as the BTU contents are similar, however, the natural gas is generally more methane and has less of the other stuff that came with the manufactured gas. Also, if you want to use propane, in general terms, propane is 3 times "hotter" than the same amount of natural gas, so if you used propane, you would use much less and have to use a smaller orifice for the supply.

Coal-gas was also "wet". Had a lot of water in it. That's why they were able to use the cast iron pipes with oakum (bentonite impregnated material) and lead in the joints. The oakum would swell when wet, thus making the seal, and the lead helped to hold it in place.
 

Mike Monnier

Hoarder
Age
43
Last Subscription Date
12/18/2019
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

If you go back about a month there was a thread on these engines. I believe the consensus was that you need a gas with a good amount of hydrogen in it. I've been told that propane will not work for these engines, I'm not sure about natural gas. I think somebody in that thread suggested using MAPP gas, but I may be way off base.
 

BDMelon

Registered
Age
57
Last Subscription Date
12/29/2008
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

i throught mapp gas was even hotter then propane, good question, but heck of a nice little engine
 

Kevin O. Pulver

Email NOT Working
Age
54
Last Subscription Date
02/14/2020
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

Mapp gas IS hotter than propane. I don't know what the Paradox wants to burn, but I would think that "manufactured illumination gas" would be acetylene. There were underground pits containing acetylene generators in the yards of some old homes here and made that gas the same way it was made in shops for welding torches. Carbide miners lamps did the same thing. It's simply carbide pellets with water dripped on it, which makes acetylene gas. I think there is another scientific prefix to the "carbide" name, but I don't know what it is. If it's hydrogen you want, you can get it and oxygen by electrolysis OR just put a piece of zinc (old jar lid) in some hydrochloric acid, with a balloon on the top and you'll have a balloon full of hydrogen in short order. Disclaimer: Any idiots should do a Google search for "Hindenberg" before trying this! Kevin
 

Farmall

Registered
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

I was basing my response about coal gas from my 1886 book on "Water and Gas Works Appliances" which consists of mainly water hydrants and gas lights. The manufacture of gas from coal was used until they figured out how to pipe the natural gas from the wells. While it is true that acetlyene generators may have been used at homes, coal gas, or manufactured gas was piped through the streets for lighting.

As to the carbide lamp, it was patented in 1902. Here's a quote from the encyclopedia:

"Carbide lamps (acetylene lamps) are simple lamps that produce and burn acetylene gas by reacting calcium carbide with water.

These lamps were formerly found in mines (not to be confused with the Davy lamp), vintage cars, and lighthouses; they are still sometimes used by cavers.

Pellets or chunks of calcium carbide (CaC2) are placed in a chamber (the generator). A second chamber is filled with water. A screw valve or another mechanism is used to control the rate at which the water is allowed to drip into the chamber containing the calcium carbide. By controlling the amount of acetylene gas, the user to controls the size of the flame (and thus the amount of light it produces).

The carbide lamp generally has a reflector behind the flame to redirect light in a more useful direction. A carbide lamp produces a surprisingly bright, broad light. Many cavers prefer this type of unfocused light as it improves peripheral vision in the completely dark environment.

The reaction of calcium carbide with water produces a fair amount of heat independent of the flame. In cold cave environments, carbide lamp users can use this heat to help stave off hypothermia.

When all of the carbide in a lamp has been reacted, the carbide chamber contains a wet paste of lime. This is emptied into a waste bag and the chamber can be refilled.

The design of the lamp was first patented in Duluth, Minnesota on October 21, 1902 (U.S. Patent 711,871)."
 

Oostvogels

Registered
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

Hi all,

Thank you for your good info, I'm affraid when you all reacted we were asleep ;)
There were a few small adverts with the article in Stationary engine.
The writer statet that "This Engine is designed for running toy machinery - natural gas, gasoline and acetylene cannot be used. It must be run with manufactured illumination gas only."
We always have other names for a lot of products. When you say gas engines we say benzine motoren and when we say petroleum you say parafine, diesel is petrol and so you go on. That always is something we must think of very seriously before we use something.
By now English is becoming our second mother-language I guess but we need to make sure what we do.
This engine is so tiny, the flywheel is less then 3.5 inch. Adrie already is tinkering with the missing parts and so, soon now he will not be able to contain himself and he will start it (or at least try)
The article in S.E. also states that advertisments were found from 1900 to 1928. so that should give our toy a date.
The picture shows a model without the cooling ribs so that probably means this is well after 1900? we think.
Well I have to start working, Adrie already is out there in the workshop.
Hope to hear from you all again and again thank you very much for your replies.
Friendly Regards Adrie and Jeanne
 

Attachments

Kevin O. Pulver

Email NOT Working
Age
54
Last Subscription Date
02/14/2020
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

Adrie and Jeanne,
My wife Maria was born in Haarlem Holland while her U.S. Air Force Dad was stationed there. I think she was only there a few months, but she is one of your countrymen I guess! Kevin
 

Kirk Taylor

Registered
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

Hi,
Hydrogen is the only thing you want to use for fuel in your Paradox. "Illuminating gas", "city lighting gas", or "water gas" was generated from coal and was nearly 70% hydrogen. Other gases may have higher heating values but the issue at hand is ignitability. Bottled hydrogen (at least here in the States) can be purchased from many gas suppliers. The engine will run on actylene but don't do it. Acetylene will deposit tremendous amounts of carbon (lamp black) in a very short period of time. Nevertheless, it's a fun toy to play with.
Have a great day.

Kirk
 

Mac Leod

Registered
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

MAPP gas (methalactelene propadinen) burns at 5301 degree F...hmmm how long could your engine run at that temp? :crazy:

Mac Leod
 

Oostvogels

Registered
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

Never knew there were so many different sorts of gas 'till we started collecting stationary engines and we bought a Robinson hot tube engine.
That was a little devil who drove Adrie mad.
He likes a good rithem in an engine, you know what I mean, a good sound and not an at random ignition sound.
So he found out (we had and still have no gas sack for it) that it should run on town gas but the water collumn was so low he had to make a special device to give it that small amount of gas. also alowing for the different type of gas he was using.
After two or three (holiday) days it worked like a shine, smoothly as clockwork and we sat there listening to this great engine.
The next day it was really much colder outside and a bit rainy and when he wanted to show a friend how well it now worked, he could start all over again.
The engine had cooled down and so had the temperature around it.
Boy that was a disapointment. but in the end he mastered the problem and now he can read and write with it so to speak.
In all this it was very importent to know what kind of gas could be used. You need to know you have the right gas before you can tune the amount it needs.
:cool: Thanks for all your good advice, I knew we could count on you all. :)
Best regards of Adrie and Jeanne
 

Oostvogels

Registered
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

Me again,

Adrie made all the parts and it could work now but the botled gas we have isn't working. The completed pictures are on the internet since late last night (European Time)
So we are now skimming the internet in order to know exactly which gas we need and wha't available.
Is it lightgas - Watergas - or Hydrogen?
Any help is welcome, I couldn't find the consensus of a month ago so if the owner of that small engine reads this please let us know what gas you use.
We go on searching.
Regards Adrie and Jeanne
our website
 

Wayne Grenning

Sponsor
Age
55
Last Subscription Date
06/10/2018
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

There is a lot of misconception about gasses and how they burn. The Paradox engine is a non-compression engine meaning that the fuel has to ignite under less than atmospheric pressure. Many fuels will do this however the flame front of the gas is either to slow or too high to accomplish what we want. Map gas and Acetylene will ignite easily however explode so violently that the explosion is over before any work can be done. I have had a lot of experience with fuels on non-compression engines. The Otto-Langen, Sombard/Bisshop design, Crown Gas pumping engine and the Paradox all work very similarly in respect to ignition (Fuel is ignited by flame in the middle of the intake stroke). I have read many of the comments in regard to this post. A few things on combustion temperature. Yes it is true that Map gas and Acetylene burn at almost 6000 degrees – however this is only with a perfect Oxygen / fuel mixture found in a torch or burning nozzle. When burnt with the 20% Oxygen in air the temperature is only a fraction of this. The comment about the cylinder getting a build up on carbon if using these fuels is correct. Many people think that Hydrogen is the best fuel for the Paradox. Not true. It works well with the Otto-Langen – the reason being it is a free piston. The piston/ rack assembly is not attached to a crankshaft so when the fuel explodes the piston is allowed to shoot upward without the drag of spinning a heavy flywheel. The Paradox, Crown pumping engine and the Bisshop are different and require different fuel to make them work. Illuminating gas is the ticket. It is the Methane content in this fuel that is the magic ingredient. I experimented with a paradox engine several years ago and found that a mix of 85% H2 and 15% methane worked perfectly. This fuel mixture also works outstanding on the Crown however has way too much power for the Otto Langen. The methane slows down the burning of the fuel and also adds more punch to the combustion. This slower stronger combustion pushes the piston on the Paradox style engine rather that the equivalent of hitting it with a hammer as found when burning acetylene/ map gas. I was able to purchase a large size “T” cylinder (about 4 ½ feet tall) with this custom mixed fuel from my local welding supply store for about $45. That would run your Paradox for a weeks or a Crown pumping engine for a few days.
 

Jonathan Widelo

Registered
Age
39
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

does anyone know what the patent number of this engine is, I can't read it and its impossible to find this patent with out the number, I would like to find more information about this engine
Thanks,
~ Jonathan
 

Oostvogels

Registered
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

Thank you, this is really very helpfull.
I'll let you know as soon as we know more.
Thank you so very much!!!!

Adrie and Jeanne
 

bijouhills

Registered
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

does anyone know what the patent number of this engine is, I can't read it and its impossible to find this patent with out the number, I would like to find more information about this engine
Thanks,
~ Jonathan
Hi Jonathan, I know this is an old post, but I just purchased a Paradox engine, and know little about them. Did you find any information regarding the Paradox? If you would be so kind to share if you did, I'd be happy to reimburse you. Also, were you able to find a source that would mix the proper gas for you? Thanks and have a great day!
 

lanterncollector

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
02/14/2019
Re: Paradox toy engine and what kind of gas

Hi Jonathan, I know this is an old post, but I just purchased a Paradox engine, and know little about them. Did you find any information regarding the Paradox? If you would be so kind to share if you did, I'd be happy to reimburse you. Also, were you able to find a source that would mix the proper gas for you? Thanks and have a great day!
did you get it off ebay? i saw there was one on there, they had it labeled as "steampunk". was concerned one of their type would get and butcher it. glad to see someone who will care for it got it instead.
 

Ronald E. McClellan

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
01/05/2020
A mix of 60% hydrogen, 30% methane, and 10% carbon monoxide which most closely resembled the illuminating gas of the early part of the last century. Ron
 

Andrew Mackey

Moderator
Last Subscription Date
05/14/2017
Try contacting Wayne Grenning. He has a source for the gas needed. See post 13 in this thread.
 
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