This is the exhaust valve actuated by the cam on the large gear.


​Henry Ford's first engine 1893

In 1893, a 30-year-old machinist from Detroit, Michigan, was learning about a new technology, the internal combustion engine. In a backroom shop at the Detroit Electric Illuminating Co., he and a few of his co-workers made a crude working engine. On Christmas Eve, 1893. he took the experimental engine to show his wife. Clamped to the kitchen sink using the electric light socket for ignition power, his wife Clara controlling the fuel dripping into the intake mixer, Henry Ford started not only the little engine, but his own path to becoming an automotive and industrial icon known the world over.
 
This is a replica of that engine made from plans purchased (reasonably) from Leon Ridenour, 4610 Sunflower Road, Knoxville, TN 37909, Phone 865-584-9759. He is now on the internet: leonhfordone@gmail.com. I have no affiliation with Leon...he is just a very fine person. My friend, Larry Carter and I each built a replica and we had a lot of trouble getting them started. After many phone calls to Leon, in addition to some help from him, we finally were successful and now have two beautiful running engines.
 
Just as Henry did these were made using pipe fittings, tubing for the cylinder and a cast iron piston made from purchased round stock. The two gears were purchased, a flywheel from an old cart wheel was used, a Ford Model-T buzz coil powered by a 6-volt ni-cad rechargeable battery (mounted underneath the Walnut mounting board) was used for ignition, some machined parts, and a gas tank made from a drip oiler are the primary components.
 
Gas Engine Magazine, February/March 2008, p. 16 has an interesting article about the engine, by John Bailey builder of same with plans from Leon.
 
As can be seen in the attached video this is a very easy starting engine. It was an interesting project and it attracts a lot of attention at engine shows.


For your viewing

Here is a You Tube video of Henry Ford Engine running that you may enjoy viewing. Click the small square box in the lower right corner of the video to view in full screen.


Neil Butterfield

Home Shop Machinist

A Ford Model-T Coil provides ignition. A 6-volt rechargeable ni-cad battery is mounted on the underside of the Walnut base.

This is the gas tank...a converted drip oiler. It drips into a check valve through a fine screen in the elbow.

The cam below acuates the push rod to the exhaust valve. The springclip provides the timing to the Model-T coil to spark the plug.