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Palmer Engine Serial Number List

Old Marine Engine » Palmer Engine Serial Number List  

This Palmer Brothers model and serial number listing has been years in the making. Dick Day of Leonardtown Maryland has been compiling it and sending it to Palmer Engine owners for years. He has agreed to post the list online for the benefit of antique marine engine collectors and researchers. The list does not contain the names of the engine owners, only the engine serial number and related information.

If you have Palmer engine serial number information that is not contained in this document please post it on the "add message" area below the the document.

Thank you Dick, we greatly appreciate your efforts to document the history of Palmer Brothers Inc, and the Palmer Engine Company.

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Andrew Menkart
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This document has been posted by Andrew for Dick Day

Palmer Brothers. Palmer Brothers Inc. and The Palmer Engine Company

By Richard A. Day Jr. 04-18-2012 ©

Palmer Bros. Mianus/Cos Cob, CT. Marine engine Model and Serial number listing.

This covers the production years 1900 to the termination of The Palmer Engine Co. the 1947 successor company in June 1971. Palmer Brothers Incorporated in 1921 which can be useful in dating old Palmer Bros. documents.

This project would never have been possible without the dedicated input from antique marine engine collectors. People like Bill Fiege, Andrew Menkart, Norman Mullins, Ernie Darrow, Richard Durgee, Max Homfeld, Allan Rhoney, the LA. Gang, Robert Hanna Scott Noseworthy, George King, Peter Dibble and so many more who were most generous with donations of their serial numbers. Regrettably a few are no longer with us this project has taken so long.

The internet has changed the pace and ability to rapidly exchange photos and ideas. It also widened our ability to bring in collectors from Canada, Alaska, Australia, Europe. All of us collectors owe Andrew Menkart a thank you for OME!!

I started collecting Palmer Engine serial numbers about 1963 when I found out from a long time Palmer Dealer in Baltimore Md. the last two digits of the Palmer serial numbers are the year the engine was made. For many years company lore had been from the start of production in 1895 the last two digits of the serial number were the date the engine was made. Once this became known among antique marine engine collectors others sent me Palmer Models with their numbers and this speeded up the project. Bill Fiege was an early Palmer collector and his work in the 1980s in this regard was monumental.

Palmer Bros. started out in 1887 in Mianus, CT. and became a very successful maker of telephone hardware. They were so successful the brothers decided they would like a boat motor to cruise in the evenings on the Mianus River next to their plant. Ralph Palmer was a brilliant electrical engineer and Frank Palmer believed in advertising as the life blood of a company. Thanks to this lifelong support of advertising material he built a worldwide market with dealers in Europe, Central America, Australia and the Far East. That market survived up until WWI. By the end of WWI so many people were making engine of every type Palmer’s market interests shrank to then high end pleasure boats in the less than 50’ class and the needs of working watermen under 100’ class.

Ray Palmer quickly determined a real problem of the existing gasoline engines of pre 1900 was the long “dwell” of the mechanical igniters then in use which quickly discharged the available batteries. For their first engine in 1893/94 he came up with a simple three spring igniter. Using the energy stored in the flywheel with an eccentric driven vertical shaft extension from the plunger water pump he added a heavier spring which as the pump shaft travels up was compressed. In turn a much lighter spring pulled up a contactor arm which completed the electrical circuit to the “firing pin” inside the cylinder. A simple spring reset the latch.

Mounted on the cylinder head there was an insulated threaded nickel rod which stuck down into the path of the lighter spring controlled contact which completed the electrical circuit when it touched the end of the firing pin.
As the pump plunger traveled up there was an adjustable screw mechanical control/latch which determined when the contact was to be broken. This allowed the
operator to set the advance-retard moment of the contact being made and snapped open by the heavier spring. This simple approach was not patented and it soon was adopted in various versions by engine makers worldwide.
A less understood aspect of this approach was Ralph from his telephone work understood the advantage of an arc over a spark when it came to firing the fuel and lowering the power consumption on the crude wet cells of those days. To create an arc he added a simple inductance in series with the battery.
The end of a new firing pin would be dome shaped to minimize the welding of the contactor to the end of the firing pin. Brass rods work but nickel was preferred as it lasted much longer in service. If you have a nickel rod firing pin don’t mix it with cad plated steel rods as you cannot use a magnet to find it as nickel is also magnetic. Thank You Joe Suydam for that tip.

Frank Palmer established dealerships in seemingly every possible location to provide sales and support services to working watermen. The last Palmer dealership/service center closed its doors on the Chesapeake Bay about 1984.

A real significance of the serial number dating system used by Palmer is one can then track model changes over production years. This then permits assigning probable year(S) for engines which unfortunately have lost their serial number tags. The internet with its picture exchange capability has made it relatively easy to spot changes tied to year. It has also become clear that this dating practice had to have actually started in 1908/09.
This is based on the fact Palmer advertising claimed they had shipped over 40,000 engines by 1912. If that were so why have no serial numbers over that range shown up? The reader is welcome to their own interpretation of the following listing but expect one will have to come to the same conclusion based on available evidence.
It should be noted the heyday of the small two stroke marine engine was 1900 to about the start of WWI so 40,000 engines is not an unreasonable number. The change in numbers of engines produced per year came with the shift to more complicated larger 4 stroke engines. This serial number data shows that difference in production numbers.
The first Palmer Bros. engine production year was 1895 when they produced 100, 1½-HSP engines similar to the 1893/94 First Palmer marine engine. By 1900 they had added, 3, 5 and 7 HSP models. None of the larger engines are known to exist. There are three known engines similar to the First Palmer. One is a stationary version.
1900 showed a major change in the design of Palmer marine engines. The new designs were typical of post 1900 marine engines with the crankshaft on the center line of the crankcase mounting flanges rather than the Classic Steam Engine, “Wine Bottle” style of the First Palmer.

The models B, C, D and E were first listed in Palmer 1900 sales literature. All were 2 port. These engines all had Make and Break ignition.

Model B, 1½ HSP, 2 Port, 500 RPM, Bore 3½”, Stroke 3½”, 130 Lbs. Prop Dia. 13” 2 or 3 blade, Pitch not specified. Expect the pitch was about the same as the diameter. Palmer added an S to Model Name indicating stationary version
engine. e.g. BS, CS etc. The stationary version basically added a cast mounting base for the standard marine engine crankcase to sit in. They supplied two flywheels, governor, belt drive pulley, ignition coil, battery box, thermo syphon cooling tank and fuel supply tank. On some models a marine disk flywheel on one end of the crankshaft and a spoked farm style flywheel on the opposite end with the governor mechanism. Some stationary versions have been found with both with farm style flywheels with spokes. Some have been found with plunger pumps vice thermo syphon cooling.

This is my assessment of the early, mid-range and late Palmer models B, C, D and E. The first version the water pump was mounted on an extension of the bronze forward crankshaft bearing housing. It had one mounting screw to tighten the strap around the bearing to keep the pump body secured. The pump connecting rod strap to the eccentric on the crankshaft had one screw to hold the connection rod secure. This configuration meant the flywheel had to be removed to replace the pump or pump con rod strap. Version 2. The pump con rod strap had two screws so you could remove it from the eccentric without bending/breaking the strap. Version 3. The pump body was given two screws to hold the pump body to the crankshaft bearing extension. Version 4 (1910) the pump body was removed from the bearing extension which was shortened. The pump body then mounted to the crankcase with cap screws either side of the crankshaft. The solid bronze crankshaft bearings were changed to split Parson’s bearings which greatly simplified the bearing replacement without removing the flywheel, pump eccentric, piston connecting rod and shaft coupling. These change probably applied to Models B, C, D and E. Early flywheels were disk as in pre 1900. Changes to 5 later 6 spoke flywheels were early but no specific year is currently known.

No serial number dating system has been found prior to 1908 which would give clues to the year of the five to six spoke changes.

B No serial no. 1899 The oldest B known to date has 1099 which one can assume is probably Oct. 1899 stamped on its crankshaft. The current owner saw the original sale documentation date for this engine was October 1899. Unfortunately the seller kept the original bill of sale.
The Bore of this engine is a 3½” as in later production model B engines. Disk flywheel which was a holdover from 1895-1900 production. Later units were marine style spoked.
In early 1900 years 5 spoke but 6 spokes seemed to take over by 1910/11. It has been suggested this shift was possibly due to the ease a skilled sand molder could rotate a single spoke pattern 3 times to set the pattern for a 6 spoke flywheel. Palmer early in WWII gave up making spoke flywheels due to skill difficulties encountered in the foundry. Post WWII models such as the PNR and ZR are found with disk or spoked flywheels. This can be traced to the watermen preferring the spoked flywheel so they could “stomp” on the spokes to start. Old used spoked flywheels probably were put on by the individual waterman.

B No. serial no. The transfer port cover marked B Aug. 02 1901 with FEB above 1901. Don't know what FEB. means. Aug.02 1901 is the Ray Palmer’s inertial governor patent date found on other either brass or cast iron transfer port covers.
This patent provided an adjustable weight on the Igniter Latch to control engine speed in a sea swell causing the prop to come out of the water allowing the engine to race. No example of a latch so modified has been reported to date. It was simply a horizontal rod extension with a small circular weight with a adjustable set screw to lock the position of the weight on the extension.

B with no serial number 6 known to date.

B 436-02 Does this mean made in 1902. Note there are a number of early engines marked in a similar manner. If by 1912 Palmer had shipped 40,000 engines why don’t numbers show up with 5 digits +2 digits for year of manufacture???

B-436-08 Could be a genuine 1908 serial number.

B 873-08 Engine died. Transfer port cover marked either B 873-08 or B 873-03. Difficult to tell. Don’t know what it means. If 08 could be an early serial number following the Palmer practice of the last two digits of the serial number being the year then engine was made.

B 267310 10 meaning 1910. Her we see the early years of their system of the last two digits of the serial number the year the engine is ready for shipment.
Most Ser. No. tags are1½” x 3” Most Oil mix tags are 1⅛”x2½” This engine has no evidence it ever had an Oil mix tag installed.

BS 269410 1910 Has built in pump jack attached for pumping water.
BS 274810 1910 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “
BS 526712 1912 does not have a pump jack attached
BS No Ser. 1 known to date

Model C, 3 HSP, 2 Port, 400 RPM, Bore 4½”, Stroke 4½”, 230 Lbs. Brought on market in 1900 along with models B, D & E. Prop 3 blade 17” dia.
Note 1910 catalog changes prop to 17” dia. but only 2 blade. HSP raised to 3½
C No Ser. No. 2 engines. Prop diameters in various Palmer catalogs seem to change over the production life of different models. Caution therefore in selecting an appropriate prop is suggested. Trial runs are probably prudent!!

C No Ser. No. Installed in Palmer square stern, 20 foot Launch “Admiral”
Hull # 635
C No Ser. No. “Hot head”. Installed in Palmer square stern Launch. Hull # 844.
Note “Hot Head” means not water cooled. Hot head permitted running on kerosene.
The last Palmer built launches were made in 1919 according to Palmer records.

The following Model C engines have these numbers. What do these numbers mean?
C 221-03 Does this 03 mean year. If it does why is there no compelling evidence there are sequential numbers between 1903 and 1908?

C 249-08 This could be the earliest known serial number following the last two digits as the year of manufacture as it is getting close to those numbers which clearly represent years.
Model C-798 has all parts stamped C-798 This suggests it goes back to days before Palmer used numerous jigs and fixtures to insure standardization of parts for replacement purposes.

Part numbers and piecework numbers often were hand stamped with little attention to precise layout. Multiple numbers like V156, H131, M202 etc. when found on a single part are probably piecework numbers. Single numbers probably identified a part by the number of the engine it went to. This could suggest that C 798 is pre 1906. By 1907 Palmer Bros. claimed they had shipped approximately 25,000 engines. Their advertising at that time also boasted they used jigs and fixtures to insure replacement parts would fit.

Other numbers found stamped on upper and lower crankcase parts are Production Lot numbers. Palmer had a practice of making engines nominally in lots of 100. This was typically 100 raw iron casting in the yard ageing prior to machining. 100 being machined and 100 in final assembly/test/shipment.
To insure mating parts such as upper and lower crankcase halves which had been line bored for the crankshaft (and the reverse gear cover where applicable), would be stamped with a letter/number for example O 30 meaning Lot O 30th piece. For engines with mating reverse gear where a cover was a portion of the reverse gear it would include the model number such as O-30 NL-2. This was necessary for correct assembly as reverse gear covers looked the same for the same engine models regardless on the number of cylinders. The mating line boring was not precisely in the same location in the raw castings for the same model engines.

The lot numbers have no known significance with regard to serial number/date of the engine. Be careful don’t mix up upper and lower crankcase and reverse gear covers. Make sure you pay attention to this detail at auctions when buying parts of engines.

C 032809 1909 This early serial no. obviously follows the last two digits of the serial number as the year of manufacture. This serial number was found on the transfer port cover rather than a brass tag. It is in the same type font as used on numerous Palmer parts.

C 050809 This serial number is found on the engine tag and on the surviving original Palmer 1909 dated bill of sale. Most compelling evidence supporting the last two digits as the year of manufacture.

C 262410 1910
C 1037816 1916
C 1740022 1922

CS No Ser. No. 3 engines known to date.
CS 575912 1912

Model D 5 HSP, 400 RPM, Bore 5”, Stroke 6”, 425 Lbs.
Note by 1910 rated at 6 HSP, Prop 3 blade 20” dia. No pitch given.

D No Ser. 1 engine known to date.
D 34810 1910? Is this serial number missing a digit? Note absence of a 2 as in 262410.
D 1328318 1918 This number fits in with other 1918 numbers.

DS 537512 1912
DS 648812 1912
DS 658812 1912

DS 323 Is this a Ser. No.?

DS No Ser. No. 2 engines known to date.

Model E 7½ HSP, 430 RPM, Bore 6”, Stroke 6”, 1907 551 lbs. by 1917 375 Lbs. Prop 22” 3 blade.
No complete E is known to have survived. HEC has a badly rusted cylinder and flywheel remnant sufficient to permit positive identification as a Palmer E.

Model Q-1 2 HSP, 550 RPM Bore 3½”,”Stroke 3½” 135 LBS. Prop 13” . Note by 1910 Palmer had increased the bore to 3¾” and raised the RPM to 700 and 3 HSP. By 1912 the Q-1 HSP had been dropped to 2½ HSP. These were jump spark engines. There seem to be a number of changes over the Q production years which make it difficult to figure out the year a Q, P or O engine was made without a serial number.

The model Q started out in 1905 as a three port engine with swing arm timer later changed to a geared timer half way up the cylinder shown in their 1907 catalog. The water pump was a plunger pump not gear pump as shown in the 1905 catalog.
The gear driven 1912 Palmer made timer by 1912 has moved to the top of the Cylinder. By 1912 the ½” NPT spark plug is on top of cylinder. The inverted boring bar plug is no longer required as Palmer had shifted to grinding rather than boring cylinders. By 1916 the timer was made by Cuno with a slightly different bronze upper support for the timer drive shaft and Sector. When the Palmer 1912 timer went out of production is unknown. It is known there were several other versions of Palmer timers but no known documentation seems to have survived to indicate details of what they looked like or when they were introduced or dropped from production.
There is one known Q-1 two port in excellent condition without a serial number with a 1906-7 geared Palmer timer half way up the cylinder. This engine looks much like the 1907 catalog page 13 engine.
The mounting holes for the crankcase hold down lag screws may be found with the holes actually bored ½”offset from the raised bosses on the lower half of the crankcase. This apparently was intended to increase by 1”the spacing of the mounting timbers in the boat. About 1920 the bosses on some are no longer present and the bottom casting of the lower half of the crankcase is marked Q 10.

The models S, T and U have Make and Break ignition. They are the same in all other aspects as the Jump Spark O, P and Q.

Q-1 with No Ser. No. There are 9 known Model Q-1 three port engines without serial numbers. Checking the bore could place the engine in early production or later years.
Q-1 No Ser. No. This three-port engine has the 1905 two-port intake boss but it is not machined for the inlet check valve flange. This boss disappears in later production years. The Palmer 1907 catalog shows the Q-1 as a two port engine when in fact it was by then a three port engine. One can assume they used up existing two port crankcase upper halves for the three port version of the Q-1.

Q-1 No Ser. No. Two Port with 1905 swing arm timer.
Q-1 No Ser. No. Two port with 1905 swing arm timer, 14” flywheel

Q-1 239010 1910
Q-1 26901C 1910 Probably 0 for 1910. Several serial No. tags have been found
poorly marked this way
Q-1 622112 1912
Q-1 686313 1913 In a fantail Palmer launch. No hull number probably lost in boat restoration.
Q-1 794714 1914
Q-1 847014 1914
Q-1 867514 1914 In a Palmer Square Stern, 16-1/2’ Palmer launch.
Hull number 835. Hull believed to be 1905 or earlier.
Palmer launch catalogs of the period state they make Round,
Square, V and Compromise, Stern launches.
Q-1 872014 1914
Q-1 888314 1914
Q-1 961615 1915 It has not been firmly established but it appears from known
Q-1 968115 1915 Q engines the two bolt water pump mounting flange was
changed to a three bolt mounting flange about 1916. Owners
Q-1 1014816 1916 of serial numbered engines can help to narrow down an
earlier date for this change.
Q-1 1032216 1916
Q-1 1037716 1916
Q-1 1050916 1916
Q-1 1157817 1917
Q-1 1430919 1919
Q-1 1438119 1919
Q-1 1439119 1919
Q-1 1588620 1920
Q-1 1658321 1921
Q-1 1888223 1923
Q-1 2097625 1925
Q-1 2144925 1925 Rare 2”x3” tag with oil mix and Ser. No. on same tag.

QS-1 384611 1911

Model Q-2 6 HSP 700 RPM Bore 3¾” Stroke 3½” 180 lbs. Prop 16”

Q-2 No Ser. No. 3 engines known to date.

Q-2 26901C 1910???
Q-2 296310 1910
Q-2 310010 1910
Q-2 321010 1910
Q-2 359210 1910 This Q-2 has the earliest Oil/Fuel mix Tag reported to date. The tag is 1½” H X 2 9/16” long. The typical later oil tag is approx. 1⅛”H X 2½”L Typical location for the oil tag is the upper Starboard face of the forward cylinder.

It appears Palmer started adding oil mix tags to their two stroke engine in 1910.
The earliest mention of this “daring innovation” seems to be an article on page 179 of the 1909 Power Boating Magazine. Messrs.’ Pierce, Nye and Budd famous boat racing engine makers are considered the originators of this simple practice. Palmer Bros. quickly picked it up and would not guarantee their two stroke engines unless one followed their recommendations. Lathrop didn’t recognize the practice but his customers quickly did. Lubricator makers must not have been very happy!!!

Q-2 359410 1910
Q-2 370210 1910
Q-2 530712 1912 Extra wide flywheel, No boring bar “clearance hole” in head.
Q-2 561612 1912
Q-2 580712 1912
Q-2 808414 1914
Q-2 850214 1914
Q-2 1042416 1916
Q-2 1051616 1916
Q-2 1072416 1916
Q-2 1632321 1921
Q-2 1632821 1921
Q-2 1818123 1923
Q-2 1976024..1924
Q-2 2107825 1925 Why does this engine has a much larger Ser. No. plate
including oil mix on the Ser. plate? Only one so reported!!!
Q-2 2118825 1925

Model Q-3 8 HSP 600 RPM Bore 3¾”, Stroke 3½” 230 lbs. Prop 18” 3 blade.

Q-3 663813 1913
Q-3 776213 1913

Model P-1 5 HSP 650 RPM Bore 4½”, Stroke 4½” 200 lbs. Prop 16”

P-1 413411 1911
P-1 518112 1912
P-1 720613 1913
P-1 884714 1914
P-1 911115 1915
P-1 448819 1919

Model P-2 10 HSP 650 RPM Bore 4½”, Stroke 4½”, , 318 lbs. Prop 20”

P-2 No. Ser. No. 1 engine known to date.

Model O 5½ HSP 500 RPM 5”Bore 6” Stroke 230 lbs. Prop 20”
No O has been found to date

Models U S & T were make and break versions of the O P & Q
Model U-1 2 HSP Bore 3¾”, Stroke 3½” 600 RPM, 100 lbs. Prop 13” dia.

U-1 455711 1911
U-1 606012 1912
U-1 715813 1913
U-1 836014 1914
U-1 988415 1915

Model U-2 5 HSP Bore 3¾”, 3½” stroke 600 RPM 180 lbs. Prop 16” Dia.

U-2 094809 1909
U-2 470711 1911
U-2 468211 1911
U-2 608212 1912
U-2 Blank tag with no serial number.

Model S-1 3½ HSP, Bore 4½”, Stroke 4½”, 500 RPM, 200 lbs. Prop 16”Dia.

S-1 264910 1910
S-1 812014 1914

Model S-2 8 HSP Bore 4½”, Stroke 4½”, 500 RPM, 380lbs. Prop 18” Dia.

S-2 No Ser. No. Owner said 1911. Engine in launch.

Model T-1 5½ HSP Bore 5”, Stroke 6” 475 RPM 290 lbs. Prop 20” Dia.
Model T-2 11 HSP Bore 5”. Stroke 6” 475 RPM 445 lbs. Prop 22” Dia.
No T-1 or T-2 has been reported to date.

Model L and M Series Came on stream about 1906. The L and M series were 4 stroke, closed crankcase engines. Atmospheric intake valves. Drip oilers on crankcase covers. Plunger water pumps with external check valves.

L-1 Bore 4½” Stroke 4½” 600 RPM 3 Raised to 3½ HSP by 1910, Jump Spark.
Weight 175 Lbs. Prop 16” Dia.
L-2 8 HSP 300 Lbs. Prop 18”
L-4 14 HSP 600 Lbs. Prop 20”

The model R would appear about 1910. The R was basically the Model M but with mechanically operated intake and exhaust valve. Make and Break ignition but a jump spark addition was offered so it could have duel ignition. It is not clear if the L and M had the same ignition systems offered. Checking surviving engines might answer that question.

The Models L and R would become in 1912 the Palmer Bros. engine of choice as Models NL (New L) and NR (New R) for many small boat, working watermen for the next 20 years.
The L and M would disappear with the L to reappear but with mechanical intake and exhaust valves as the NL (New L).

These two models would be superseded in 1925 by the Models ZR 1-4 until the ZR-1 was phased out in 1962. Post WWII few ZR multiple cylinder engines would be produced. The last ZR-4 would be made in 1957. The old hands had not assembled many since the late 1930s and had a hard time remembering the factory clearances for assembly. It is still in excellent operating condition.

The Model M would disappear from the product line with the introduction of the Model R about 1910
L-1 No Ser. No. Brisbane, AU. Palmer retagged by the importer CCM 9881
L-1 No Ser. No. This engine is in remarkable good condition.
L-1 288510 1910
L-1 353310 1910
L-1 571812 1912

L-2 No Ser. No. 8 HSP This engine under a complete professional reconstruction of the original engine.

L-4 206609 1909 14 HSP This is the only known surviving L-4.
Appears remarkably complete. Would be interesting to check the L-4 firing order as 1,2,3,4. Early Palmer documents indicate the NL-4 and NR-4 was 1,2,3,4.
Later four cylinder engines such as the NL, NR, ZR, RW, NK and F are 1,2,4,3. Unfortunately no early or later NR-4 is known to exist.

M Bore 5” Stroke 6” 600 RPM..M-1, 5 HSP, M-2, 10 HSP, M-4, 18 HSP

M-1 No Ser. No. ca. 1907-1912 2 known to date

M-1 553-08 This is a very early serial number. The Tag, Type Font and layout are correct. Follow on serial numbers tend to support such an assumption. This engine is a stationary with stationary engine style flywheels and governor. Some early Palmer stationary versions have a marine flywheel on one side with spoked farm style flywheel on the governor side. This engine is remarkably complete and in very good condition. Note however there is no S after the M to indicate stationary. When that practice was started is unknown.

M-1 No Ser. No. This rare engine has been restored and is in excellent condition.

Model N ca. 1905. Two Port, Two stroke, 3½ HSP, Swing Arm Timer, Jump Spark. Spark plug on upper face of cylinder above the plunger water pump, five spoke marine style fly wheel. No N has surfaced.

Models F, G, F-4 and G-4 were 4 stroke cast en-block 2 cylinders per block Closed crankcase engines. Started out in 1902. F was 2 cylinder 8 HSP, 600 lbs. G was 2 cylinder 12 HSP weighed 1,000 lbs. F-4 16 HSP weighed 1,100 lbs. G-4 25 HSP weighed 2000 lbs.
Ca. 1909/10 the Models K2 and K3 appeared. They had a 7½” Bore and 10” Stroke.
K-2 was 20-25 HSP, weighed 3,000 lbs. K-3 was 30-35 HSP weighed 3500 lbs.
These engines would live on in production as the F and NK up until the early 1930s.

The reason there are five surviving Model F cylinders is because about 1937/38 Frank Palmer called up a customer named Palmer (no relation) who had a fleet of “Draggers” out of a Conn. Port. Frank knew this owner had a number of model F engines in his fleet. Frank told him to come down and help himself to all the excess parts for the model F as Palmer was no longer making parts for those engines still in service. The owner hauled a large number of parts back to his base of operation. About 1960 his heirs offered the residue to Max Homfeld at CBMM. Max retrieved a number of interesting item including the F cylinders. When Max Died his project to mock up an F-2 also died. He was planning to use an F-2 flywheel and crankshaft which had been used for many years as a counter weight on the Oxford/Bellevue, MD ferry ramp.

One unanswerable question is “why was Palmer casting F cylinders in 1946”. One of those five cylinders for the model F was cast in 1946. None of these large engines are known to exist. Frank Palmer died in 1944 so doubt he had more cast.
In appearance these models look similar to the models NL and NR only much larger with the intake and exhaust valve chambers bolted on the sides of the cylinder casting. Models F and K were large engines in the 50-125 ft. work boat fleets from about 1910 to the 1930s. By the late 1920s truck engines with propeller shaft reduction gears began to invade the small workboat fleets. Those engine had big advantages in smaller size, lower weight less vibration and more power.

Model R engines Ca. 1908.
The model R was a different approach to 4 stroke marine engines made by Palmer Bros. They had had a Model G, 4 stroke, side valve, closed crankcase 2 and 4 cylinder engine with mechanical valves, MB ignition which they had brought out about 1900. These were rated at 12 and 24 HSP at 400 RPM. They weighed 1050 and 2000 lbs. These were very heavy engines for the horsepower. None are known to exist.
The model R was a T head much like the model M with 5” Bore and 6” Stroke at 600 RPM.
The big differences were the intake and exhaust valves were both mechanically operated and a much less weight engine. The R-4 only weighed 700 lbs. including its built in reverse gear . The R was also offered in jump spark in addition to M/B ignition.
By Dec. 1912 the models L, M and R would soon be eclipsed by the long lived NL (New L) and NR (New R) T head series which lasted in production to about 1928. Many of the 1912 parts lived on in the 1925 ZR T head series until 1962,
Palmer Bros. Like Henry Ford used many parts on different models and marked items like con rods with letters such as DMOT, BQ or QYT meaning fits those models. This also means the Model B con rod fits B, Q and YT engines. Pistons are often found with Letters such as C or L cast in the head or inside the skirt.

R-1 Bore 5”, Stroke 6” 600 RPM, 5 HSP , R2 10 HSP, R-4 20 HSP

R-1 No Ser. No. Engine used in stationary use for many years. In excellent
operating condition.
R-1 343310 1910

R-2 No Ser. No. ca. 1908-1912

RS-1 No. Ser. No. has been Restored and in running condition.
RS-1 479511 1911

NL-1 Bore 4½”, Stroke 4½” 400-600 RPM, 350 lbs. 3½ HSP, Prop 2 blade 16”

NL-1 No Ser. No. There are 9 known NL-1 with no serial number. .
NL-1 No Ser. No. Has AU importers tag CM 79917.
NL-1 1388519 1919.
NL-1 2620029 1929 Tag only.
NL-1 2913137 1937 This engine probably assembled from parts in inventory
as the NL went out of production in the early 1920s

NL-2 400-600 RPM 500 lbs. 7 HSP Prop 3 Blade 18”
The NL-2 with no serial number has to be among the very first NL-2 made as its oil pan for the engine is shared with the reverse gear. This resulted in the oil flowing into the reverse gear starving the oil pump which fed oil to the intermediate crankshaft gear and valve drive gears. This also starved the crankshaft throws and connecting rods for oil. This was quickly corrected and early Palmer catalogs of the period mention the problem had been corrected in later production.

NL-2 No Ser. no.
NL-2 871014 1914
NL-2 1907823 1923

NL-3 400-600 RPM 700 lbs. 11 HSP Prop 3 Blade 20”

NL-3 861114 1914

NL-4 400-600 RPM 850 lbs. 14 HSP Prop 3 Blade 22”

NL-4 1157917 1917 Tag only

NR 1 Bore 5”, Stroke 6”, 5 HSP, 400-600 RPM, 400 lbs. Prop 18” 2 blade

NR-1 No Ser. No. 6 known
NRS 1 Has AU importer CCM tag 51214.

NR-1 No Ser. No. 1 known with built in reverse gear called the Model R clutch. It should be noted that many of the single cylinder engines had no built in reverse gear. Many watermen could not afford the expense of a reverse gear or they used an existing reverse gear with the new engine. This engine has a NOS cylinder.
Early NR engines with reverse gears did not have an oil/water tight seal between the engine upper half of the crankcase and the reverse gear cover. There was a cast iron cover with felt gasket about ¼” thick but this would not seal water intrusion or oil leakage from the reverse gear. When this was changed to a sealed area is unknown. This NR-1 has a machined surface gasket seal between the cover and the engine upper crankcase. The early and later R covers without close examination look the same. The R reverse gear has two approx. 4” square covers held down by a steel bar. One cover is marked RUN SLOW TO REVERSE the other is marked KEEP ONE THIRD FULL OF OIL. This NR-1 has to be post 1922 as it has a tapered crankshaft mounting for the flywheel with a Left hand thread Puller nut and brass “cuff protector” to keep a pant cuff from being caught in the flywheel puller nut when “stomping” on the flywheel spoke to start the engine. Pre 1922 NR flywheels were secured with tapered Gib keys and had brass cuff protectors.

NR-1 1139317 1917
NR-1 1181917 1917 Tag only
NR-1 1234217 1917
NR-1 1519520 1920
NR-1 1754022 1920
NR-1 1804822 1922
NR-1 1932823 1923

NR 2 Bore 5”, Stroke 6”, 10 HSP, 400-600 RPM, 750 lbs. Prop 22” 3 blade

NR-2 No Ser. No. 5 known.
NR-2 1139117..1917 Brass oil pump. Most later NL and NR engines have cast iron oil pumps. When those change took place will probably be found as collectors look at these serial numbers.
NR-2 1169117. 1917 Brass oil pump
NR-2 1208217 1917 No transmission as it powered a crane.
NR-2 1609421 1921
NR-2 1632321 1921
NR-2 1830323 1923
NR-2 1838523 1923
NR-2 1907323 1923
NR-2 2004924 1924
NR-2 2039324 1924

The NL, NR and RW change from flywheels retained by Gib key to flywheels machined for tapered crankshafts with left hand thread puller nuts seems to have taken place between 1922 and 1923. Most RW, NL, NR, PNR and ZR flywheel Puller Nut cap screw threads are ½” 12 THD until changed in mid 1930s to ½” 13 THD. A few have be found with 3/8”16 THD.

All puller nuts are left hand THD. Do not attempt to force the puller nut cap screw holes to line up with flywheel threaded holes when tightening the flywheel puller nut. The crankshaft and flywheel tapers are not machined to insure these holes will line up. Some may but most will not. Excessive tightening pressure will damage the puller nut/crankshaft threads. This warning came from Henry Zerbarini. Palmer 1922-1968.

Water pumps for Palmer NL, NR, RW ZR and PNR.

The change to internal check valves on the NL and NR plunger pumps seems have taken place about 1919. The external check valves were typical plumber’s swing or ball check valves some were vertical and others horizontal. The water pump was a simple bronze cylinder with a plunger much like the later pumps with built in check valves. The water and oil pumps straps operated off a two track eccentric on the intake camshaft. Modern lip seals can easily be epoxied in the brass camshaft cover.
Early oil pumps were bronze. Later units are cast iron with steel plungers. Their check valves have steel balls and easily replaced. The steel balls are held captive with Morse taper pins.
The plunger pump with the built in check valves used the following sizes.
For NL, NR, RW, ZR, and PNR one and two cylinder models the plunger dia. is 1¼”
For NR three cylinder it is 1-7/16” diameter. Two cap screws for pump body hold down to crankcase for all these models.
For ZR and PNR three and four cylinder engines pump plunger is 2” diameter and have 3 cap screws for pump body hold down to the crankcase.
It is likely these same dimensions applied in multiple cylinder models RA, RAL and RW3 or RW-4 but none have been reported therefore there is currently no way to confirm this.

The Water pump body for the NR-3 is larger than the pump for the NR-1 and NR 2
The same holds for the ZR-3 and ZR-4. Expect the same holds for the PNR-3 or 4.
Changes in intake manifold configurations are so numerous over the 20 years of NL/NR production even with serial numbers it is not reasonable to positively indicate when a particular manifold design was introduced. In the ZR/PNR multiple cylinder engines water heated intake manifolds were finally introduced about 1927. The water heated manifold solved the long lived problem of uneven fuel distribution to individual cylinders. In 1925 with the release of the ZR-4 it unfortunately used a not heated bronze intake manifold similar to the unit then used on the NR-4. It was soon changed to a water heated intake manifold and the fuel distribution problem was finally solved.
The water pump for the ZR-4 when released in 1925 was a gear pump which was soon changed back to the plunger pump due to loss of prime and cracked overheated cylinders and exhaust manifolds.
In the single cylinder NL, NR, ZR, PNR and similar engines some have intake manifolds built up from pipe, or are iron castings and others have very attractive bronze manifolds. None were heated but most watermen had a flexible air intake off an “oven” around the exhaust pipe to heat air intake to the mixing valve or carburetor for all models 1 to 4 cylinders. Heated intake air is needed to minimize frost build up in the mixing valve or carburetor from the exothermic reaction changing a liquid fuel to a gas.
The oven around the exhaust line to heat intake combustion air was practiced on single and multiple cylinder engines from the earliest years of gasoline engines.
Back fire traps were not typical for single cylinder engines in open boats. They were not required until the safe boating act was passed in 1940. By the 1920s back fire traps were provided by prudent boat owners. Many with closed cabin boats also coupled a PCV tube to the carburetor air intake to pick up crankcase fumes. Small brass or copper screened fuel pick up tanks were typically suspended under up and side draft carburetors to pick up any fuel drips.
There are 1912/13 catalog prints of the NR-1 showing cast, iron ovens with cast iron piping connecting the oven around the exhaust line with the carburetor intake. No Palmer engines so equipped have surfaced to date.
Parts from the original NL/NR designs such as the valve push rods, guides, cuff protectors, brass oil sight glass, oil and later water pumps were in production until 1962 with the end ZR. Production. Valves for the PNR were the same size as the ZR.
Early NR valve dimensions. Length 6-7/8”. Head DIA. 1-15/16” Stem DIA. 3/8”
Post 1923 NR valve dimensions. Length 6-15/16” Head DIA 2-7/16” Stem DIA 3/8”
All ZR valve dimensions. Length 7-1/2”, Head DIA 2-7/16” Stem DIA 3/8”
Note the stem diameters are actually about .005” smaller than 3/8”.

Magneto gear changes.
It should be noted in PNR and ZR the Magneto drive gear width up to engine #2892636 was ½” 8 Pitch. Subsequent engines gear width was ¾” 8 pitch.
The very early 1914/15 versions of the NR show the magneto gear drive at the aft end of the intake camshaft. Later 1917 versions show the magneto drive off the forward end of the intake cam shaft. When this change actually took place is unknown. When viewers compare their engine serial numbers their reports can begin to nail down some of these changes.
In 1938 for the PNR and ZR exhaust manifold each cylinder exhaust flange was changed from 2 bolt to 3 bolt. Engines have been found with a mix of two bolt and three bolt cylinders using a three bolt flange exhaust manifold. Palmer over their production life was most interested in backward compatible changes in the engines they manufactured.
It should be noted the PNR was intended to use up excess NR series parts. It looks like a ZR with its cylinder with detachable head but has a 5” Bore, 6” Stroke and not counterbalance crankshaft. The ZR has a 5-1/2” Bore and 6” stroke with counterbalance crankshaft. The post 1928 PNR used the same reverse gear, intake, exhaust manifolds, pumps, ignition systems etc.as the ZR. Pre 1928 ZR-2 used the R reverse gear of the NL/NR series. The higher torque of the ZR-2 quickly showed the R reverse gear could not handle the torque. Subsequent ZR-2 and PNR-2 used the same reverse gears as the ZR series 1-4 cylinder. Not many PNR engines were sold as the price difference for a ZR-1 over a PNR-1 in 1937 was only about $30.00

NR 3 Bore 5”, Stroke 6”, 15 HSP, 400-600 RPM, 1000 lbs. Prop 24” 3 blade

NR-3 No Ser. No. Ca. 1923 This engine almost like new condition. Drove a
Midwest farmer’s grain mill.
NR-3 1846823. 1923

NRS-1 No Ser. No. 5 HSP. 2 known.

NRS-1 51214 C.C.M. Brisbane, AU. Palmer engine retagged by the importer.

NRS-2 No Ser. No. 10 HSP 1 known.

NRS-2 1776322 This engine in remarkable good condition when found. Has had a very thoughtful restoration. .

RA-1 1255118 1918 Tag only. Basically the NL-1 with the stroke changed from 4-½” to 6”, HSP 4-½” to 5 400-600 RPM. It seems to have disappeared from the Palmer catalogs early1920s.

RW-1 No Ser. No. 4 known.

The RW had a larger NR dome head style cylinder with 5-⅜” bore 6” stroke. In some catalogs the bore is stated as 5-½”. RW-1 was a 1917 early 20s attempt to get more horsepower on the NR-1 crankcase. It was rated at 5-½ to 6-½ HSP.
RW-1 weighed 425 lbs. 3 blade 20” prop.
Due to its immense round water jacket when Palmer attempted to make multiple cylinder versions on the standard NR 2, 3 and 4 crankcase the thin flattened sides of the cylinder water jacket proved to rapidly rust through in salt water operation. The entire program was therefore dropped. One two cylinder version has been reported. Whether that survivor was used in salt or fresh water is unknown.
The RW models are dropped in post 1923 catalogs.

RW-1 1363618 1918
RW-1 1466919 1919
RW-1 1498320 1920
RW-1 1689722 1922
RW-2 1611521 1921

YT-1 Bore 3”, Stroke 3½” 800 RPM, 2 HSP, 130 Lbs. Prop 3 B 12”D 10 P.

Warning Some YT flywheel hub nuts are RH 5/8” X 18 THD or RH 5/8” X 20 THD. All crankshaft drive shaft end keyways are not at the bottom of TDC. YT engines are all Left hand!!!! Rotate counter clockwise facing the flywheel. Hard to believe one reported YT-1 owner junked his because it would only start running “BACKWARDS”!

The YT-1 four/stroke came on stream in 1921/22 and remained in production until 1948. It is much sought after by collectors. In addition to the slant spark plug change to vertical about 1924 the following changes are noted over the production life of the YT-1. About 1926 a crankcase oil level/drain 1/8” NPT petcock was added on the lower Starboard aft face of the crankcase 5” below the top of the crankcase.

The early YT engines had bronze crankshaft bearings with no seal. The oil was kept in the crankcase by a bronze breather valve. Later versions added a felt seal but kept the brass breather valve. Mid 1930 the crankshaft housing was expanded and lip seals were added. This change is easily detected by the expanded crankshaft seal housings. The aft seal will be found behind the steel thrust washer,
ball thrust bearing and prop drive flange. There is a forward seal is behind the flywheel.

The crankcase breather valve was changed in 1937 from the early cast bronze Palmer breather valve used on many of their single cylinder, four stroke engines dating back to WWI years. The new large bronze or cast iron unit makes a particularly disturbing clacking sound in operation but it is reasonably effective in keeping crankcase oil in situ. One breather of this type has been reported in bronze rather than cast steel.

Some very early YT-1 engines have an 11” diameter flywheel 3” wide. Later YT-1 flywheels are 12” in diameter 3” wide.

YT Carburetor intake manifold differences.

From 1921 to about 1924 the Schebler ¾” Model D with brass pipe fittings and an SAE STYLE 2 bolt flange are found on some engines. Others may have a formed copper pipe with a Kingston or Model B Schebler With the Release for sale of the YT-2 in 1924 the Mayer Carburetor with a formed brass or copper pipe intake manifold with SAE STYLE 2 bolt flanges was introduced. The two bolt SAE STYLE flange remained until the end of production of the YT-1. There was a difference on the carburetor flange end in the mounting bolt holes spacing for the later Zenith 61 series carburetor with its backfire trap and fuel pick up tube in its slant air intake throat. Some engines are found with the earlier Mayer carburetor intake with the carburetor end flange mounting holes modified to fit with the Zenith 61. Some pre WWII vintage YT-1 engines are found with bronze Tillotson carburetors. Post WWII YT-1 Tillotson carbs are aluminum. The copper intake pipe made it easy for the boat owner to slightly bend the intake pipe to level the carburetor in the boat.

There are at least 25 YT-1 known with no serial number. As the YT-1 seems to change hands relatively often it is not possible to say all are different engines or simply changed owners. One is a YT-1 assembled by HEC from all NOS parts except for the flywheel.

YT 1723322 1922
YT 1747422 1922
YT 1758722 1922
YT 1886723 1923
YT 1970324 1924 Spoked Flywheel, With pre 1924 YT-2, 45 degree slant spark plug.

With the Release of the YT-2 for production the early slant spark plug had to be changed to vertical to permit a mirror image aft cylinder head. On some YT-1s of this period slant plugs are found. The aft cylinder of the YT-2 is the same as the forward cylinder. YT-2 Weight, No Clutch 210 Lbs. Prop 3 B 12”

YT-1 2022124 1924
YT-1 2098625 1925
YT-1 2118825 1925
YT-1 2209726 1926
YT-1 2214926 1926
YT-1 2227626 1926
YT-1 2242626 1926
YT-1 2256326 1926
YT-1 2356227 1927
YT-1 2432127 1927
YT-1 2445327 1927
YT-1 2445627 1927
YT-1 2557728 1928
YT-1 2564328 1928
YT-1 2564828 1928
YT-1 2641929 1929
YT-1 2692229 1929
YT-1 2743930 1930
YT-1 2767230 1930
YT-1 2775630 1930
YT-1 2897130 1930 This circa 1936-37 engine has a later crankcase with lip seals instead of early felt seals. This suggests its 1930s serial number tag has been modified. About 1930 Palmer moved the serial number tags to the Port Crankcase support flange as they were often lost when a cylinder was replaced. This engine has the 1937 style breather. This engine’s breather is the only one reported in bronze instead of cast iron. In 1937 Palmer came out with a much larger breather with elaborate internal dash pot. It had an adjustable threaded rod with hex lock nut control on the bottom for dashpot travel. When correctly adjusted it makes a distinctive clicking noise which is unlike the classic relatively quiet bronze breathers Palmer began using in 1912 with the NL-1 and NR-1. This 1937 noisy cast iron breather is also found on post WWII YT-1, ZR-1 and PNR-1 engines. A 1937 Palmer parts lists indicate the breather change unfortunately it does not specify bronze or cast iron units. Examining YT-1 serial numbers may indicate a probable date for the change from bronze to cast iron.

To adjust loosen bottom Hex nut and turn the threaded rod in or out until it make a distinctive clicking noise as the piston of the engine goes up and down. The nut on top simply holds to top cap on the breather. If one allows too much oil in the crankcase it will begin to come out the breather ports. Keep in mind the lubrication for the flywheel crankshaft end bearing come from the drip lubricator and it may add oil to the crankcase at a faster rate than the oil is consumed therefore from time to time drain off excess oil build up in the crankcase.

About 1926 Palmer added a crankcase 1/8” NPT oil level petcock 5” below the top of the YT-1 crankcase below the breather. A worthwhile modification in my opinion.
There is no crankshaft operational clearance for a dipstick in the oil fill pipe plug.

YT-1 2820231 1931
YT-1 2838132 1932
YT-1 2848232 1932
YT-1 2868934 1934 Has Aldisk Reverse gear.
YT-1 2889136 1936
YT-1 2904137 1937
YT-1 2904337 1937
YT-1 2917537 1937
YT-1 2930638 1938
YT-1 2930838 1938
YT-1 2934938 1938
YT-1 2937338 1938
YT-1 2940338 1938
YT-1 2941438 1938
YT-1 2973741 1941
YT-1 2979141 1941
YT-1 2993242 1942
YT-1 3172445 1945
YT-1 3217046 1946
YT-1 3240446 1946
YT-1 3242846 1946
YT-1 3244146 1946
YT-1 3244946 1946 NOS
YT-1 3245246 1946
YT-1 3245446 1946
YT-1 3248347 1947
YT-1 3248747 1947
YT-1 3260847 1947
YT-1 3418148 1948
YT-1 3422548 1948
YT-1 3423848 1948
YT-1 3448747 1947

YT-2 1981124 1924
YT-2 1998924 1924
YT-2 2014624 1924
YT-2 2130425 1925
YT-2 2020824 1924
YT-2 2159225 1925
YT-2 2172625 1925
YT-2 2198326 1926
YT-2 2264026 1926

YT-2 with no serial no. 2 known.

YTS-1 with no serial no. 2 known
YTS-1 2098125 1925
YTS-1 2585228 1928
YTX In about 1946 Palmer offered a YT-1 version rated to run at 1500 RPM. What they did was reduce the prop size and it did not sell. None are known to exist.

The arrival of the ZR and PNR series in 1925

Palmer Bros. stuck with the dome head style cylinder long after the automotive industry solved the demountable head gasket problem. Palmer shifted to demountable cylinder heads for their new individual cylinder style engines the Models ZR and the PNR in 1925. Replacement dome head NR cylinders were still in production in 1946 for Palmer by Manufacturer’s Foundry Co. Waterbury, Ct.

Their trademark is MFCO in a horizontal diamond. Palmer Bros. shut down their foundry in 1937. The MFCO trademark on Palmer cast iron parts indicates 1937 and later production. This MFCO mark will also be found on some engines made by Lathrop.

The ZR series were the engines chosen by many working watermen to replace the NR series which had served so well for so many years. Cast iron water jacketed marine engine operating in salt water could expect about 15 years before the water jackets rusted through. Heat exchangers for both pleasure boats and work boats were a relatively rare mode of operation. Automotive and Truck engines lasted about two years in salt water cooling operations without keel coolers or heat exchangers due to their relatively thin water jackets.

Old time watermen have stated they had three basic problems with their engines!
1 Ignition, 2 Water circulation. Meaning stuck, leaking or blocked water pump check valves 3. Carburetor or fuel problems.

Marine trash was a problem which plunger pumps dealt with much better than gear pumps. Examination of the check valve caps on the plunger pumps for these engines suggests the most common tool to remove them must have been a hammer and cold chisel. Hey watermen are resourceful!!!! Modern O rings make great gaskets for the pump valve covers. Finger tight is adequate.

The ZR series came out in 1925. The first production multi cylinder engines had a gear pump instead of the classic plunger style pumps dating back to the First Palmer in 1893/94. It was a disaster as the gear pump would not reliably pick up water when the engine started due to leaky check valves. The cylinder jacket water would drain back out of the top of the cylinders and the water cooled exhaust manifold. This caused serious problems with overheated cracked cylinders and exhaust manifolds. The problem was promptly solved by returning to the classic plunger water pump and routing the pump discharge line up over and down on the top of the exhaust manifold. The exhaust manifold pre heated the cylinder intake water. The cylinder heated water then heated the fuel intake manifold with the discharge of the heated water into the exhaust piping for its cooling. To balance the water flow among the cylinders small brass washers were inserted in the discharge outlet of each cylinder where needed.

The early ZR 2, 3 and 4 cylinder engines also used the NR series Palmer bronze or cast iron not water heated intake manifolds. These were replaced about 1927 with water heated intake manifolds. Finally the long standing uneven air/fuel mixture per cylinder problem was solved. Unfortunately this simple change didn’t come until 1927. The heated carburetor intake air from the exhaust oven had helped over the previous 30 years but had not solved the problem of more even air/fuel distribution per cylinder.

With the flat removable cylinder head for the ZR and PNR series the problem of
trapped air/steam in the top of the cylinder head was solved with a so called steam trap over each head jacket water discharge. This was provided by a small removable two bolt flange over the top of the head water discharge outlet.
It might be noted the down passage for the water/air steam flow erodes over time and it may be necessary to epoxy a short length of copper pipe inside the top of the down passage to insure proper cooling of the underside of the top of the head.

Significant changes in the ZR, PNR production years.

For those engines made up to Ser. No. 2892636 the magneto drive gears were ½” wide, 8 pitch with ½” drive shaft. Future engines until end of production in 1962 were 5/8” wide, 8 pitch with 5/8” drive shaft. Some post 1938 engines have been found with the pre 1938 magneto drive gears. This could be an owner adding the magneto drive from another pre 1938 engine.

In 1938 a third mounting stud was added to the cylinder/exhaust manifold flanges.

From 1925 to 1938 the tail shaft for the reverse gear coupling had a straight shaft. From 1938 on to the end of ZR production in 1962 (1957 for the American market) the tail shaft was tapered. When Castro took over Cuba that ended the Cuban market. In the last year of production 125, ZR-1 engines were made.

Post WWII Palmer supplied disk not spoked flywheel for the ZR/PNR series engines much to the disgust of working watermen. They often immediately replaced the disk with an old spoked flywheel so they could “Stomp” on the spokes to start!!! Old time watermen often reported their big old “one lungers” often outlived three planked hulls. Due to vibration a typical planked hull lasted about 10 years in routine daily service.

ZR-1 No Ser. No. A least 20 are known to exist.
Few ZR-1 have a reverse gear built in.
ZR-1 No Ser. No. 10-6-43 Cylinder Casting date
ZR-1 No Ser. No. 1-23-46 Cylinder Casting date
ZR-1 No Ser. No. 2-15-46 Cylinder Casting date
ZR-1 2276026 1926 Earliest known serial number for ZR series engines.
ZR-1 45770 Don’t know what this means.
ZR-1 No Ser. No. Has built in reverse gear.
ZR-1 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “
ZR-1 2532328 1928
ZR-1 2311129 1929 Why is this Ca. 1923 serial number dated 1929? ZR didn’t
come on stream until 1925!! Probably a marking error.
ZR-1 2722430 1930 Has built in reverse gear.
ZR-1 2770330 1930
ZR-1 2908037 1937
ZR-1 3220146 1946
ZR-1 3223246 1946
ZR-1 3223346 1946
ZR-1 3223646 1946
ZR-1 3324046 1946
ZR-1 3325846 1946 Tag also stamped 3-1-46. Only one so marked reported.
ZR-1 3326046

ZR-2 No Ser. No. 2 known. 1 has water heated intake manifold and R reverse gear. It soon became apparent the R reverse gear could not stand up to the added torque of the ZR series. Owner stated he bought the engine in 1927

ZR-2 2045572 Don’t know what this date means.
ZR-2 2395027 1927
ZR-2 2484828 1928 Has bronze intake not heated manifold with R reverse gear.
ZR-2 2513728 1928
ZR-2 2518328 1928
ZR-2 2618329 1929 Bob Tail. This engine had no built in reverse gear.
ZR-2 2681529 1929
ZR-2 2850132 1932
ZR-2 3174045 1945

ZR-3 2651329 1929
ZR-3 2724630 1930 Tag only.
ZR-3 2772930 1930
ZR-3 2901136 1936
ZR-3 23095/10-43 1943 This engine was made in 1927 and rebuilt in 1943.
ZR-3 Owner said built in 1943 No Serial no.
ZR-3 3351247 1947 This engine has disk flywheel and pre 1936 ½” magneto drive gearing.

ZR-4 No serial number rebuilt by Portland, ME. Palmer Dealer 1945. Never used after rebuild as the WWII surplus diesel market destroyed the gasoline engine market for small tug boats. This engine was made in 1934. The serial number on the forward cylinder regrettably disappeared in the 1946 rebuild process.
ZR-4 2511328 1928 Tag only.
ZR-4 2607129 1929 Engine scrapped.
ZR-4 2854733 1933
ZR-4 2866334 1934
ZR-4 3460550 1950 Engine Scrapped
ZR-4 3467750 1950
ZR-4 3670657 1957 Last ZR-4 made. In excellent condition.

PNR-1 No Ser. No. 3 known. “Palmer New R” was the NR with the ZR style
cylinder. It was an attempt to use up in house NR parts. NR and PNR crankshafts were never counter balanced. Bore 5” stroke 6”. Not many were sold. A ZR-1 sold for about $35.00 more than a PNR-1 in the 1930s.
PNR-1 2799131 1931
PNR-1 2868134 1934

PNR-2 2386827 1927
PNR-2 2557228 1928
PNR-2 2935138 1938

PNR-3 No Ser. No. Has R reverse gear. Restored and running condition.
PNR-3 2525228 1928

Starting about 1916 Palmer Bros. tried to bring out a line of small four cylinder engines for small boats in the less than 30’ class. In 1916 they bought a design they called the TM. It was a total failure. In subsequent years they brought out several models which were their own designs reasonably successful but by the early
1930s they also began converting Ford B,V-8 and Hercules blocks for marine purposes.

The YT-1 and YT-2 were early Julius Ulrich designs which have lived on in collector’s hands. By 1920 Ralph Palmer had dropped out of engine design work with Julius Ulrich taking over in 1919 until the late 1950s.

PB-6 Power Boy Six. 2757130. One of the late 1920s Julius Ulrich designs which never became popular as truck and automotive conversion in the early 1930 became a steady relatively cheap inboard marine engine with parts easily obtainable from local automotive dealers. This rare engine was fresh water cooled and survives in excellent condition. Bought at the 1929 New York Boat show according to original owner.

HH No Ser. No. 2 known. The 2 cylinder HH model goes back to about
1926/27 HH went on in production with a 1928 4 cylinder engine called the PAL. a later engine called the LH and a bigger engine called the LLH.
HH 2801231 1931
HH 2819831 1931
HH 2955839 1939
HH 2992542 1942
HH 343441 ?
HH 3491350 1950
HH 3552554 1954
HH 3564254 1954

PH 45 AKA PH-134 after Palmer began using CU displacement to ID their engines.
High speed 4 cylinder L head 3¼” Bore, 4” Stroke, 45 HSP at 3,000 RPM,475 lbs.
Used Hercules Block IXB-5, Paragon Reverse gear 1XE aka PA2D in Palmer housing.
PH 45 3312346 1946
PH 45 3472950 1950

PH-134 4127962..1962 PH-134 AKA PH-45.
PH-134 4255564 1964

LH No Ser. No. 1 known 4 CYL, 10-18 HSP, 3” Bore, 4” Stroke, 1000-1800 RPM.
Weight 375 lbs. Prop 14” 3 blade
LH 2561328 1928

LLH 4 Cyl. 15-25 HSP, 3¼” Bore, 4” Stroke, 1000-1800 RPM. Weight 375 lbs.
Prop 14” 3 blade A late 1920s Julius Ulrich very successful design.
Palmer was tasked by the WWII WAR Production Board to build the LLH for the US Maritime commission for lifeboat engines for Liberty ships and similar applications. They built over 3000 units. The LLH was a Palmer design and manufactured engine.
There has been a rumor that it was a joint Palmer Bros. Lycoming engine. Raynal Bolling Palmer Bros. 1934-1947 and CEO The Palmer Engine Company 1947-1968 was emphatic that was not true and he was working at Palmer Bros. when the LLH was in production. Some wartime heads have PAL cast on them. The serial number tag has LLH not PAL. This can be a source of confusion!!!

LLH 2947540 1940 May have been part of the WWII program.
The following known units were a part of the WWII program.
LLH 3029043 1943
LLH 3073944 1944
LLH 3189045 1945

The BH series was the last engine designed and manufactured by “The Palmer Engine Co. Inc.” which was the 1947 successor to Palmer Bros. Inc. Successor engine models were conversions of truck, tractor and industrial engines for marine applications. The first production run of 50 BH engines was based around excess YT parts in inventory. The crankshaft used needle bearings but with felt seals as in the early YT. Salt water destroyed the needle bearings and none of the original engines is known to exist. Palmer redesigned the engine using bronze bearings and lip seals. Over the production life of the BH it is found with the following titles. BH, BHW for Palmer manufactured water pump, BHT for Timken crankshaft bearings, BH 25 to comply with company listing engines by CU. Inches and in the case of the BH series to indicate the shift from Snow and Nabstedt reverse gears to Paragon, OXKB.

BH No serial number. 3 known

BH 3438749 1949.
BH 3460450 1950
BH 3463050 1950
BH 3465850 1950
BH 3477250 1950
BH-6 3488151 1951 BH was rated at 6 HSP. Why marked this way is unknown.
BH 3493751 1951
BH 3510951 1951
BH 3520452 1952
BH 3524752 1952 Snow and Nabstedt reverse gear. In 1909 motor launch.
BH 3929852 1952 Suspect factory marking error 9 for 5.

BHT 3535952 1952 T for Timken Roller bearings on crankshaft.
BHT 3543353 1953
BHT 3547353 1953
BHT 3548053 1953

BHW 3553653 1953 W for Palmer manufactured water pump.
BHW 3559053 1953
BHW 3563754 1954
BHW 3564554 1954
BH 3565054 1954 Don’t know why this BH is without W?
BHW 3565854 1954
BHW 3567254..1954
BHW 3567354 1954
BHW 3574054 1954

PH-25 3599955 1955 Suspect P is a factory marking error. Engine is a BH
BH 3601555 1955 Don’t know why this BH is without a W or-25?
Bh-25 3619956 1956
BH-25 3629356 1956
BH-25 3631656 1956
BH-25 3631756 1956
BH-25 3647356 1956
BH-25 3688357 1957
BH-25 3704257 1957
BH-25 3704457 1957
BH-25 3705257 1957
BH-25 3743558 1958
BH-25 No Ser. No.
BH Tag remnant says 55=1955

PW-27 3¼” Bore, 3¼” Stroke 27 cu inch displacement, 8 HSP at 2800 RPM
Weight 150 lbs. Prop 10 x6, 3 blade. Left Hand.

The PW-27 series was basically a marriage between the Wisconsin air cooled engine model AEH with a Palmer water cooled cylinder/head and a Paragon OXKB reverse gear. The connecting rod and piston were from the Wisconsin AFH which permitted Palmer to get 27 cubic inch displacement. There were no modifications of the basic block. Palmer supplied a marine style deeper oil pan bolted to the AEH crankcase with Palmer fabricated dip stick for the deeper oil pan.

Palmer provided an adapter/housing for marrying the reverse gear to the AEH block. A Zenith 61 series marine carburetor was supplied with a PCV tube from the forward valve area to the carburetor intake backfire trap. A 12 volt electric starter/generator was an option in addition to the Wisconsin rope start. Like all Palmer conversions as little as possible was done to disturb the basic engine block
It is believed the PW-27 was the only Palmer single cylinder 4 stroke marine engine which only turned clockwise. In marine dialog meaning “Right Handed” and taking a ”Left Handed prop. One could for example time engines like the NL, NR, ZR etc. to operate as true rights or lefts.
In the case of the automotive/truck engine conversions Palmer would mount the flywheel on either end of the engine crankshaft to obtain a true right or true left prop drive. This avoided expensive prop shaft gearing to obtain True right and True left prop shaft drives.
PW-27 no serial number 7 known

PW-27 3704457 1957
PW-27 3705257 1957
PW-27 3903360 1960
PW-27 3948460 1960
PW-27 3957660 1960
PW-27 3958460 1960
PW-27 4033461 1961
PW-27 4043961 1961
PW-27 4044361 1961
PW-27 4054261 1961
PW-27 4071361 1961
PW-27 4106062 1962
PW-27 4124362 1962
PW-27 4124462 1962
PW-27 4188763 1963
PW-27 4205263 1963
PW-27 4205463 1963
PW-27 4213963 1963
PW-27 4214163 1963
PW-27 4275764 1964
PW-27 4303564 1964
PW-27 4303664 1964

It should be noted Palmer went to a single digit for the year of manufacture in 1965. The significance of P and S is not obvious. It is not likely one would find Port and Starboard PW-27s in a 16 foot skiff. On larger engines Palmer did place an S to indicate Starboard engine for twin screw engine installations. Their normal practice was for single screw applications the engines turned counter clockwise facing the flywheel hence there was no need for Port identification. The S indicated the engine turned clockwise facing the flywheel.

PW-27 43039-5 1965
PW-27 43051-5-P 1965
PW-27 43440-5-P 1965
PW-27 44401-6-P 1966
PW-27 44551-7-S 1967
PW-27 44553-7-P 1967
PW-27 44885-78 Assume this 7 is probably factory marking error for 1968
PW-27 45517-8-P 1968
PW-27 45628-8 1968
PW-27 45958-8 1968
PW-27 46137-8 1968
PW-27 46142-8 1968
PW-27 46144-8 1968
PW-27 46514-9 1969 In daily crabbing/fishing service until June 2009 when
crankshaft broke. Engine was fresh water cooled.
PW-27 46656-9 1969
PW-27 4712370 1970 Don’t understand this shift back to 2 digits for year.
PW-27 4712470 P 1970 Don’t understand this shift back to 2 digits for year.

PH-45 AKA PH 134 Used Hercules Block IXB-5
3-1/4” Bore, 4” Stroke 4” 45 HSP

PH-45 3472950 1950
PH 45 397950 Don’t know what this serial number means. Missing a digit.

PH-134 3312346 1946
PH-134 4108862 1962
PH-134 4255564 1964
PH-134 4313564 1964

PH-135 3568654 1954

IH-308 3661656 1956
IH-308 4193163 1963

IH-264 3772658SM 1958 SM with no S means “Space Maker” Port engine.
IH-264 2876559 S 1959 S meaning Starboard engine.
IH 264 3880359 1959 No S means Port engine. This engine is not an “SM”.

IH V-8 345 4288764 1964
IH V-8 345 44527-6 1966

M-265 43840 Missing digit. Palmer Conversion of IHC 6 cylinder UB-264 block.

M-60 AKA P-60 The Palmer conversion of the IHC Cub Lo-Boy, C-60 (NOT CUB CADET) tractor engine for marine use. They started conversions in 1955 and it was a remarkable success. Today a large number are still in current use. When Palmer closed its doors in 1971 it sold the design for the P-60 to Thermo Electron who continued to manufacture it through their Crusader engine division. When Thermo Electron ceased to make them is unknown.

P-60 with No. Ser. 7 known. Don’t know if Palmer or Thermo Electron made any
of these engines.
IH-60 3669757 1957
P-60 3723557 1957 Tag only
IH-60 3978260 1960
M-60 44910 7S 1967 No explanation for the M, S or P
P-60 445537-P 1967
P-60 45778-8 1968
P-60 47554-9 1969
P-60 4726770 1970 No explanation for this serial number.
P-60 80088-7 1967 No explanation for this serial number.
No post 1971 engines were assembled by the Palmer Engine Co. Palmer sold the P-60, PA-190, PA-230, PA-255 and PA-350 designs June 1 1971 to Thermo Electron Corp. which established the Palmer Marine Engine Division alongside Crusader Marine Engine Div. The one remaining Palmer Bros. symbol is their RED FLAG which occasionally turns up in post 1971 Crusader ads.

The residual Palmer Engine Co. was sold to Greenwich, Marine Engine Inc. Cos Cob Ct. That company carried on until about 1973 supplying parts and some services to owners of Palmer Engine Co. engines. That company owner was one of the three original owners of “The Palmer Engine Co. The other two owners retired.

It is known that large numbers of the P-60 were manufactured by Thermo Electron. The following engines were actually made by the Thermo Electron. They seemed to have followed the Palmer serial number dating system. Probably to avoid replacement part number confusion.

P-60 7973173 1973
P-60 44796-74 1974
P-60 80133-74 1974
P-60 80564-75 1975

Frank T Palmer, Born 25 Dec. 1857 Chestertown, MD. Died 8 Feb. 1944 Cos Cob, Ct. Ralph L. Palmer Born 20 Aug 1860, Mianus, Ct. Died 24 May 1953. Cos Cob, CT

Unfortunately Ralph Palmer was out of an active role in the company by 1920 due to deteriorating health. His last design work in 1920 was adapting a 1900 era small air cooled bicycle gasoline engine Palmer had made to serve as an outboard motor. He had 6 made which he gave to friends. Palmer Bros. never made outboard motors for sale. This note regarding Ralph Palmer came from Henry Zerbarini. Palmer employee 1922-1968 Henry worked in engine test and was generally the man who marked the serial numbers on engines as they were ready to be crated for shipment.

The following is a short history of the post 1945 WWII sale of Palmer Bros. Inc. to Columbia Air Products Inc. They were a very successful WWII era company making starter and generators for aircraft engines. With the end of that market they purchased Palmer Bros. Inc. from Frank Palmer’s son in-law.

Columbia Air Products didn’t really understand manufacturing for the marine engine market nor did they anticipate the serious 1945-1948 post WWII disruption regarding getting supplies. For example shortages of all things needed in engine manufacturing starting with nuts and bolts, paint, starters, carburetors, pumps, the list was seemingly endless. Palmer Bros. had made engine in lots of 100 the new owners wanted to make engines in lots of 1000. By 1947 they were bankrupt much of which was aggravated by not being able to shipped finished engines while having a warehouse full of odd parts.

The local bank encouraged Raynal Bolling, Palmer Bros. 1934-1947 and two partners to buy the company and go back in the business of making marine engines. They did and were very successful for the next 15 years. Their chief of engineering was Julius Ulrich who had started at Palmer Bros. in 1919. Among his first designs had been the 1921 YT-1 to be followed by a long series of engines, reverse gears and conversion designs for automotive and truck engine for marine use etc. Julius Ulrich remained with the new company until retiring in the early 1960s. The partners hired back a large number of long time old hands and turned to converting truck engines for watermen and high end yachts in the 30-75 foot class.

The BH engine the only model where they actually manufactured the engine. It was reasonably successful but high manufacturing costs caused them to seek a less expensive way to produce a small boat inboard engine. This resulted in the marriage of the Wisconsin Air cooled model AEH with a Palmer supplied water cooled cylinder. Even this was not a cheap engine but it successfully filled the needed gap in their product line.

In 1947 the new company “The Palmer Engine Co.” followed Frank Palmers recognition of the need for well stocked service centers convenient to working watermen and yachting centers. The last service center dating back to the early 1900s closed its door on Chesapeake Bay in about 1984. The new company had to rebuild a badly frayed dealer network and they managed to build back the reputation of the old Palmer Bros. Inc. over a period of several years. What destroyed the company was in converting one of the industrial blocks which had been selling very well a fault developed in the mid-1960s. This fault was deep within the block which meant that all their assets were invested in repairing the internals of the block which the original maker refused to correct. This unfortunately bankrupted the company and it closed its doors in June 1971. About the same time there had been plans for the company to be made a division of International Harvester Corp. Unfortunately the member on the board of directors who was to introduce the proposal to the IHC board died the day before the board was to meet. That ended the future of The Palmer Engine Co. Inc. I was never able to determine which engine developed the internal fault.

The RND Palmer story 1937-1947

Palmer Bros. tooled to make a line of 1, 4 and 6 cylinder diesel marine engines in 1937 using a license from Russell Newbery, UK for their combustion chamber design. Brit Pat. 361202-4228067-431362, US Pat. 19421362. UK This patent was for a unique diesel fueled combustion chamber design which is particularly efficient in the combustion process. It might be noted canal boats in the UK are still
using the basic design due to the low pollution products and high fuel efficiency. Those UK engines were made by Russell Newbery and Co. UK.

The Palmer Bros. RND engines were their own design but unfortunately they came on the market in 1939. Post WWII the war surplus 6-71 diesel destroyed the market for a pre WWII diesel small boat engine design. This is understandable due to the incredible advances made with the 6-71 over the years 1940-45. The Palmer Engine Co. Inc. did produce post WWII the RND-1, RND-4 and RND-6 as late as 1950 but sales were limited and they soon switched to converting truck diesel engines for propulsion which was a more stable and profitable market.

RND-1 Ser. No. 80257 9 HSP 1,000 RPM. This engine was used as a research project by Palmer at Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester NY in post WWII 1940s.to determine better combustion chamber performance. This engine is now in the HEC collection.

RND-1 Ser. No. 139 is in the Mystic collection. From existing Palmer dated photographs the heyday of the RND-1 seems to be the years 1946-1950. Based on the Palmer serial numbers now known one could expect the serial numbers would be in the 30,000s. -There seems no way either of these RND-1 would fit that dating practice. The RND-1 was not a propulsion engine. It was intended for driving pumps, compressors and generators.

There has been reported two other known RND-1. No surviving 4 or 6 cylinder engines are known. A few RND 6 engines were produced post WWII as late as 1950. There are a few existing photos of pre WWII RND 4 and RND 6 engines. The few pre WWII 4 and 6 cylinder engines produced found ready buyers and provided excellent service according to company personnel active in the pre-WWII program.

The Palmer boat used to demonstrate the RND4 and RND-6 was seized by the US. Navy at Key West on its return in 1941 from a Havana Cuba sales trip. It was used by the navy during WWII for local port inspection services. It was returned to Palmer after the war. Cuban and other Caribbean port watermen had been long time buyers of Palmer engines particularly the ZR-1.

WWII 1940 direction from the War Production Board told Palmer Bros. to build 3000 LLH engines for lifeboat engines. In addition Palmer was directed to build 200 of their SK 60-80 HSP 6 cylinder engines with intake modifications to start on gasoline and switch to producer gas once the gas producer which burned wood chips warmed up. The modifications included a clutch controlled flat belt drive pulley on the bow end of the engine for driving a cord wood saw which was used to fuel the gas producer. The engines were shipped to the USSR under “Lend-Lease". No one at the company ever heard if the engines even reached their end destinations or how well they worked out. The producer gas generator and its related hardware were not supplied by Palmer.

Palmer was also directed to produce 170, GW 6, 150 HSP gasoline engines for the US Navy for small vessels for practice torpedo recovery purposes.

There are a few wood patterns for the 4 and 6 cylinder RND and several other Palmer engines in the HEC collection. None are in condition to be used for casting replacement parts as they are badly deteriorated through long term storage in a damp cellar.

Palmer Bros. Inc. manufactured a long list of metal products using iron castings. They had a long time program producing cider, cider mill supplies and cider mill machinery from small to industrial production size. A few small cider mills made by Palmer are known in collector’s hands.

While Palmer offered their engine Model B2 in the early 1900s for automotive application including a shift gear box as an attachment this effort didn’t seem to take off as the early automakers understandably quickly dropped two stroke marine engines from their planning. It has been said Detroit with its numerous early makers of two stroke marine engines is the reason Detroit became the home of the early automakers.

A member of the large Palmer family in the Cos Cob area did attempt to make a line of automobiles but it died quickly. It was not the Palmer Bros. family members who sponsored that effort.

In conclusion this effort has been directed towards those Palmer engines collectors are particularly interested in. Few collectors have shown much interest in the large number of automotive and truck engines Palmer Bros Inc. and the successor company The Palmer Engine Co. converted for marine purposes.

Please note the use of “SAE STYLE 2 bolt flange” simply means looks like but is not dimension wise precisely the same as the SAE standard.
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Andrew Menkart
Username: andrew

Post Number: 1157
Registered: 11-2001

Posted on Monday, November 26, 2012 - 12:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If any members or visitors have a Palmer engine with a serial number that is not listed in Dick's listing above, please post them in the next available message below together with some details on the engine.

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bill loveland
Username: bill_loveland

Post Number: 7
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 03:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"There are 9 known Model Q-1 three port engines without serial numbers."

Make that ten.

Palmer Q1 pic1
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bill loveland
Username: bill_loveland

Post Number: 8
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 04:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Sorry - I thought I could add more attachments upon editing.

Missing the intake manifold and carb and the exhaust manifold. Not shown in the pics is a bunch of boat hardware that came with it - all Palmer - steering wheel, fuel tank, spout and cover, railing stanchions, etc.

A couple of noteworthy features of this motor:

narrow base, requiring additional framing for the mounting holes to land on
heavy spoked flywheel with spring loaded starting knob
Gibb key on the flywheel

Palmer Q1 pic2
Palmer Q1 pic3
Palmer Q1 pic4
Palmer Q1 pic5
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Richard A. Day Jr.
Senior Member
Username: richardday

Post Number: 1032
Registered: 11-2003

Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 08:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Great to see it. Cannot tell if the water pump has a 2 or three bolt flange. The brass cuff protector is missing.
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bill loveland
Username: bill_loveland

Post Number: 9
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 09:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'll take some more pics next weekend.

Besides the mounting flange, anything else I should take a closer look at or measure? Outside of pulling off the cylinder to measure the bore.

I have Schebler D's (which I believe was the appropriate carb). Should it mount directly to the flange, or should there be some form of intake manifold in between?

How about the exhaust? Dry or wet?
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Richard A. Day Jr.
Senior Member
Username: richardday

Post Number: 1033
Registered: 11-2003

Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 08:04 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bill just try to slide a wire in the exhaust port to get an idea of the piston dimension. Keep in mind the intake port has a baffle cast in the top of the piston which gets in the way of a rough measurement as to bore. Sent you a photo separately of the cuff protector. Palmer used cast iron exhaust and intake port flanges on many of their engines using iron pipe fittings. Some intakes were made up with Brass piping and other iron. There pipe 2 bolt flanges look like SAE style but are not SAE dimensions. Will send you a photo of the typical pipe intake of the period.
Palmer in their catalogs of the period favored Schebler model D but would supply other carbs to special order.
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Robert Kugler
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 09:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm trying to help a relative sell his 1903 Crosby catboat which was repowered with a Palmer M-60 with serial number 4783070. It has a Motorola alternator, Bendix fuel pump, and Zenith carb. Despite being out of the water and stored mostly outdoors for 20+ years, the flywheel and prop shaft can be turned by hand, and with a battery and shot of ether in the carb, it coughed briefly. Questions are when the engine was made, and is it worthwhile to try to restore it for normal coastal cruising service?
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Richard A. Day Jr.
Senior Member
Username: richardday

Post Number: 1035
Registered: 11-2003

Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2012 - 09:59 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Robert, Two basic questions need answers in my opinion. 1. Is the 1903 hull a classic and in good shape or at least good enough to warrant restoration??
Was the engine salt water cooled or does it have fresh water cooling with a heat exchanger? If it has a heat exchanger was it filled with fresh water and anti freeze all those years
If no heat exchanger and salt water cooled the engine cooling passages are probable rotted beyond restoration. To make matters worse the exhaust manifold is difficult to impossible to find a replacement. The engine itself is easy to replace with a used or rebuilt IHC Cub C60 LO-BOY block as all the Palmer stuff is bolted on.
You should go to the Palmer related file and see a long series of discussions of the P-60 and what is needed. Just keep in mind you can get a rebuild gasket set. Save all the bolt on Palmer stuff such as the pan, drive spline and reverse gear and housing, distributor, carburetor, pump starter, generator, flywheel, mounting supports etc.
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John Clemons
Posted on Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 06:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Dick. We have an Amesbury skiff at Lowell's Boat Shop in Amesbury, MA with a Palmer BHW engine. The S/N is 3570654. The engine looks in good shap and turns freely. We may try to restore it. Its inside as a static display it the moment.
John Clemons
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Richard A. Day Jr.
Senior Member
Username: richardday

Post Number: 1038
Registered: 11-2003

Posted on Friday, December 21, 2012 - 08:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Know it well. Back in 1947 a buddy and I were attending UNH with our wives and we wanted to cruise on Great Bay and the surrounding areas. We bought a new 19'-6" HL Bank dory and stuck a Brigg & Stratton 6 HSP in it. The boat builders there gave us the name of a local old gentleman who made use a very nice copper about 6 gallon gas tank. It was a great boat. Unfortunately it met an untimely end when we loaned it to a neighbor who unknown to us hauled it over to his summer camp and in the fall hauled it out and left it in the woods on the ground to fill up with rain water and ice destroyed it. I still have the prop and shaft. It was a great sea boat.
If the BHW was used in salt water without a keel cooler or heat exchanger you will probably find salt water has destroyed the water jackets. The treatment to remove salt from cast iron is to heat it up to about 900F and let it cool down and recycle it several time. This will drive the salt out of the iron. No dip tank or acid will solve the problem. All of my salt water engines which have not been cracked have their water jacketed portions filled with auto anti freeze to keep air away from the salt. The old timers used old motor oil for that treatment but anti freeze cleans up easier if you get a leak. Andrew sells the Palmer handbook covering the BH series.
Regards, Dick
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Eric Arndt
New member
Username: ea06086

Post Number: 1
Registered: 11-2012
Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 11:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Andrew, I have cleaned up my Engine Number plate well enough to read. It is a P-60 Engine No. 64324-72S by Thermo Electron Engine Corporation
(Palmer Marine - Crusader Marine)
I hope it will contribute to your S/N: list.
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Jim Thomson
New member
Username: brownboat

Post Number: 3
Registered: 02-2013
Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 06:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I thought I had provided the serial number for my IH 60 HD in the past, couldn't find it in the list so here it is again: 5842659
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RJ Johns
Posted on Saturday, March 30, 2013 - 12:03 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Please Help. I bought a Carter Safari 28, It has twin Palmer engines, Wth Volvo Penta sterndrives. I am at a loss as to what I have. The tag on the left engine is Thermo Electron Engine Corp. Serial # 78707-73 Model # PS255L . Any information would be very helpful, I am attaching photos
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Richard A. Day Jr.
Senior Member
Username: richardday

Post Number: 1062
Registered: 11-2003

Posted on Saturday, May 25, 2013 - 07:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Chuck Franklin NR-2 1903823 05-24-2013
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Roger Andrews
New member
Username: roger_andrews

Post Number: 1
Registered: 06-2013
Posted on Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - 05:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Trying to locate connecting rod bearing inserts for a Palmer BHW. Any help would be appreicated., Thanks.
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J.B. Castagnos
Senior Member
Username: jb_castagnos

Post Number: 805
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - 10:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have a BH & a parts motor, would have to dis assemble both to be sure I have a good set, let me know if you don't find anything.
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Richard A. Day Jr.
Senior Member
Username: richardday

Post Number: 1065
Registered: 11-2003

Posted on Wednesday, June 05, 2013 - 08:19 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Palmer sold several designs to Thermo Electron in 1971 and I looked carefully for any material I might have on a PS255L. I cannot find anything which even remotely matches that Model Designation.Sorry I cannot help.
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Richard A. Day Jr.
Senior Member
Username: richardday

Post Number: 1072
Registered: 11-2003

Posted on Thursday, August 01, 2013 - 07:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Palmer Q-2 serial number 965815. This engine has a 3 bolt mounting flange for the water pump. This is the earliest report of a Q-2 with 3 bolt mounting flange for its water pump.
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Richard A. Day Jr.
Senior Member
Username: richardday

Post Number: 1077
Registered: 11-2003

Posted on Monday, September 02, 2013 - 04:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

U-1 1414019 New number from Hugh Durgin.
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robert hunt
Posted on Saturday, September 07, 2013 - 11:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i have just purchased a palmer model HH serial number 2874134 5 hp. looking for all the info i can find
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Richard A. Day Jr.
Senior Member
Username: richardday

Post Number: 1078
Registered: 11-2003

Posted on Sunday, September 08, 2013 - 08:14 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Will see what I can come up with. Will get back to you.
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Richard A. Day Jr.
Senior Member
Username: richardday

Post Number: 1082
Registered: 11-2003

Posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 02:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

rlhunt70@yahoo.com Robert, I have had my messages to you regarding the Palmer HH rejected by YAHOO.
Don't know why but I do know other people I have tried to send messages to with YAHOO addresses get rejected. Can you send me an address so I can send you the material? Regards, Dick Day
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Robert B. Price
Senior Member
Username: rbprice

Post Number: 447
Registered: 11-2001

Posted on Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 08:39 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here is an addition to the LLH serial numbers

3082444 owned by Kevin Stewart, Knox, NY

it has provision for dual sparkplugs
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Richard A. Day Jr.
Senior Member
Username: richardday

Post Number: 1087
Registered: 11-2003

Posted on Friday, November 15, 2013 - 11:10 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Would be interesting to see photos of this LLH. Suspect it had battery start/run and magneto run options. It clearly was part of the WWII production.
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Senior Member
Username: ernie

Post Number: 1779
Registered: 01-2002

Posted on Sunday, January 12, 2014 - 03:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Palmer Model B stationary B269410 Manuf 1910
Needs water jacket cosmetic repairs. I have all the missing parts to put it back to ignitor ignition.
Wish I had the big base with the Palmer Pump

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Richard A. Day Jr.
Senior Member
Username: richardday

Post Number: 1096
Registered: 11-2003

Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2014 - 10:34 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

New Palmer serial no. P-60 4086162. April 09-2014
Carl Hanlon.
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Andrew Menkart
Username: andrew

Post Number: 1163
Registered: 11-2001

Posted on Monday, April 21, 2014 - 03:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


I spoke with a gentleman in Western Pennsylvania with a running ZR-2 with a transmission. Serial number 2969440.

I don't have photos, but the engine is complete but may not have the original magneto. He doesn't know the history other than it "came from the coast".

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Richard A. Day Jr.
Senior Member
Username: richardday

Post Number: 1097
Registered: 11-2003

Posted on Monday, April 21, 2014 - 05:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks Andrew. I wondered where it spent its working life. .....
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J.B. Castagnos
Senior Member
Username: jb_castagnos

Post Number: 912
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Monday, April 21, 2014 - 09:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I saw this ZR3 over the weekend, a friend of Dickie Gibbens has it, he hasn't been active in the engine hobby since I've been in it, not interested in selling anything. It's in good shape, has a reverse gear, pictures not too clear.

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Senior Member
Username: ernie

Post Number: 1829
Registered: 01-2002

Posted on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - 08:42 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here is another BHW
Both Dick Day and I have no idea what the R7 is. At a guess rebuilt at Palmer in 57 or 67
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Andrew Menkart
Board Administrator
Username: admin

Post Number: 14
Registered: 07-2001

Posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 10:15 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This from Dave Titus:


Hello. I have a serial # to add to your Palmer engine list.

Engine number 2997343, a 2 cylinder 5 HP HH from 1943, resided in South Kingstown RI. It had been buried for an unknown number of years and was "discovered" by a stump grinder. The engine was disassembled (with advice from Mr. Dick Day) and the useable parts given to Mr. David Dunbar. The brass build tag was not on the engine but was recently found, revealing the information above.


Dave Titus.

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Andrew Menkart
Board Administrator
Username: admin

Post Number: 15
Registered: 07-2001

Posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 07:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Below is a photos of the Dave's nameplate.

Engine number 2997343
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Senior Member
Username: ernie

Post Number: 1887
Registered: 01-2002

Posted on Sunday, October 05, 2014 - 06:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

1909 Model B
S/N 221809
More pics and Youtube link
click here

Note the odd oil mix tag.

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Robert B. Price
Senior Member
Username: rbprice

Post Number: 476
Registered: 11-2001

Posted on Sunday, October 05, 2014 - 07:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What ab incredible wealth of information and knowledge these records comprise. We all owe so much to Dick and others like Ernie who have kept this thread going for so long.

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Richard A. Day Jr.
Senior Member
Username: richardday

Post Number: 1111
Registered: 11-2003

Posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - 12:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This is for Risto Kolari regarding the the serial number of his Palmer Bros. Model N-L1 784514.
This serial number fits the Palmer Bros. practice of adding a 2 digit year number indicating the engine had passed final test and was ready for crating and shipment in 1914.
Palmer Bros. dropped to a single digit for the year in 1965. They went out of business in 1971
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Teeter Bibber
New member
Username: teeter_bibber

Post Number: 1
Registered: 06-2015
Posted on Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 09:15 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Palmer P-60
Thermo Electron Engine Corp. Sterling Heights, MI
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Rick Batt
Username: belfry

Post Number: 5
Registered: 08-2014
Posted on Monday, July 06, 2015 - 03:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

BH 25 ser. No. 3652456 to be added to the list. Still running in a 1912 launch built in Mystic Ct.
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Richard A. Day Jr.
Senior Member
Username: richardday

Post Number: 1126
Registered: 11-2003

Posted on Saturday, March 26, 2016 - 03:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Palmer ZR-1 with built in reverse gear.
Ser. No. 2722430 rebuilt with all new wearing parts. Cylinder casting 2-18-46. It should be noted that NR1 and ZR-1 with built in reverse gears are relatively rare. The reason for this is probably many work-boats had had existing reverse gears and when their engine was replaced the owner simply coupled the new engine to the existing prop, shaft stuffing box and reverse gear if the boat had a reverse gear.
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Charles Wyman
Username: farmer444

Post Number: 4
Registered: 05-2016
Posted on Friday, May 06, 2016 - 10:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

NL2 with reverse gear #L835323
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Norman Narmore
New member
Username: normann

Post Number: 2
Registered: 01-2016
Posted on Friday, August 19, 2016 - 01:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hello everyone, I have a great running P60 on my 24'
R.D. Culler "Fantail Launch" that I would like to date. All that is left of the tag on the original exhaust manifold is the two brass screws that once held the ID. There two stamped casting numbers on the block below the valve cover. Hope someone can give me some insight to the date of manufacture.
Also, If anyone has a photograph of the pre-Thermo Electron P-60, manifold ID tag to share, I would like to reproduce a couple for me and probably a few more for the group.
The stamped #'s on the starboard side of engine:
UCUBM 10965 L
Thank you for any help!

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