6 thoughts on “It’s Sunday. Time To Plug In The Do Nothing Machines

  1. I have some experience doing this kind of ridiculously complex machinery that apparently does nothing useful but entertain yourself and occasionally others.

    And that’s where I have a problem with the do nothing concept. They do, indeed, do something – they keep your interest just by the very fact that they exist. They are turning wheels, spinning gears, doing “stuff” that has no intrinsic value other than entertaining. Which is not nothing – it is “something”.

    Just my opinion you understand.

    Oh and it was cool to see the one lunger hit and miss engines. I used to have an International 5 hp single cylinder hit and miss four cycle – you’d be surprised at how much work one of these little engines can do – I used to run a drill press and band saw off it. It was also strangely efficient – I could run it all day on less than a gallon of gas. Admittedly, a lot of the energy was generated by the huge fly wheel once it got rolling, but that little 5 horse engine would keep it turning.

    Kind of brought back memory of a old lobsterman who worked out of Marblehead, MA. He had a very practical Beal built downeaster – 34′ that had a 20 hp hit/miss engine – clutch was a slip and grab to a transfer case gear box to the prop. He could get it up to 10 knots or so and as a inshore lobsterman that was more than sufficient.

    Sorry – I just love these machine and old engines. Lot’s of fun.

  2. When was a kid those internittent engines were common in cement mixers and such, and in running oil wells.

    Some of the latter were pretty big and made a kind of eery background music for a dark foggy night in the oil fields.

    Some, like the one that used to be (practically) in downtown Los Angeles, had the engine in a central shed to supply wells for a fairly large area around it. The engine ran a large crank to which cables running to each well, somethings hanging from messenger cables overhead, some in pipes under a road or a hill.

    The cables as the were pulled to and fro added eerie squeaks and grunts to the silence.

  3. Larry,

    When was this? I grew up in LA, but only remember oil rigs in Baldwin Hills, and down the coast from Long Beach thru Huntington Beach.

  4. Since Dodger Stadium was built. (There are oil rigs in downtown now, but I can’t find mention of the ones I was talking about.


    The video has a fleeting glimps of an L-shaped lever that is part of a field like I was dwscribing.


    Here is an example of the type of thing that is or was just north of Downtown.


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